As the watch brand lands on site, we take a look at diving legend Mr Carl Brashear – and the timepiece he inspired
here’s a moment in Men Of Honor, the 2000 biopic of Mr Carl Brashear, the US Navy’s first black master diver, which showcases both the daunting odds he faced in achieving his feat, and the tenacity with which he overcame them. As his brutal diving instructor Mr Billy Sunday, Mr Robert De Niro launches into a dyspeptic tirade against Mr Brashear: “Think you deserve to be here, don’t ya? Fraternising among Navy men? Think you’re as good as they are? How ’bout me, cookie? You better than me?” As Mr Brashear, Mr Cuba Gooding Jnr assumes his best grace-under-pressure expression, and replies evenly: “You’re damn right I am.”
It wasn’t only institutional racism that Mr Brashear had to stare down to become a diving legend. There were also the not-insignificant matters of a poverty-stricken background and threadbare education, and a shipboard accident in the mid-1960s that resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee. Through all these tribulations, Mr Brashear recalled, he would remember the words of his sharecropper father: “You get back in there, Carl, and you fight! You do your best!” Reading his story, the only wonder is that Hollywood took so long in getting round to telling it.