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Privately owned Swiss watch manufacturer Oris has a long history of supporting ocean conservancy around the world — from their Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition watches to the Clean Ocean Limited Edition, numerous time-only and chronograph watches have raised funds in support of these initiatives.
The Oris Staghorn Restoration Limited Edition, in particular, saw the brand partnering with the Coral Restoration Foundation, the world’s largest non-profit marine-conservation organization dedicated to restoring coral reefs to a healthy state. A special version of the Aquis dive watch, part of the funds from the sale of this model went towards conservation of staghorn coral.
Partnering once again with the Coral Restoration Foundation, Oris has released a new model, the Oris Carysfort Reef Limited Edition, limited to 50 pieces and produced in solid 18K yellow gold. The watch, which is named for a coral reef located within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, features a bi-directional rotating bezel with black and blue ceramic insert; a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment; and a solid gold case back with a sapphire crystal inlay printed with a limited edition number and Carysfort Reef motif.
With a diameter of 43.5mm and a lug width of 24mm, this isn’t a GMT watch for the faint of heart — the case packs both size and weight due to its solid gold composition — but a water resistance rating of 300m lets the wearer know that this is a serious tool, despite its eye-catching looks. The automatic Oris cal. 798 (based on the Sellita SW 330-1) features hours, minutes, seconds and GMT hands; a date window at 3 o’clock; instantaneous date changeover; a date; and 24-hour corrector function and hacking, as well as a power reserve of 42 hours.
Melding with the gold case is a beautiful blue dial with an inner 24-hour ring and Super-LumiNova-filled hands and indices. Shipping on a blue leather strap with rubber coating and an 18K yellow gold pin buckle as well as a special wooden presentation box, the watch will be available in April 2020 for $19,000.
Oris devotees whose eyebrows may be raising at the price of the new LE should fret not — the reasoning behind the development of such a (relatively) expensive watch is largely the desire to support the Coral Restoration Foundation’s mission: A percentage of each watch’s sale will go to the CRF, but watches will also be auctioned off at three different auctions throughout the year, the first of which is the Raise the Reef gala on April 18th. The winning bidder will also receive four spaces on a CRF dive to witness coral spawning, which, according to this this explainer video, is something not to be missed. (Previously, two Staghorn Restoration Limited Edition pieces were sold at auction in 2017 for $12,500, raising $25,000 for the CRF’s coral preservation initiatives.)
Martha Roesler, Chief Development Office at the CRF, explained that the sale of the Carysfort Reef Limited Edition will provide unrestricted funding, which allows them to do restoration work at scale. The CRF consists of a full-time staff of about 15 people and roughly 20 interns in a given semester, and continuously calls in volunteers to help grow new coral and restore reef systems.
VJ Geronimo, CEO of Oris North America, sought a watch design for this second collaboration that would aid the coral restoration initiative in the biggest way — chiefly, by raising the most money for the CRF: “It was a conversation about making something very exclusive that would help [raise the most funds]. This is why it turned into a 50-piece, very limited edition. It’s not about Oris coming up to a higher price point — it was made for this purpose, and that’s why it is what it is.”
Thankfully, for those who are in love with the watch’s handsome design but desire something more affordable, the gold edition will be followed by a steel version, limited to roughly 2,000 pieces, that will also help raise funds for the CRF. The price point is as yet-undetermined, but given Oris’s history of delivering huge bang-for-your-buck in its steel models, we can be sure that the watch will be worth its MSRP.
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