Oris Carl Brashear Calibre 401 Limited Edition
The Oris Carl Brashear Calibre 401 Limited Edition is the third model produced in collaboration with the Carl Brashear Foundation. This relationship began in 2016 with the release of a three-hand model and then a chronograph two years later (2018). This latest creation incorporates a new in-house movement, the self-winding Calibre 401, which offers an array of benefits worthy of mention.
In 2016, Oris released its inaugural Carl Brashear Limited Edition, featuring hours, minutes, a central sweep seconds hand and a date indication. Mr Brashear was the U.S. Navy’s ‘first African America diver and the first amputee Master Diver’. His story was retold in the Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Men of Honor’, starring Cuba Gooding Junior and Robert De Niro.
The Carl Brashear Foundation supports veterans and vulnerable people, ‘giving them hope and helping them achieve their goals’. Today, the foundation is led by Carl’s son, Philip.
The aforementioned model of 2016 was endowed with a deep blue dial and housed in a 42mm bronze case, an alloy that was widely used for diving helmets in yesteryear. The model featured the Oris 733 automatic movement, based on the Sellita SW 200-1.
Two years later, the brand from Hölstein released the Carl Brashear Chronograph. The blue dial, solid caseback and bronze housing returned, but the watch now incorporated a bi-compax layout. When contrasted with the 2016 model, the chronograph sacrificed the date indication and the case was a smidgen larger, measuring 43mm in diameter. This timepiece was powered by a Sellita SW 510.
In the last few days, Oris has unveiled its latest Carl Brashear model. At first glance, it looks virtually identical to the time-only model of 2016, however, close examination reveals some notable differences.
Firstly, the bronze case has been on a diet, shedding a few millimetres. The Oris Carl Brashear Calibre 401 Limited Edition now measures just 40mm in diameter. This taps into the growing trend for smaller case sizes, albeit I never had an issue with the scale of the previous models. The dial eschews the 2016 model’s date window, while the central sweep seconds has been supplanted by a small seconds display, positioned at 6 o’clock.
However, the biggest change takes place within the case. Instead of using a Sellita-based movement, the Oris Carl Brashear Calibre 401 Limited Edition features a new in-house movement. This is an evolution of the Calibre 400, released two months ago (November 2020). The self-winding Calibre 401 employs two barrels, providing an impressive power-reserve of 120 hours. Other technical highlights include superior protection from magnetic fields, superb precision and a 10-year warranty.
Price: CHF 3,900 (Recommended retail price 26.1.2021)
The brand’s press release (January 2021)
It’s with great pride that we introduce the Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 Limited Edition, created in support of the Carl Brashear Foundation. Furthermore, we are delighted that this special watch, which is limited to 2,000 pieces, becomes the first watch to carry Oris Calibre 401, the second movement from our new family of in-house automatics.
The new watch is cased in 40 mm of bronze, a material chosen to symbolise not just the diving helmets worn by Carl during his career as a U.S. Navy Master Diver, but also because it’s a metal that will tell its own story. Bronze is a natural material that patinates as it reacts with oxygen in the air and moisture from your skin. Over time, it will take on a unique finish, like a visual chronicle of the wearer’s own life wearing the watch.
Inside it is the automatic Oris Calibre 401. Based on Calibre 400, launched last year, it was designed from the ground up by Oris’s in-house watchmakers. As well as being more accurate than a chronometer (to within -3 to +5 seconds a day), it solves many of the mechanical movement problems of our time by offering heightened levels of anti-magnetism, a five-day power reserve and a 10-year extended warranty.
Oris Calibre 401 differs from Calibre 400 in that it features a small seconds at 6 o’clock, an Oris signature. It’s a movement designed to overcome life’s knocks – a timeless symbol of the spirit shown by Carl Brashear throughout his life of service.
The watch also has a blue dial, inspired by naval tradition, a uni-directional rotating bronze bezel with a diving scale in relief, and a custom-designed, hand-crafted, moisture-wicking woven elastic nylon webbing strap produced for this watch by Erika’s Originals.
“It’s not a sin to get knocked down. It’s a sin to stay down.” These are the words of Carl Brashear, one of the 20th century’s most enduring figures of triumph in adversity. Carl overcame numerous challenges, both on account of his background and later disability, to become the U.S. Navy’s first African American diver and first amputee Master Diver. He is a man of honour and an inspiration to people all over the world.
In 2015, as part of our mission to bring Change for the Better, Oris partnered with the Carl Brashear Foundation, set up in his memory and to continue his legacy.
It’s been our privilege since then to work with the foundation and in particular Carl’s son Phillip and his family. Now, we’re delighted to announce a third watch bearing his name, the Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 Limited Edition, the first watch powered by the new Oris Calibre 401, a high-performance automatic.
The Carl Brashear Foundation uses Carl’s story to inspire people never to give up. Carl was born into a poor farming community and overcame racism, a lack of education and, following an accident while on active duty, disability to achieve his ambitions. His story was made into the movie Men of Honor, starring the Oscar-winning actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert De Niro.
Funds raised by sales of Oris Carl Brashear watches have supported countless veterans and vulnerable people, giving them hope and helping them achieve their goals.
“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 this new watch looks at it, they will be reminded to never give up, and to press on, no matter how insurmountable the challenges ahead appear.”