The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.

The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition

The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition. Photo courtesy of Oris S.A.

Normally we wait until a watch arrives in the store before we review it, but this one warrants immediate mention. The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition is a variation of the popular Divers Sixty Five in a bronze case. "Anonimo Firenze" or "historical Anonimo" bronze models were extremely popular at Topper between 2005-2011. After many years without a single bronze model offered by any of our watch brands, Russ and I are thrilled to feature another bronze timepiece. The last one was the Zenith Extra Special Bronze, a pilot watch which was unique in the way it countered the stereotype that most bronze watches are divers. This Carl Brashear Limited Edition has the distinction of being the first ever bronze watch from Oris.

What makes bronze different from other case making materials is not just the reddish brass tone of the watch when new, but the way it patinas over time. Bronze is an alloy made primarily of copper and tin, and as the copper interacts over time with the air, humidity, and acidity in human skin, it will oxidize and change color. Depending on the length of exposure to each of the aforementioned elements, this patina process can take days, weeks, or months, but it always produces a coloration pattern unique to every piece.

The Oris Carl Brashear shares the same Sellita-based Calibre 733 movement and case size proportions of the 2015 Divers Sixty Five, but in a slightly (2mm) larger 42mm case. The dial layout also deviates from the 2015 Divers Sixty Five in that it is more like other dive watches of the sixties. Instead of the lume outlines of Arabic numbers at three, six, nine, and twelve that are the hallmarks of the steel Divers Sixty Five, the Carl Brashear features applied indices. The rose gold plated indices are circular (one, two, four, five, seven, eight, ten, and eleven o'clock), rectangular (three and nine o'clock), and triangular (twelve o'clock). The dial color appears to be a much deeper blue than the Deauville blue dial of the latest steel Divers Sixty Five. And unique among the Divers Sixty Five series, the Carl Brashear comes adorned with a thick brown leather strap featuring contrast stitching and a bronze tang-type buckle.

Like the Divers Sixty Five models that made their debut in 2015, the Carl Brashear also features the minimal 100m of water resistance, allowing the watch to maintain a thin case. In stark contrast to other well known and thickly dimensioned bronze dive watches, such as the Panerai Bronzo and the Anonimo Millimetri Bronze, we estimate the Oris Carl Breashears to be under 12mm thick.

The Oris Carl Brashear celebrates another nautical aspect of bronze. The namesake tie in to the watch is the celebration of nautical hero, Carl Brashear. Mr. Brashear graduated from the U.S. Navy Diving and Salvage school in 1954. Later, he would become the first African-American "Master Diver". This achievement is perhaps even more impressive considering he accomplished this feat as an amputee diver (another U.S. Navy first) due to an earlier underwater salvage accident that claimed his lower left leg. Like other Navy divers of the era, Mr. Brashear wore a Mark V diving helmet which is featured on the stainless steel caseback. Oris chose to do the caseback in stainless steel as opposed to bronze to cut down on potential allergic reactions with the material against the skin.

The 2000-piece limited edition Oris Carl Brashear retails for $2,800. Delivery is expected in the May-June timeframe. To reserve yours or to get more information, please call the store.

The caseback and bronze buckle of the Oris Divers Sixty Five. Photo courtesy of Oris S.A.

Carl Brashear (rightmost) graduated from the U.S. Navy Diving & Salvage School in 1954. Photo courtesy of Oris S.A.

The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.