We previewed the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition bronze dive watch back in January. Today, we have hands-on images of the actual watch, taken at the Baselworld 2016 watch show where it officially debuted last week.
Quite frankly, the professional brand supplied product images don’t do it justice, as it looks much better once you see it is the flesh, and on your wrist. Moreover, at 42 mm, it does not appear much bigger than the wildly popular 40 mm Sixty Five diver, that is part the same collection of dive watches.
As we mentioned in the original post, Oris produced this limited edition timepiece to pay homage to the well-known Navy diver, Carl Brashear, who was the first amputee diver in the Navy in 1968, and the first African-American Master Diver in 1970.
The Carl Brashear Limited Edition comes in a 42 mm diameter bronze case, which is slightly larger than the Divers Sixty-Five, and with applied indexes instead of the vintage style printed markings. It is, however, powered by the same automatic movement (Oris Cal. 733) based on Sellita SW200, with a date at 6 o’clock.
The multi-piece bronze case, with unidirectional bronze dive bezel, and screw-in bronze crown will gain a beautiful greenish patina over time (shown on the left of top image).
A bubble-curved sapphire crystal domed on both sides and with anti-reflective coating inside protects the dial. The back is in screwed stainless steel (which is hypoallergenic), and features a relief engraving of Brashear’s diver helmet with his claim “It’s not a sin to get knocked down, it’s a sin to stay down”.
The dial is dark blue and is curved with applied rose gold-plated indices, filled with luminous material. Hour, minute, and second hands are also rose gold plated and lume filled.
Completing the look is a thick dark brown leather strap, with white contrasting stitching and a bronze pin buckle, a nod to the leather used to weigh down professionals divers in the 1970s. Each piece comes in a special wooden display box (pictured). The retail price is $2,800 and it will be available May 2016. The caseback is marked with XXXX/2000.
After trying on both the Tudor Black Bay Bronze, and the Oris Carl Brashear Dive watches, at Baselworld – in my opinion the Tudor is a good looking watch, but the Oris is a better value if you are not bothered by the fact that it has a basic Sellita movement versus the Black Bay which is powered by a manufacture caliber. Regardless of my affinity towards the Oris diver, both are a good-looking and less expensive alternative to the Panerai Bronzo.