Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 Limited Edition Watch Review
Tuesday - 19 January 2021
In tribute of the “Man of Honour”, Oris have introduced their third Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition watch in support of the Carl Brashear Foundation. This time, the iconic bronze piece becomes the beneficiary of Oris’ latest in-house movement, the Calibre 401, part of their new family of in-house automatics featuring a remarkable 10 year warranty, a 5 day power reserve and highly anti-magnetic properties.
If we were asked to list some of Oris’ most historic watches, the original Oris Carl Brashear watch unveiled in 2015 would no doubt make the list. It was Oris’ first ever bronze watch, a material which has now completely infatuated the industry, and it did an admirable job of honouring African American diver and first amputee Master Diver, Carl Brashear. The second Oris Carl Brashear, this time a limited edition chronograph, was unveiled at the beginning of 2018 and housed the Oris 771 automatic calibre. Like clockwork, another three years has passed, and we are treated to another edition: the Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401. Featuring an all-new look with a small-seconds dial and a navy blue textile strap, the new limited edition of 2,000 pieces will once again raise funds for the Carl Brashear Foundation, a charity that works towards helping countless veterans and vulnerable people, giving them hope and helping them to achieve their goals.
“It’s not a sin to get knocked down. It’s a sin to stay down”. – Carl Brashear
The story of Carl Brashear is one of endurance, bravery and strength, something epitomised perfectly in his famous words above. He remains one of the 20th century’s most enduring figures of triumph in diversity after becoming the first African-American U.S Navy Master Diver. During his attendance at diving school, Brashear faced severe hostility and racism, but this did not discourage him from achieving his dream. He eventually became a salvage diver for the Navy, but during a bomb recovery operation in March 1966, a line used for hauling broke loose and caused a pipe to strike Brashear’s left knee which dangerously injured him. He was quickly evacuated to a Naval Hospital where he fought a persistent infection but inevitably had to have his leg amputated.
In the November of 1966, Carl Brashear was fitted with a prosthetic leg and within days he walked out of hospital, against doctor’s orders, and went for a dive in a deep sea ring. It was his passion for diving that proved to doctors that he was ready to re-join the Deep Diving Sea School in Washington D.C. After a long struggle, Carl Brashear was finally recognized as the first African American Navy Diver to hold the titles of Master Diver and Master Chief Petty Officer, as well as the first amputee to return to full active duty as a diver in the U.S. Navy. His willpower and dedication serves as encouragement to divers and non-divers alike as well as the sole inspiration behind the new Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 Limited Edition.
“Carl’s is an extraordinary legacy, and we’re incredibly proud to share in it and support the foundation,” says Rolf Studer, Oris Co-CEO. “Together with the Carl Brashear Foundation, we hope that every time someone wearing the new Oris Carl Brashear Cal.401 watch looks at it, they will be reminded to never give up, and to press on, no matter how insurmountable the challenges ahead appear.”
Like much of the design of the new Carl Brashear Limited Edition watch, the Calibre 401 movement housed within serves as a symbol of the spirit shown by Carl Brashear throughout his life of service. Its immaculate construction has been purposely designed to overcome life’s knocks with heightened levels of anti-magnetism and an accuracy that triumphs chronometer certification of -3 to +5 seconds per day. The release of the Oris Calibre 401 comes shortly after the Calibre 400 launched last year which was similarly designed entirely in-house by Oris’ watchmakers. Both movements deliver an extended 10 year warranty and a healthy five day power reserve (120 hours), however the Calibre 401 differs for its addition of a small seconds dial at 6 o’clock. The automatic winding movement also delivers classic central hands for hours and minutes, 21 jewels and a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour.
Just like its two predecessors, the Oris Carl Brashear Cal.401 Limited Edition watch is handsomely cased in bronze, a material chosen especially for its associations with diving. Its unique properties means bronze will tell a story of its own, changing colour over time when exposed to moisture in the air and pH levels in perspiration. The patina that develops allows there to be 2,000 limited edition pieces of the Oris watch completely bespoke to each wearer. Carl Brashear himself was known for wearing a bronze diving helmet during his career as a U.S. Navy Master, a story that is captured on the decorated stainless steel screw down case back.
The 40mm bronze case is paired with a matching unidirectional rotating bezel, also engineered in bronze. The coin-edged bezel is decorated with a 60 minute timing scale and a luminous marker at the 12 o’clock position. The Oris Carl Brashear Cal.401 Limited Edition continues to impress with domed scratch resistant sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective treatment on the inside, a bronze screw in security crown and a water resistant rating of 100 metres.
Inspired by naval tradition, the dial of the Oris Carl Brashear Cal.401 watch is dressed in a stunning shade of navy blue and adorned with hands and indices coated in glow in the dark Superluminova. Its design follows suit to the two Oris Carl Brashear Limited Editions before it, but this time stands out exclusively for its small seconds sub dial at 6 o’clock. The sub dial is paired with several markings to celebrate its functionality including “5 DAYS” detailed at the centre to commemorate its 120 hour power reserve, “WATER RESISTANT 10 BAR/100M” and “SWISS MADE”.
Completing the look of the new Oris Carl Brashear Cal.401 Limited Edition is an all new strap custom-designed and hand-crafted by Erika’s Originals. The artisanal watch strap manufacturer has become renowned for crafting durable, attractive and personalised textile straps made from moisture wicking woven elastic nylon webbing. The design of the Oris Carl Brashear Cal.401 watch strap is incredibly comfortable, attired in navy blue with a cream stripe down the centre, paired with a bronze pin buckle to match the case.
If the sales of the previous two Oris Carl Brashear watches are anything to go by, we don’t expect the 2,000 limited edition pieces of the new Oris Carl Brashear Cal.401 watch to last very long. If you’d like to get your hands on your own Oris Carl Brashear Cal.401 Limited Edition, head over to the Jura Watches website here or get in touch with the team on 01335 453453 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Specifications: Oris Carl Brashear Cal.401 Limited Edition (01 401 7764 3185-Set)
- Case Size: 40mm
- Case Material: Bronze
- Bezel: Uni-directional with 60 minute scale
- Glass: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on inside
- Crown: Bronze, screw in security
- Case Back: Stainless steel, screwed, special engravings
- Water Resistance: 100 metres
- Movement: Calibre 401 automatic winding
- Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock
- Power Reserve: 120 hours
- Accuracy: -3/+5 seconds per day
- Jewels: 21
- Frequency: 28,800vph
- Dial: Blue with Superluminova hands and indices
- Strap: Blue woven elastic nylon webbing
- Buckle: Bronze pin
- Limited Edition: 2,000 pieces
- Release Date: 19 January 2021
- RRP: £3,350