Born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1976, Carlos Coste is a legend amongst the free-diving community. To give you an idea of his achievement’s, in 2003 he became the first person to break the 100-meter barrier in the free immersion category. Carlos set the world record for free-diving in the variable weight category with a crazy depth of 140 meters in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt on May 9th 2006. In 2010, Carlos Coste set a new Guinness World Record for free-diving, by completing a 150-meter underwater swim using no apparatus through Dos Ojos, a colossal cenote (cave network) that twists for 31 miles under Yucatan, Mexico. The Venezuelan was armed with only a torch and a monofin when he made this death-defying dive. Oris continue to honor his great achievements by creating another special Oris Carlos Coste limited Edition watch; the Mk IV.
The Oris Carlos Coste series of watches
Oris started its partnership with Carlos Coste in 2006 and cemented the high performance aspect of the brand’s diver collection. Each watch in the collection comes with Carlos Coste’s seal of approval. It is a ringing endorsement from a man whose name appears in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the world’s greatest free-divers. Generally speaking, the Oris Carlos Coste watches have one thing in common, they were rugged tool diver’s watches built with extreme attention to detail – and they were huge.
The Mark Ι was produced in 2006 and started the partnership between the diver and the Swiss manufacture. It was a limited edition to 2,000 pieces. Built from titanium, it was 47mm in diameter and 18,5mm in height. The enormous 6,3mm domed sapphire crystal and the whole construction of the watch made it capable for 2,000meters of water resistance. It was equipped with an HRV valve at 2 o’clock while it had the Oris cal.643 (ETA 2836-2). This specific model was a huge success for the company and one year later, in 2007, the Mark II was introduced to the public.
Below: the Oris Carlos Coste 2000m Mk 1 (source: internet)
The Oris Carlos Coste L.E Mark II was following the same recipe. It came with a very nice box shaped like a diving helmet which was built entirely from titanium as well. At 47mm in diameter and 18,5mm in height it had the same dimensions with the previous version. However, the sapphire crystal was 4,8mm and the water resistance was cut in half from the previous version (1000m). The watch was equipped with a chronograph movement the Oris cal.678 based of course on the Valjoux/ETA 7750. It had a leftie configuration with a HRV at 2 o’clock and the crown and pushers on the opposite side; these were screwed-down. The accents on the dial were orange and we can see the day/date aperture at 9 o’clock with the 30min subdial at 6 o’clock and the running second at 3 o’clock.
Below: the Oris Carlos Coste Chronograph 1000m Mk 2
In 2010 Coste completed a world record 150 meter, 2 minute 30 second dive with no breathing apparatus at the Cenote Dos Ojos underwater cave system in the Yucatan Peninsula and as a commemoration of this dive, Oris produced the 2011 Carlos Coste Cenote Limited Edition chronograph. The Mark ΙΙΙ edition was a 46mm in diameter and much more technical than previous editions. It was built from titanium as well and had an 18,2mm height. Water resistance felt yet again, at 500m. The automatic HRV valve was placed at 9 o’clock and we find a ceramic insert bezel filled with blue luminova. The minute subdial at 12 features 2 small triangles, to remind Coste’s world records: a first one at 2min30s (the Yucatan Peninsula record) and a second one at 7min30s (for Coste’s static world record). The calibre was the Oris cal.674, a classic Valjoux/ETA 7750 modified by Oris.
Below: the Oris Carlos Coste Cenote Chrongoraph Mk 3 500m
The Carlos Coste series of watches are huge however they have a smaller presence on the wrist than one would imagine. I would say that they wear more like a 44mm watch. Due to the titanium, the weight is perfect, heavy enough to know you have a substantial watch on your wrist, but light enough to be comfortable. The bracelets are of very high quality and use pins and collars between links, bezels are excellent and dials were always gorgeous in all versions. Polished markers, subtle wave patterns, and radial textured sub-dials with immaculate hands created a very nice result combining luxury and substance at the same time. All previous editions were limited to 2,000 pieces and became a great hit.
The Oris Carlos Coste Mark IV
The 4th generation of the Oris Carlos Coste is an extremely rugged and well constructed watch, built to take a beating. It has a 46mm case made from titanium, in order to minimize the overall weight of this massive diver timepiece. Its height is 18,1mm, the sapphire glass is domed and has anti reflective coating on both sides, in order to decrease glare to the minimum. It has also a two crown construction: a manual HRV at 3 and a classical crown at 2. It has a 500m water resistance, sufficient enough for most of us (and even for Carlos himself).
The bezel and the dial are perhaps the most important elements of a tool watch like the Oris Carlos Coste. They provide all the necessary information the free-diver would need – by this I mean, the elapsed time under water or the remaining time before having to get out of water, information a diver needs to know at every stage of his descent/ascent. I have to say that the bezel and the dial are perfectly clear for their intended purpose. The bezel is designed with deep-waters in mind. Its most prominent feature is the unidirectional rotating top ring, with a minute scale (coated with Super-LumiNova), seamlessly set into the black ceramic inlay. The black dial is simply designed for optimum reading under deep-waters. The applied indices and the hands are strategically coated with orange bright orange Super-LumiNova.
The Mk IV Carlos Coste is powered by an automatic mechanical movement, the Calibre 743, based on a Sellita SW 220. It has 38 hours of power reserve and beats at 4hz (28,800vph). It has a bi-directional rotating Oris signature red rotor and overall, it is a very sturdy and reliable calibre. On the dial we see center hands for hours and minutes, subsidiary second at 9 o’ clock and a date window at 3 o’clock. The configuration provides unparalleled legibility for its user in almost any condition. The movement is housed in a titanium enclosed case back displaying the emblem of Carlos Coste.
You have to wear the Oris Carlos Coste Mk IV to understand why it’s such a great tool watch. With its black rubber strap featuring an in-house safety anchor for quick adjustment and a titanium folding clasp, the Oris Carlos Coste Mk IV is extremely comfortable and provides fine adjustments (even when worn, since Oris equipped it with a sliding-sledge folding clasp system). A titanium bracelet is also available as an option. The Oris Carlos Coste Mark IV comes in a special waterproof box. It is a limited edition watch (2,000 pieces, like its predecessors). Retail price with the rubber strap is 2,300 Euro and 2,500 Euro with the titanium bracelet.
The Oris Carlos Coste series of watches are very honest tool watches. They are extremely reliable, legible, and rugged. On the down side they are bulky despite the fact that titanium makes them considerably lighter than their dimensions suggest. If you are in the market for a dive watch (with little chance of ever seeing another), from a known Swiss company, and approved by one of the world’s greatest free divers, the Mark IV maybe the one. more on oris.ch.