INTRODUCING: Yes, it’s yet another bronze watch. But here’s why the Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 Limited Edition matters…Zach Blass
Oris is well known in the watch world for making high quality timepieces that offer serious value. While less expensive than many of their competitors, Oris still uses top-notch materials like ceramic bezels and also now incorporates in-house calibers. By making the latest technology more accessible to buyers, the brand has cultivated a devout following. One material Oris has seriously mastered is bronze, having gone so far as to even produce a bronze chronograph with a bronze bracelet – totally unheard of in watchmaking. Today, Oris returns with a new bronze watch – their latest collaboration with the Carl Brashear Foundation: the Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 Limited Edition that features a new dial, movement and strap.
A production of 2000 watches, the Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 Limited Edition case is 40mm in diameter and completely made from bronze (aside from its solid stainless-steel engraved caseback). The bronze bezel has a frosted texture and finish, and while most timing bezels only convey every minute up to the 15h, here we have a full timing scale etched in relief. Protecting the dial is a domed (on both sides) sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on its underside.
The watch utilises a combination of finishes. The top of the tapered lugs are satin brushed, while the bezel knurling and base band are mirror polished. This results in an elegant and sporty finish with the most vulnerable elements of the case satin brushed due to the fact scratches will be less revealing on their surfaces. As it states on the dial, the Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 Limited Edition is 100 metres water resistant with a bronze screw-down crown. The crown is a great size, and the knurling on its perimeter will make it much easier to screw open or down when needed. Considering the nature of the partnership and its robust build, it’s more than ready to take diving.
The dial tone is a rich and dark navy blue reminiscent of the depths of the ocean. It is definitely eye-catching and even coming out of a year dominated by blue dials will still likely capture the curiosity of buyers around the world. The outer minute hashes, hour markers, hour and minute, and sub second hands are all fashioned in the same tone as its bronze case. One aspect enthusiasts will notice right away is the sub-seconds dial in favor of a centre seconds hand. This was made possible by the new in-house CAL. 401. It shares the same architecture and specifications as the previously announced CAL. 400, but powers a small sub seconds hand instead of a centre seconds hand.
The strap has been produced by fan-favorite strap maker Erika’s Originals (who produces our very own Time+Tide club strap) in an exclusive configuration for Oris. The blue fabric matches the tone of the dial, with a beige stripe down its centre to pair with the bronze tone of the case. Both the loops and fastener are made of bronze, a very nice touch considering some brands would attempt to mimic the color of bronze with plated gold. The addition of bronze in the strap is nice because it makes it a unique Erika’s Originals strap, maintains the uniformity of the material used, and most importantly will age and patina along with the case.
As I mentioned earlier, beneath the solid stainless steel engraved caseback is the in-house CAL.401. Aside from its introduction of a sub-seconds register, the CAL. 401 maintains the five-day power reserve of the CAL.400 it is based on. The movement boasts high resistance to magnetism and very high accuracy, running within +5/-3 seconds per day – which is a more strict parameter than chronometer standards. While industrial in its finish, Oris injects playfulness in its architecture. The twin barrels, main-plate, and rotor together create the image of the brand’s Oris Bear. While it cannot be viewed via an exhibition caseback on this model, it will still bring a smile to your face knowing it is there.
Very hard to find (if ever) in the industry, the warranty of the watch is extended to 10 years with MyOris sign-up and applies to the watch and movement. With their latest in-house caliber-powered creations, Oris boast 10-year recommended service intervals and five-year recommended water-resistance checks. This is an insane testament to the robust and reliable build of their watch, resulting in a worry and hassle-free experience for buyers.
Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 Limited Edition pricing and availability:
The Oris Carl Brashear Cal. 401 is a limited edition of 2000 pieces and is available now via Oris and Authorized Dealers worldwide. Price: 3,900 CHF