At 40 mm in steel, and using Bremont’s signature “Trip-Tick” triple-layer case design, the watch is relatively thin, at 13 mm in height, and uses a DLC coating for the case barrel, or middle layer of the case. On its side is a more traditional gold-accented crown, noticeably absent of the unique crown guards and 2 o’clock positioning seen on some of the brand’s previous dive watches like the S500 and S2000. On top of the case is the laser engraved, ceramic unidirectional bezel that uses faux patina and white accents to complement the dial framed within.
On its vintage-heavy, matte black dial, you’ll notice a gilt outer minute track; rectangular and circular hour markers, with a triangle at 12 o’clock, also with a slight faux patina; and a subtle date window at the 3 o’clock position. Its hour and minute hands are in a vintage syringe-style more common on historical pilot’s watches, but the prominent red lollipop seconds hand and “Supermarine” print towards the bottom of the dial recalls early-1950s and late-‘60s Submariners. Beneath the dial is a modified automatic ETA 2892, renamed the Bremont caliber BE-92AE, capable of a 38-hour power reserve; the movement is hidden on its other side by a solid caseback with a white Spitfire fighter outline. The London-based brand is currently offering the S301 starting for $4,095 at boutiques worldwide.
At first glance, you would be forgiven if you mistook the S301 for the critically-acclaimed Tudor Black Bay (picture above). With its gilt and faux-patina accents, thick bezel, large crown, and dial configuration, the S301 draws on much of the same era and many similar watches as the Black Bay for its various influences. Most prominently, you’ll see design influences from the late 1960s Rolex Submariner 1680, also known as the “Red Sub” (picture below, via FratelloWatches) for its red “Submariner” script toward the bottom of the dial, along with various 1950s Tudor and Rolex “Big Crown” models with their prominent unguarded crowns and gilt dials. In general, early Submariners shared a lot of traits — such as the distinctive hour markers, matte black dials, thick bezels, and smaller case diameter hovering around 40 mm—all of which are features seen in the S301.
Yet, for all the vintage-influenced elements, Bremont’s watch is distinctly modern and its own. With its triple-layer case construction and use of DLC coating, along with the lifted and sculpted lugs as part of the first layer, this watch’s case is not in the dense Oyster style. Its crown, while clearly recalling a “Big Crown” style, is still not nearly as prominent on the S301 as on the historical pieces, and differentiates itself by applying a gold accent and printed logo on its periphery. Additionally, on the dial, while the hour markers are very similar to those previously referecned, the S301 has shrunk the general proportion of these marks, and changed the 12 o’clock from a simple triangle into a more “arrowhead” shape. The hands are the aviation-inspired syringe style, as compared to the famous Mercedes and Snowflake styles seen on early Subs.
Taken together, the mixture of new and old design features on this watch culminate into a unique-looking piece that could draw the interest of vintage-watch and modern-watch aficionados alike. As far as being used as an actual diving watch, while it has a 300-meter depth rating, it does seem odd Bremont would forgo crown guards in favor of the more prominent stand-alone crown. However, this choice does further connect it with the style of the Tudor Black Bay and the early history of diving watches, and so may further indicate an intention by the brand to position the S301 as a direct competitor to Tudor’s models.
The S301 was released alongside two other references (pictures above and below), both named the S300 and drawing on much of the same historical influences, each distinguished only in colors, accents, and their quarter-hour dial configurations. The release of the Type 300/1 series was prompted by what the brand has seen as a demand for smaller professional dive watches, one which has grown alongside — and likely, due to — the trend of vintage-influenced watches. This series is one of Bremont’s first more explicit steps into this trend, and if it goes well could draw the brand further into exploring more influences outside its British aviation roots.
For the most recent article in the “Vintage Eye” series, in which we compare the Omega Seamaster 300 60th Anniversary Edition to its historical predecessor, click here.
Caleb Anderson is a freelance writer with a primary focus on vintage watches. Since first learning about horology, he has garnered extensive knowledge in the field, and spends much of his time sharing his opinions among other writers, collectors, and dealers. Currently located near New York City, he is a persistent student in all things historical, a writer on many topics, and a casual runner.
A few points on the latest execution of the latest Supermarine, the Case size enables the Brand to transcend Gender, and allow Women to wear a slightly more bold design size, while maximizing the Case Size utility throughout the Brand. If copying is the most sincere form of flattery, then emulating the Design Arrow at the 12 O’clock position of the early Submariner and Tudor Black Bay, is alright, but hardly distinctive. To it’s credit, the Brand continues the Logo’d Propeller Blades on the Crown Cap, I would however like to see, the Gold Bi-Color on said Crown be 18K, which would allow the Brand to add value and be more competitive to other strategic upmarket Brands. The Case size probably eliminates a Key selling Feature the S500/2000 had in the Faraday Cage, which had the Brand push too close to IWC’s Aquatimer in it’s initial release Price-point, compromising unit sales. To the Caseback, the Aircraft depicted remains the Supermarine S6B, Schneider Trophy Winner of the mid-’30’s and progenitor of the Supermarine Spitfire of WWII. Overall, the Price-point still challenges the marketplace, in a softened IWC Aquatimer market at $5,400.00, and a still un-defined ‘entry’ Tudor Black Bay at $2,500.00, the result of a poor re-launch strategy implementation.
Shame on Bremont for their lack of imagination and creativity,, copying others and attempting to charge the same price as the original for a copy with date.. One will be better of buying the real thing ie:- a Black Bay, preferrably with steel bracelet. It is a much wiser choice.
I feel the same Sylvio.
Bremont is at too high a profile to so blatantly copy another brand.