ReviewA Vision In Bronze – The Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition
Inspired by a hero, the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition is a watch that symbolises strength, dedication, dependability in the face of adversity, and above all, honour
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In the year 2000, we saw Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr in a film called Men Of Honor. It was a story of determination, perseverance, and one man’s courage to fight all odds and emerge a hero. This man was Carl Maxie Brashear (1931-2006), the first amputee and African-American master diver of the United States Navy. A decorated naval officer, Brashear served in the US Navy for 31 years. Through his years of service, he was subjected to discrimination, and was denied opportunities, but at every step, he strived to go beyond limits, and was honoured several times for his achievements. In an unfortunate accident in 1966, Brashear – who was by then highly trained in retrieving sunken ammunition and human remains – was severely injured during a bomb recovery operation that resulted in him losing his left leg. After his amputation, following extensive rehabilitation and training, Brashear was recertified as a diver in 1968.
Throughout his struggle, he was motivated by his own words, “It’s not a sin to get knocked down; it’s a sin to stay down.” And these are the very words that have been embossed in steel, on a watch that pays tribute to this American hero. This timepiece is the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition.
The Watch Celebrating A Hero
A ‘sequel’ to a 2016 wristwatch made by Oris to celebrate Carl M Brashear, the 2018 edition is also crafted in bronze, like its predecessor, and includes a chronograph feature. The use of bronze in both editions was inspired by the diving equipment that was Brashear’s companion in his early years as a diver. A motif of the diving helmet is also seen embossed on the stainless steel caseback of this timepiece, where you’ll even notice a unique serial number for each watch in this 2,000-piece limited edition.
The hero of the watch though is its bronze case. At a diameter of 43mm, this case is designed based on the iconic diver’s watch from Oris, the Diver’s Sixty-Five – a series that also inspires the Carl Brashear’s rich, ink-blue dial.
On The Face Of The Heroic Timepiece
Deep blue, like the ocean, the face of the Oris Carl Brashear is symmetrical in its layout, which is known as the ‘bicompax’. The balance of the look is enhanced by the presence of only one chronograph sub-dial – the 30-minute counter at three o’clock – in addition to the small seconds counter at nine. Powered by an automatic calibre 771, the hour marker indexes and central timekeeping hands are gold plated and filled with SuperLuminova, which ensures that there is clarity even when you have to read the time when it’s dark. A domed sapphire crystal glass with an antireflective coating adds dimension to the piece, while the embossed minute markers and treatment on the bronze unidirectional rotating bezel adds textural splendour.
Bronze: Uniquely Yours Through The Ageing
With the domed sapphire crystal and screwed steel caseback, the bronze case is water resistant to 100m. But what makes the case particularly interesting is the bronze that it is made of. Now rose gold in a watch stays the same over decades, apart from general wear and tear. However, with bronze, any two cases, which will be shiny and bright when they’re new, will not be the same a few years later. The patination or ageing of bronze depends significantly on the humidity and moisture it is exposed to. This effectively means that the wearers of the 2,000 watches will each eventually have a timepiece that looks quite different than the next person’s.
However your piece ages, despite how dark it may get, you can rest assured that the watch will continue to be sturdy and reliable, just as Carl Brashear himself was. His stories and struggle continue to inspire many, and the Carl Brashear Foundation – run by his son, Phillip Brashear – works towards that. A token of the Foundation comes with the Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition in the form of a commemorative medallion. Even though the watch is a symbol of an inspiring story, as you look at it, all you’ll see is a gorgeous timepiece; all the while knowing that it is a piece of honour.
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