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Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Dive Watch

Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Dive Watch Watch Releases

With their new Carl Brashear Limited Edition dive watch, Oris pays tribute to the U.S Navy’s first African-American Master Diver, the thoroughly impressive Carl Brashear. With a classic and clean diver aesthetic rendered in bronze, this limited edition piece expands upon the success of the Oris Divers Sixty Five, which was announced at Basel last march. There is no shortage of tribute and themed limited edition watches out there, but it’s especially refreshing to see the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition watch in honor of an amazing man who might not be quite a household name.

Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Dive Watch Watch Releases

In the event that Carl Brashear’s name doesn’t sound familiar, you might remember the silver screen adaptation of his story, “Men of Honor,” in which Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Carl Brashear. Brashear’s moto, “It’s not a sin to get knocked down, it’s a sin to stay down” (which is inscribed on the back of the watch) informed his actions as he managed not only the hardships of Navy salvage diving, but also racism and an accident that would leave him permanently disabled. During his 31-year Navy career, Brashear was the first African-American to graduate the Navy’s diving program. While recovering a lost atom bomb in 1966, an accident would claim his left leg below the knee, an injury that appeared to spell the end of his diving career.

Living up to his motto, Brashear wouldn’t stay down, and he embarked on a long and difficult rehabilitation, becoming the Navy’s first amputee diver in 1968 and, in 1970, the Navy’s first African-American Master Diver. Undoubtedly one of the hardest guys to ever sport a Mark V diving suit, Carl Brashear was a pioneer in any sense of the word.

Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Dive Watch Watch Releases

Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Dive Watch Watch Releases

A first for Oris, this limited edition diver is rendered in bronze to match the diving helmet worn in Brashear’s time. While the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition shares a case and bezel shape with the Sixty Five watch, the case size has been bumped up from 40mm to 42mm. Bronze, due to its high copper content, ages rapidly and will form a lovely patina as the metal reacts to moisture and carbon dioxide (seen above, left). Bronze watches have been increasing in popularity over the past few years, with many enthusiasts experimenting with methods of accelerating and controlling the patina process to yield specific results.

The warm and, at least initially, bright tones of the bronze case are matched by an inky dark blue dial with applied rose gold plated markers and hands. The combination, especially with the subtle magnification provided by the bubble-curved sapphire crystal, is wonderful. The charm is romantic but functional, and the proportions look to be perfect, aided by a long minute hand and symmetrical date position at six. While I prefer a watch without a date display, the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition handles the function nicely, not unlike Oris’ Divers Sixty Five.


Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Dive Watch Watch Releases

Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Dive Watch Watch Releases

Also like the Sixty Five, the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition is powered by Oris’ calibre 733, which is based on the Sellita SW200. With 38 hours of power reserve, 26 jewels, and a 4Hz heartbeat, the SW200 offers reliable time keeping and simple servicing from a Swiss manufacturer.

Complete with a screw down crown ensuring 100m of water resistance, I’ve dove with the Sixty Five and can only assume the slightly larger Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition would be just as capable as its sibling.

Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Dive Watch Watch Releases

Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition Dive Watch Watch Releases

Delivered on a brown leather strap and encased in a wooden box bearing the US Navy Master Diver badge, the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition is limited to 2000 pieces, each carrying a price tag of 2,600 CHF. Oris is donating a portion of the proceeds to the Carl Brashear foundation, so you’d get a cool watch, a nod to a great man’s story and a good cause all in one package.

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  • iamcalledryan

    Not for me, but I do look forward to seeing how the many bronze options start to look in the next few years. Anyone seen a patinated Panerai Bronzo in the wild recently?

    • DanW94

      Good point. If I’m not mistaken, bronze will patina to a brownish, greenish color (depending on factors such as environment), and it’s not a vintagey, well worn look but a gritty, unattractive look.

      • iamcalledryan

        Some love it. The BR01 Skull Bronze that they sold in the Only Watch auction came ready-patinated!

        • Svetoslav Popov

          terrible 🙂

      • Boogur T. Wang

        “Brasso”….available worldwide.

        • DanW94

          Lol, Yeah, that’ll work…..

  • Raymond Wilkie

    At the risk of stating the obvious…. this is a watch. Beautiful clear face. Lovely size and colour. Am not super crazy about the bronze look but i could live with it. I do get the marketing angle, but why does everything have to be limited these days.

    • iamcalledryan

      Marketing Director: Hey Boss, how many units did we sell of our X model last year?

      CEO: About 2000.

      Marketing Director: I have an idea…

  • btron

    Make this in all steel and put the WR to 200-300M and it’ll sell like hotcakes…bronze is cool but never really cared for it

  • DR

    Nice to see an alternative take on the dive watch theme… but that date window? I suppose it’s not as bad as cutting into the ‘6’ on the Divers Sixty-Five.

    I hope the family of Mr. Brashear likes it.

  • Peter Dailey

    2k, too much.

  • Larry Holmack

    Nice article James….and it’s a nice looking watch also. I am glad to see a dive watch that doesn’t look like every other dive watch….and the bronze look does appeal to me. Just wondering why only 100m WR…not that it matters to me…just I know others would prefer 200 meters.

  • If this tickles your fancy, check out the Armida A8 in brass. Around $300, 3X the water resistance and a hell of a tank of a watch. And it comes with two different bezels. Doesn’t have any contrived backstory, though. Microbrands have been doing the brass / bronze things for about three years now, and doing them affordably to boot.

  • Chaz

    What…they couldn’t do it in PVD???

  • otaking241

    It’s great to see a bronze watch that’s not either super chunky (Armida, Helson etc.) or insanely expensive (Panerai). This looks really wearable and is a great homage to a real hero. Oris has been knocking them out of the park lately on the retro front. It will be interesting to see if the limited edition sells out or not–bronze seems to have some hardcore fans but it’s not clear to me how broad its appeal really is.

    Would also like to see it mounted on a navy rubber or sailcloth strap.

  • funNactive

    I like the bronze, but, it doesn’t make sense to produce a new dive watch that does not go to at least 200M.

  • Shinytoys

    I’m a big Oris fan, and I feel that Mr. Brashear absolutely deserves to be honored, but even I would have to admit that this watch and watch face are dull. I understand that this is commerative period correct salute to a mountain of a man who didn’t speak or think of quitting ever, but who is going to buy this watch?

    • egznyc

      I have to say, sure, it’s not a complicated piece, but I don’t think there’s anything dull about the design. I’d call it simple and timeless. Well, that’s just my opinion.

  • benjameshodges

    My biggest problem with my Oris Divers 65 and it seems to be in this model too, is the size of the crown mixed with the thinness of the case. It digs to your wrist way my than most watches. And the crown isn’t a smooth and beautifully craft Rolex crown either. The edges and corners of the crown are really sharp and make the problem even worse. I guess it’s a case of get what you pay for but even then a little more refinement would be nice.

    • Yeah, that’s too bad. But you can smooth out the crown’s edges with an emery board I guess (bronze is relatively soft).

  • JimBob

    I’m trying to imagine what this would look like with a wood grain dial and a tweed strap.

    • LOL – and then it would garner a HO comment about Ralphie.

  • spiceballs

    Like Oris, and this pleasant, simple design. Not mad keen on bronze and agree Mr Brashear deserves to be honored but, as others have noted, as a true diver with surely a minimum 200m water resistance based on current “standards” and more robust divers strap.


    this is more a land based type dive watch but since the majority of dive watches never hit the ocean then so be it. Bronze is not my thing appreciating the reference to the helmet but it will patina nicely. I don’t think the pics do the dial any justice but Oris make a good watch for a good price. nothing extraordinarily fancy but a simple nice watch.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    I am not one for “Limited Editions” and I am rarely impressed by “celebrity” endorsements…HOWEVER, this piece is a worthy tribute to an amazing person. Mr. Brashear earned his due and his memory deserves the respect attendant.
    Yes, 100m is not a true ‘divers’ watch range – and neither is a leather strap. This is a memorial piece – not a tool watch. (think display or occasional wear)
    IMO, Oris has done well all around with this offering.

    Props to Oris, a salute to Master Diver Carl Maxie Brashear (January 19, 1931 – July 25, 2006) and a Thanks to Mr. Stacey for bringing this piece to ABTW.

    • I recognized the name of Carl Brashear right away as I have watched the big screen movie a few times now. I can not state emphatically enough how much respect I have for that man.

      Back on topic… I like the watch. It took me a little while to appreciate it but by the end of the article is was looking like a handsome watch to me.

      I agree with the comments about it being a real dive watch. To me, this would be a special occasion watch and not as a tool watch. That is just my personal take on it.

      I am thinking that if you keep the watch out of the pond the patina should develop at a slower and perhaps more uniform rate (not sure on that). The piece looks nice on the wrist with the leather strap, which should be okay because I would have no plans to get it wet.

      The price, as noted by others, seems a bit on the steep side. If I had the money I’d probably buy it as it truly is related to a real hero and that Oris is donating money to the charity. The beautiful presentation box is also very nice looking.

      Just my opinion 🙂

  • speedylover

    Oris nailed it again. Make this in steel with this dial and it will sell well. I prefer the original reissue (and own one) though. 100m is fine for swimming. If you really need more than 100m depth rating you should just purchase a nice Seiko dive watch imho. The Oris is a great every day watch you can swim in and not worry about.

    • MEddie90

      I’ve seen a few people complain about the 100m depth rating and I gotta say, I don’t get it. Given that this watch is ISO6425 compliant that means it has withstood 125m of static testing so it should be more than fine for a 100m dive. If you’re a recreational diver you’ll probably be going max 30m to 60m so unless your a pro there really is no need for a deeper rating (and in which case you’d be much more likely to choose a more tool like option such as a sinn diver or a cheaper seiko option).

      All in all this is a great recreational diver/tool watch that you can strap to your wrist and enjoy.

  • Lawrence

    somehow i dont like vintage looking pieces.

  • Mark Baran

    VERY NICE! Kudos to ORIS!

  • Framlucasse
    • Fake picture? Prove it.

      Seriously, the picture you have here is wrong. As shown by the pictures in this article and everywhere else I looked the hands are covered in a rose gold plating, as stated in the specifications for the pace. The picture you have here doesn’t have that.

      I think that perhaps you need to do a bit more researching before issuing such a inflammatory statement.


  • Rupert Muller

    Oris may have nailed it, and I agree that it is a nice looking watch. But come on – 38 hours power reserve for a watch in the year 2015… that’s really, REALLY poor.

  • HectorAsuipe


  • Diverging Clear

    This man is amazing in too many ways to list. I commend and thank Oris for doing this. I’m hoping Oris will steer in a different direction soon, get away from racing, and specific people (though greatly deserved here!) It’s a fine line between novelty and art. ORIS, can blossom into heirloom stature if they’d change their collections a bit. My first watch was an oris I’d saved up for in high school and years later owning much higher end watches, it’s still my favorite AND running like a champ.

  • Richard Mui

    A dive watch with a leather strap, I wonder how well that would fare in salt water… Give me a nice NATO included with proprietary hardware and I’ll bite. As is the package seem a little lacking.

    But with that said it’s a good looking piece.

  • Roman Klime

    Do not experiment with patina.

  • The Broken Arrow accident was the most important ever happened (that we know of). It happen in 1966 in front of Palomares, a village in the South of Spain. Actually if it hadn’t been for a fisherman that saw where the bomb “dived” into the sea it would have been far more difficult for the Navy to find it so quickly.

    Three other bombs fell on the ground, contaminating a terrain that is still to be completely cleaned by the US, probably because they have been very busy these last 50 years. Or something.

  • DGS70

    “Dived” rather than “Dove.”

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