welcome to the bronze age
Famed designer Gerald Genta was the first to bring bronze to modern wrists with the ‘Gefica’ in the early 2000s. Cut to now and it’s emerged as a bona fide fad. Given the material’s traditional use in shipbuilding and diving equipment, it makes sense that bronze has found its niche in diver’s watches.
Ever seen Cuba Gooding Jr in Men of Honor? He played the inspiration behind Oris’s newest dive watch – Carl Brashear, the US Navy’s first African-American deep sea diver. Following the loss of a leg during a 1966 bomb recovery mission, he was also America’s first amputee diver. The 42mm ‘Carl Brashear Limited Edition’ automatic is based on Oris’s ‘Divers Sixty-five’ and rendered in beautiful bronze.
Its epically proportioned pieces fuelled the oversized watch craze, and, while some have come to their senses, U-boat continues unabated with the ‘Chimera Net’. Its aged bronze case spans 46mm before an enormous crown extends the watch’s diameter another 8.6mm. Only 300 will be made, each housing an automatic chronometer movement.
When Rolex’s sister brand, Tudor, introduced the ‘Heritage Black Bay’ in 2012, the company finally stepped out of the shadow of its illustrious sibling. This year, the Black Bay received the bronze treatment (pictured, $4750), with characteristic ‘snowflake’ hands borrowed from Tudor watches used by the French National Navy in the ’70s.