Oris celebrates the life of baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente and the humanitarian work of the Roberto Clemente Foundation with a limited edition watch – the Oris Big Crown Roberto Clemente Limited Edition.
Change for the Better
Oris’s mission to bring Change for the Better continues through a new partnership with the Roberto Clemente Foundation
For Oris, one of the many advantages of being independent is that we’re free to do what we think is right. Sometimes that means creating a new watch, a new movement or an innovation that will serve our customers’ needs. And often, it means following our heart and doing something that will bring meaningful change in the world. It means doing the right thing.
A few years ago, Oris brought the projects the brand was working on to bring that change under the banner of ‘Change for the Better’. Oris partnered with non-profit organisations all over the world, many of them at the forefront of conservation, finding ways to clean, restore and protect our environment.
Now, Oris is very proud to announce a new partnership with the Roberto Clemente Foundation, a humanitarian organisation named in honour of baseball’s Roberto Clemente and run by his family.
Roberto was an extraordinary talent, and over the coming pages we’ll tell the story of how he became one of the greatest ballplayers of all time, and how he was tragically taken from this Earth before his time while delivering humanitarian aid.
But as the foundation is always keen to impress, Roberto was more than a baseball icon. He was also a father, brother, husband and, more importantly, a great human being. The Oris partnership celebrates Roberto’s talent and achievements, but it also underlines who he was and the values he stood for – to bring Change for the Better.
A baseball Hall of Famer, a hero in his native Puerto Rico and a man who died serving others, Roberto Clemente’s legacy lives on
Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker is a 20th-century hero. Born the youngest of seven children in Puerto Rico in 1934, he would go on to become one of the greatest baseball players in the history of the game. But he was more than a ballplayer. He was a passionate humanitarian and activist and lived to serve others by bringing real change in his home country and his local community.
From humble beginnings, Roberto’s life changed quickly. At 17, he began his career in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League and a year later moved to the U.S. to join the Brooklyn Dodgers organisation.
In the years that followed, he would overcome discrimination because of the colour of his skin, and become a baseball legend. In 1955, he made his Major League debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he would stay for 18 seasons. He was an exceptional athlete, with a mighty throwing arm. He won two World Series with the Pirates and became a 12-time winner of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, before reaching 3,000 hits with the last hit of his career in September 1972, making him the first Latin American player to reach the mark.
During the following winter, Nicaragua was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, leaving as many as 11,000 people dead and 300,000 without a home. Roberto, who had been involved in community work throughout his career, sent aid, but discovered his shipments had gone missing in the chaos, almost certainly diverted by corrupt local officials.
He insisted on accompanying the next shipment to make sure it reached the people who needed it most, and on December 31, he boarded a plane. It would never reach its destination. Roberto Clemente died, serving others, aged just 38. The plane crashed into the sea and his body was never found.
But his name lived on. In 1973, Roberto was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The same year, the Commissioner’s Award, awarded annually to a Major League player for their work in the community, was renamed the Roberto Clemente Award. And Roberto’s number 21 was retired by the Pirates.
In 1993, the Roberto Clemente Foundation was established with a mission to ‘Build Nations of Good’. Headed by his widow Vera and now his son Luis Clemente, it continues his proud legacy of bringing real change.
Interview with Luis Roberto Clemente Zabala
Building Nations of Good
Roberto Clemente’s son Luis runs the Roberto Clemente Foundation. Here, he tells us about its vision and inspiration
First, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Luis Roberto Clemente Zabala, Roberto and Vera’s son, and President CEO of the Clemente Legacy Program, which includes the Roberto Clemente Foundation. My job is to look after the Clemente family legacy.
And tell us about Roberto Clemente.
My father was a very proud Puerto Rican who became one of the best baseball players of all time. Since his first day in the Major Leagues, his mission was to represent the working class of America. He became an activist against racial prejudice and demanded equal treatment for all human beings. His love for humanity marked his fate as he lost his life in an airplane accident attempting to aid earthquake victims in Nicaragua on New Year’s Eve in 1972. His legacy is huge. There are many schools, ballparks, monuments, awards, roads, avenues, boulevards, bridges and venues named in his honour, and his likeness has appeared on currency and all kinds of memorabilia.
What is the Roberto Clemente Foundation?
We’re a non-profit organisation incorporated in Puerto Rico. Our purpose is to develop tomorrow’s leaders through education, sports and service leadership. We encourage students to become goodwill ambassadors in their communities.
Why does Roberto continue to inspire?
My father was a man of character and he believed in equality for all. His life’s work had a deep impact on Puerto Rico, on baseball, sport and generations of young people who have grown up wanting to emulate his achievements and his passion for seeing meaningful change in society. He became the voice of justice for the underprivileged. That voice was continued by our mother Vera Clemente, who set up the Roberto Clemente Sports City in Puerto Rico, which was his long-time dream. She died last year, so now it passes to us, their children, to carry it on.
Is there a story that sums up his heart?
Dad met a lady on a trip to the Dominican Republic. On the return journey, the lady got very ill. On landing, dad accompanied her to the hospital and visited her a few days before she passed away. She had told him she wanted to have music played during her burial. Dad was a good harmonica player, and so he went and played at her funeral.
What is the Roberto Clemente Award?
The Roberto Clemente Award is given annually to the Major League Baseball player who ‘best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team’. It’s voted on by baseball fans and the media.
What are your plans for the future?
We’re currently fundraising for the new Roberto Clemente Sports City. I’m also building the Roberto Clemente Network, which will connect all existing Roberto Clemente Schools, leagues and venues so we can work together to assist in cases of natural disasters.
What will the Oris partnership involve?
We’ve worked on a watch together that honours my dad. There’ll be 3,000 watches, a number we chose because that was the number of hits he had during his career. We want to inspire people to become better humanitarians and to carry the message of love for humankind.
Why launch it on September 9?
The launch of the watch coincides with Roberto Clemente Day, which celebrates his story and legacy.
What do you think of the watch?
We really like the watch because it’s classy and sporty, and because it reflects our father’s distinguished yet humble personality. We think it’ll become a must-have for Roberto Clemente fans around the world.
How can Oris fans get involved in the foundation’s activities?
Aside from buying the watch, Oris fans can join us in Building Nations of Good in their everyday actions. Be inspired by what Roberto said: ‘Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.’ For more information, visit robertoclementefoundation.com.
Oris Roberto Clemente Limited Edition Technical Specifications and Price
Limited to 3,000 pieces to represent his career hits and with the date at 21 in gold, the Roberto Clemente Limited Edition is a glorious tribute to an extraordinary man
Reference 01 754 7741 4081-Set – Limited to 3,000 pieces, available from September 2020
- Number: Oris 754
- Functions: Centre hands for hours, minutes and seconds, date centre hand, instantaneous date, date corrector, fine timing device and stop-second
- Winding Automatic
- Power reserve 38 hours
- Multi-piece stainless steel case
- Size: 40.00 mm (1.575 inches)
- Top glass: Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
- Case back: Stainless steel, screwed, special engravings
- Operating devices: Stainless steel screw-in security crown
- Water resistance: 5 bar
- White with black and gold detailing inspired by Roberto Clemente’s uniform
- Luminous material: Hands and indices with Super-LumiNova®
Strap & Buckle
- Light brown leather strap with double stitching inspired by a baseball glove,
- Stainless steel buckle
- Special box, certificate,
- Additional black, gold and white NATO strap with buckle,
- Strap change tool,
- Limited to 3,000 pieces
- Swiss retail price CHF 1,850