Oris has released its first ever bronze watch to commemorate the life of Carl Brashear, the US Navy’s first African American Master Diver.
No stranger to diver’s watches, Oris has released the Carl Brashear Limited Edition which is based on its hugely successful 2015 model the Divers Sixty-Five, which WatchPro named its Sports Watch of the Year in November.
The 42mm watch’s case, bezel, crown and pin buckle are made from bronze to reflect the material still used to construct deep-sea diver helmets in the 1950s, the decade in which Brashear graduated from the US Navy Diving and Salvage School. While initially bright and shiny, bronze ages naturally to develop a unique patina as the metal’s copper content reacts with carbon dioxide and moisture. Oris will be producing 2,000 pieces.
A stainless steel caseback features a relief of Brashear’s diving helmet and his personal motto “It’s not a sin to get knocked down, it’s a sin to stay down”. The automatic watch with dark blue dial is water resistant to 100m.
Portrayed in 2000 Hollwood film Men of Honor by Oscar-winner actor Cuba Gooding Jr, Brashear joined the Navy in 1948 as a 17-year-old, and despite facing discrimination on account of his race he graduated from the Navy’s diving programme in 1954. In 1966, he lost the lower part of his left leg in an accident during a mission to salvage a hydrogen bomb. After an exhausting period of rehabilitation, he became the U.S. Navy’s first amputee diver in 1968, and then qualified as a Master Diver in 1970, the first African American to do so.
After more than 30 years in the US Navy Brashear retired in 1979. He died in 2006 aged 75.