The Oris Carysfort Reef Limited Edition dive watch “celebrates the 30,000 planted corals to date in partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation.” The Carysfort joins the Aquis Lake Baikal, The Great Barrier Reef and Clean Ocean as a member of’ The Oceans Project. While you can’t fault the Swiss watchmaker’s sense of social responsibility, you can ask . . .
How much of the purchase price goes towards protecting the marine environment? Make no mistake: there’s a lot of money on the table.
If Oris sells all 1999 Lake Baikals (above) they’ll gross $4.8m. If 2000 Great Barrier Reef watches find a new home, Oris banks $5m. If the watchmaker moves all 2000 Clean Ocean timepieces that’s $4.6m on the books. Fifty Carysforts would yield $916,900. Total potential gross revenue from Oris’ Clean Oceans watch flogging project: $15,316,900.
Oris is selling all the Oceans Project watches on the basis of good works. So again, what percentage of that 15 million actually goes to good works? According to the ever-reliable Ariel Adams at ablogtowatch.com
Three out of the 50 Oris Craysfort Reef Limited-Edition [watches] will simply be given to the Coral Restoration Foundation to auction off on its own, the entire proceeds of which will go to the foundation. In addition, my understanding is that part of the sale of all the Craysfort Reef Limited-Edition watches will be given to the charity foundation.
“My understanding is”? Mr. Adams left himself enough wiggle room to make Chubby Checker blush. At $18,338 per Carysfort watch, Oris’ three-watch donation to the Foundation is worth $55,014 – to Oris as a tax deduction. They’re worth more to the Foundation, depending on the eventual hammer price.
Mr. Adams got it slightly wrong: the Foundation’s auctioning one watch at their Raise the Reef auction on April 18th. Another one’s off to auction at the ultra-swank Ocean Reef Club‘s charity, which provides funding to the Foundation. The third’s fate is TBD.
So what will these charitable horophiles get for their money? Other Ocean Project watches have a strong visual tie with their associated charity. The Lake Baikal, for example, has a beautiful frozen lake-like gradient dial and an ice cold case back. The Great Barrier Reef’s gradient blue dial and aqua blue ceramic bezel mirror the colors of the reef waters.
The Clean Ocean’s blue gradient dial and aqua blue ceramic insert “symbolize the beauty and importance of water.” Not to mention the fact that it’s presented in a box made of environmentally friendly algae with recycled plastic inlays.
At first glance, the Carysfort Reef Limited Edition – Oris’ first gold watch – is a bit of an odd duck, PC theme-wise. While Florida is known for the gold recovered from the Spanish galleon Atocha, that connection stinks of posthumous cultural appropriation. Natural coral assumes a large variety of colors: red, orange, pink, blue, white and black. But not gold.
The laser engraving on the Oris Carysfort’s caseback provides the visible link between watch and Foundation. The image leaves little doubt as to Oris’ contribution – other than the dollar amount involved. As the caseback indicates, at least we know the Carysfort is suitable for reef visits down to 30 bar/1000 feet. Yes, some corals live at that depth.
The Carysfort’s Aquis case shelters an automatic Oris 798 movement with a 42-hour power reserve. I’m not sure why a dive watch needs a bezel and a GMT function – anyone keeping track of three times zones is better off with an iPhone world clock app. I guess the GMT hand helps justify the Oris Carysfort Reef’s nearly 20 grand sticker price.
The Carysfort’s indices are equally grand, filled with Superluminova BG W9. The rubber strap helps keep the jumbo-sized timepiece from looking like your grandfather’s gold watch on steroids (43.5mm). The 18K yellow gold buckle makes it clear its owner isn’t wondering where their next meal is coming from.
Anyone who can shell out $18,338 to buy a watch has enough money to buy a non-PC watch and donate a couple of thou to an organization working to protect our oceans. Alternatively, they could pay $250 for a ticket, fly to Florida and buy a Carysfort at the Foundation’s auction. Or Ocean Reef’s shindig. (Image courtesy coralrestoration.org.)
Finally, it’s my understanding that Oris’ customers would feel peachy keen about their purchase if they knew exactly how much of the price goes directly to charity. If any. Meanwhile, Mr. Adams reckons “If you are in the mood for a solid yellow gold watch, you’d really be silly to pass this one up.” Silly me.