Just as “military chic” appeals to civilians in the form of bare-bones Land Rovers, cargo trousers and navy pea coats, military diving watches have a distinct cachet that attracts enthusiasts, and with a vengeance. Military watches for the infantry and aviator timepieces certainly have their own sorts of “cool”, but among the most coveted of all the timepieces issued to servicemen are the watches designated for navy scuba divers, frogmen, saboteurs, SEALs, and sailors.
Many passionate fans of high watchmaking have likely heard of WOSTEP, however few know what this cryptic acronym really means.
WOSTEP is one of those mythical-sounding names spoken with reverence in Switzerland. But what exactly do these six seemingly haphazardly arranged letters mean? “Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program” is the answer.
I love independent watchmaking and independent watchmakers; one of my great joys as a collector has been the opportunity to own the works of several of these great creators, and I love having the feeling that, in a small way, I am supporting their efforts.
My high regard for these great creators makes it all the more difficult to accept that for many of them, business survival is a struggle and that very few of them will ever achieve prosperity by pursuing their chosen paths.
Whimsy, frivolity, playfulness: these are not adjectives one often hears used to describe haute horlogerie.
And yet these words accurately describe many watches or clocks built over the centuries. Since the beginning of horology, watch and clockmakers have been designing and making mechanisms displaying a less-than-serious side, providing an outlet for their creativity and creating a sense of playfulness.
The story in a second
From the bright and shiny press pics, to the patinated reality, the bronze Carl Brashear from Oris is one of the buzziest watches released this year.
We had thought, towards late 2015, that the watch world had reached peak bronze. The uncommon material, pioneered by Panerai and Anonimo seemed to be everywhere – from dive watches to pilots. Well, we got that one wrong. The bronze age continues unabated, with two premier dive watch releases: the bronze evolution of Tudor’s Black Bay, and this limited edition take on the Divers Sixty-Five, the Carl Brashear Limited Edition. Both are variations on a theme – a 40-odd-millimetre diver with a heritage twist. But for all the similarities it’s remarkable how different these two pieces look – the Tudor is brawny, while the Oris is beautiful. Inspired by the story of Carl Brashear, the US naval diver famously portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jnr in Men of Honor, this is a textbook example of what a well-done limited edition looks like.