One of the most special watches on the market is the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition. This limited-edition watch was released in remembrance of the late American hero, Carl Brashear. With its sleek build, high-quality craftsmanship, and unique history, this is one of the most sought-after Swiss watches by the collector community.
Oris started its collaboration with the Carl Brashear Foundation back in 2015. As part of the collaboration with the Carl Brashear Foundation, Oris has launched a total of three timepieces, with the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition being its latest release. Without further ado, let us take a deeper look into the life of Carl Brashear and the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition, which so aptly represents the values he stood for.
Carl Brashear: A Paragon of Courage and Resolution
Carl Brashear is a name that needs no introduction. The world knows him as a legendary sailor and hero who never gave up. Brashear was a man so driven and firm in his resolve to advance that no hardship could stop him from what he loved to do the most: sail. Much in line with that, the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition is a sturdy, powerfully-built dive watch that can withstand any challenge.
Brashear was born in 1931 to an underprivileged family in rural Kentucky. He was the sixth of eight children. Although Brashear had minimal access to education, it did not deter him or stop him from thinking big. From a very young age, Brashear developed a firm resolve of creating a better life for himself. And through unyielding efforts, he manifested his dreams.
Although Brashear was only moderately educated, he enrolled in the US Navy in 1948 and successfully graduated from its Diving and Salvage School in 1954. This made him the first African-American to graduate from the institute.
Brashear excelled in his career and made great strides until he met with an accident during one of his underwater endeavors in 1966. The Navy assigned Brashear to retrieve a lost nuclear bomb from the sea. During this operation, Brashear hit a loose pipe with his lower left leg. As he was not given proper medical care due to a lack of resources, Brashear’s leg had to be amputated.
The Navy decided to retire Brashear from duty, given his disability. However, Brashear refused to do so. Armed with grit and the aid of a prosthetic leg, he started training himself to dive again. Brashear worked day and night so that he could become certified again to do what he loved most. And eventually, Brashear more than achieved his goal. He was the first black man ever to become a master diver. Over his career, Carl Brashear has broken many glass ceilings, setting the benchmark for excellence in the diving field.
Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition Specifications
Case, Bezel, and Crown
Let us now take a look at the specifications of the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition itself. This watch comes in a 40mm bronze case which measures 12.8mm thick. With a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm and a lug width of 20mm, this watch has fairly standard measurements and can fit well on wrists of almost any size.
The vintage-looking case is reminiscent of the bronze material of the helmet used by Brashear during his career with the US Navy. It has polished sides, while the lugs bear a sleeker, brushed finish, creating a visually interesting interplay of textures.
Affixed to the top of this watch’s case is a unidirectional 120-click bezel which is also made of bronze. It has a coin-edged design, which makes it easier for wearers to grip and turn it. Located at 3 o’clock is a thick bronze screw-down crown which you can use to wind and set the watch. Thanks to its screw-down crown and caseback, this watch has a solid depth rating of 100 meters, meeting the ISO 6425 standards for dive watches.
This watch also sports a non-elastic brown marine national strap, which aptly exhibits the watch’s fundamental concept. This strap offers a very comfortable fit and its warm brown tones go well with the watch’s bronze case.
The dial of the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition, meanwhile, shows off a gradient design that recalls the deep underwater seas. It has a rich blue hue that transitions to black as it spreads outwards, much like the ocean waters. This dial is ornamented with raised hour markers in various geometric shapes and thick bronze sword hands, all of which are coated in lume. A small date window can also be found at 6 o’clock.
Powering this watch is the in-house Oris Caliber 401. Thanks to its twin barrels, this movement has a five-day power reserve. It also utilises over 30 non-ferrous and anti-magnetic components, including a silicon escape wheel and a silicon anchor. This helps make the watch more resistant to magnetic forces and thus more accurate. Even when exposed to an incredible 2,250 gauss, the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition has been proven to have less than a 10-second deviation a day. It also offers an excellent precision rate of +5/-3 seconds a day.
To add the cherry on top, the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition also comes with a 10-year warranty.
The back of this watch’s case is made of solid stainless steel. Unlike the bronze material that makes up the rest of the case, this stainless steel caseback will not develop a patina. This avoids any potential skin irritations, ensuring that you will have a comfortable wearing experience.
The caseback also bears a beautiful Carl Brashear engraving, in which he is wearing his US Navy diving suit. Details on the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition are also carved on this caseback, including its serial number, depth rating, case material, and more.
With only 2,000 pieces ever made, owning the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition is a privilege that only a select few get to enjoy. Many watch aficionados dream of wearing one, but given the limited number of models produced by the company, this might be one of the hardest watches to acquire. Oris has perfectly commemorated the life of the great diver, Carl Brashear, with this watch.
All photos from Oris’s official website
Interested in learning about more stylish Oris dive watches? Check out our article on the classic Oris Divers Sixty-Five here.