Britain’s Bremont Watch Co. has opted to forego its usual presence at the upcoming Baselworld watch fair in Switzerland, choosing instead to launch its new watches for 2017 at a special press event at its own London Townhouse event, nearby its home base in Henley-on-Thames, England. Brand founders Nick and Giles English hosted a select group of media, including WatchTime, introducing a wide-ranging collection of timepieces slated for land, air, sea, and beyond. Our tour through the inaugural “Baselworld-on-Thames” begins — as it should — above the clouds, with Bremont’s watches for pilots.
Staying true to its aviation roots, Bremont introduces an entirely new collection of vintage-styled, three-hand pilots’ watches named after Britain’s Aircraft Manufacturing Company Limited (AIRCO), one of the first manufacturers of British military aircraft.
The Bremont AIRCO range consists of two models, both with 40-mm-diameter stainless steel cases, constructed at the company’s U.K. manufacturing facility and designed in Bremont’s three-piece ‘Trip-Tick” style. The movement is the self-winding, chronometer-certified Caliber BE-92AE, with a 28,800-vph frequency and 38-hour power reserve. One model, the AIRCO MACH 1/BK, has the more classically utilitarian look, with a satin-finished case, a military-inspired opaline black dial with applied Super-LumiNova-coated numerals, an arrow-tipped, orange sweep-seconds hand, and a date window at 3 o’clock. The other, the AIRCO MACH 2/AN, is described by Bremont as “more of an officer’s dress watch,” boasting a polished-finish case with a sapphire crystal back, an anthracite colored dial with polished, applied numerals; polished, luminous hands; and a date window at 6 o’clock rather than 3 o’clock. Both AIRCO watches come on a calfskin leather straps, a NATO textile strap, or a stainless steel bracelet.
Continuing Bremont’s central aviation theme, the brand’s ALT1-P chronograph — which marks 10 years since its launch in 2007 — undergoes a makeover this year. The updates to this flagship collection includes new dials and hands and a new case design; the case diameter remains 43 mm. An all-new cream-colored dial joins the range alongside the existing sunburst blue dial and matte black dial versions. The sapphire exhibition caseback has been enlarged to better show off the chronometer-rated automatic BE-53AE movement, with its haute horlogerie finishes and hand-cut, engraved winding rotor. The hands, filled with Super-LumiNova, are larger and hence more legible than those on previous models.
Like the original ALT1-P, the new models have undergone a process that imparts to their Trip-Tick cases an exceptional hardness of 2,000 Vickers — seven times that of an average stainless-steel watch case. The convex sapphire crystal, also hardened to an extreme degree, boasts nine layers of nonreflective coating applied to both its sides for increased legibility. The dials retain their tricompax layout, with 30-minute chrono counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock, and date at 4:30.
Touching down from our high-flying pilots’ watch tour, Bremont returns to the racetrack to revisit its partnership with British luxury car maker, Jaguar. The new Bremont Jaguar MKII chronograph is a wrist-borne tribute to one of the British marque’s most iconic race cars, the Lightweight E-Type racer, of which only 12 were ever made, which famously took the checkered flag at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1963.
The watch’s black-and-white “panda” dial features new hands and a new tachymeter scale around its rim; the red tips of the hour and minute hands and red stitching on the strap are a nod to the red racing stripes of the E-Type car. A heritage Jaguar logo appears above the 6 o’clock position (where you’ll find the date window) and between the two black subdial counters at 3 and 9 o’clock; the 60-minute counter at 9 o’clock features a red sector inspired by the car’s dashboard tachymeter. Another period detail: the crown’s sides are engraved with a subtle tire-tread pattern echoing the Dunlop tires of the vintage race car.
Inside the 43-mm stainless steel case (made entirely in the UK), is the self-winding movement, Caliber BE-50AE, which Bremont has customized with a rotor in the shape of a steering wheel. The watch is intended to evoke what Bremont calls “the golden era of 1960s sports car motoring.” According to Jaguar Design Director Ian McCallum, “All of the Bremont Jaguar watches subtly relay some of the codes of the E-Type, but are also easy to recognise as having been created with the car in mind. They simply look absolutely right when you wear them in the driving seat — almost as if they had been designed alongside the car back in the ‘60s.”
Next, we and Bremont set sail with two new watches from the brand’s America’s Cup range, the elegant, gold-cased AC35 and the sporty AC-R-II chronograph, the latter equipped with a new regatta countdown function.
The AC35 — the numeral signifies both the 35th America’s Cup and the number of pieces in this very limited edition — measures 43 mm in diameter and features a black opaline dial embossed with imprints from the famous “Auld Mug,” the oldest trophy in international sports, which will be awarded to the 2017 America’s Cup winner this summer in Bermuda. The dial has blued steel hands and a date window at 6 o’clock; the text “America’s Cup, Bermuda” appears directly above the latter. Small seconds are indicated on a subdial at 9 o’clock.
The proprietary movement, Bremont’s Caliber BWC, is on display through a sapphire caseback and dominated by a beautifully finished rose-gold rotor. Boasting a COSC chronometer certification and a 50-plus-hour power reserve, the BWC movement incorporates several components made in the U.K. — further evidence of Bremont’s march toward manufacture status. The watch comes on a brown alligator strap with a gold pin buckle.
The Bremont AC-R-II has a 43-mm Trip-Tick case made of hardened stainless steel that has undergone the same hardening process as the cases of the ALT1-P. Its convex sapphire crystal has been treated on both sides with no less than nine layers of nonreflective coating. The watch has a slightly different dial layout from Bremont’s first regatta timepieces, launched in 2016, with a 15-minute countdown subdial at 12 o’clock now combined with an inner, bidirectional rotating bezel — designed in Bremont’s “Roto-Click” style — for increased functionality.
Inside the 100-meter water-resistant case, and visible through a screw-down exhibition caseback, is Bremont’s chronometer-rated Caliber BE-54AE, with a 42-hour power reserve and a decorated Bremont rotor. The watch is available on a “Temple Island” rubber strap or a steel bracelet.
For our last stop, we go beneath the waves with two new models in Bremont’s Supermarine divers’ watch series, the Type 300 and Type 301, which — like the Airco models — are a response to Bremont customers’ demands for sports watches with slightly smaller case dimensions. “The need for a robust dive watch that is so wearable size-wise was the driving force behind the Type 300’s design and build,” says Nick English, Bremont co-founder. “The new range is so delightful to wear and really beautifully engineered. The ceramic bezel looks terrific; it’s a wonderful addition to the Bremont stable.”
The Bremont Supermarine Type 300, derives its name from the historic “Type 300” prototype Spitfire aircraft developed by the Supermarine aircraft company in the 1930s. Its 40-mm case is scaled down from those of its predecessors, the Supermarine 3500 and S2000, which had 43-mm and 45-mm case diameters, respectively. The Type 300 case is also slimmer, at just 13 mm thick from crystal to caseback. Nevertheless, the new Supermarine case is professional-grade for diving, remaining water-resistant to 300 meters.
Two dial variations are available, black and blue; both versions also feature a laser-engraved ceramic insert for the unidirectional diving bezel in a color matching the dial’s. The case is in stainless steel; like Bremont’s other Trip-Tick cases, it has a scratch-resistant DLC-treated case barrel. The crown screws down securely, and the sapphire crystal is domed. The solid caseback is graced with an engraved illustration of the famous Spitfire plane.
For divers who want both a smaller case and a more vintage look, there is the Type 301, which has Super-LumiNova-filled hour indices instead of Arabic numerals on its matte black dial. Both the Type 300 and the Type 301 are powered by Bremont Caliber BE-92AE, an automatic, chronometer-certified movement with a 38-hour minimum power reserve. All three new Supermarine dive watches are offered on stainless steel bracelets, calf leather straps, or NATO straps with pin buckles.