“Tested Beyond Endurance” is Bremont’s tagline for its watches. As serendipity would have it, “Endurance” is also the name of the ship captained by British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton in his now-legendary expedition to the South Pole in 1914-1917. Hence the name and inspiration of the British watch maison’s newest limited-edition timepiece, which was worn by (and received design input from) polar explorer Ben Saunders in his record-breaking solo east-to-west crossing of Antarctica in November 2017. Here’s what you need to know about the Bremont Endurance watch, which was unveiled for the first time in the U.S. this week at Bremont’s Townhouse event in New York City.
In order to stand up to the harsh climate conditions Saunders encountered in his trek from Berkner Island to the Shackleton Glacier via the South Pole, the watch was equipped with several notable features. The case, measuring 43 mm in diameter, is made from tough-yet-lightweight titanium, with alternating polished and satin-finished elements, and features a bidirectional rotating bezel made of black sapphire and enhanced with a compass scale (with orange markers for the east, west, and south indications and a red triangle for north) for ease of navigation. The dial is also black, with big luminous-coated hands and applied hour indices — all the better, Bremont says, for readability against the stark whiteness of Antarctica’s icy landscape. The compass bezel is used in concert with the dial’s GMT hand (also in orange) for orientation: simply point the GMT hand toward the sun and align the “north” indication on the bezel with the hand.
The Endurance can be regarded as the next generation of another Bremont watch worn by Saunders on an expedition, called the Terra Nova. For this one, Saunders wanted a feature that was absent in the Terra Nova, namely a see-through caseback. This required Bremont to design an entirely new caseback with an extra-thick crystal, since the case needed to be able to withstand pressures of at 500 meters’ worth of water pressure — a hallmark of its base model, the Supermarine — as well as to protect the watch’s inner parts from the harsh environment at the South Pole. The long, black-and-orange NATO strap was also a functional necessity, as Saunders needed top wear the watch outside of his jacket in order to use its functions. To design this ultra-robust case, Bremont’s engineers drew upon expertise they had previously developed in one of the company’s many projects developed for military usage.
The movement, housed inside the three-part “Trip-Tick” case that has become emblematic of the British brand, is the automatic, COSC-chronometer-certified Caliber BE-93-2AE, a modified ETA 2892-A2 with a 28,800-vph frequency, a 42-hour power reserve and a specially modified, skeletonized rotor designed by Bremont. Among the movement’s other notables are 21 jewels, a Glucydur balance, an Anachron balance spring and a Nivaflex mainspring. Each movement is serial numbered, and carries a COSC certification. In addition to the NATO strap, a titanium bracelet is also available for the watch.
The Bremont Supermarine Endurance is limited to 300 pieces and priced at $6,395. Bremont expects the watch to be available at retail in the spring, so buyers may have to wait until next winter to see how it holds up in blizzard conditions.