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Today, we’re taking a closer look at some of the sought-after models from everybody’s favourite British watch manufacturer: Bremont. Founded by two brothers, Nick and Giles English, themselves passionate aviators and watch lovers, the company operates from state-of-the-art facilities at Henley-on-Thames. There, each watch is designed, manufactured, assembled and tested, as Bremont pursues its singular mission of putting English watchmaking firmly back on the map, inspiring many other local makers along the way.
The Bremont Story
If you had the opportunity to visit the special Bremont Exhibition at our Winsor Bishop Cambridge boutique this past weekend, you will already be familiar with this award-winning British company, renowned for its beautifully engineered chronometers. If not, allow us to give you a brief recap of its (relatively) short yet fascinating history.
Officially, the Bremont story starts in 2002, with the establishment of the brand. It was a tragic event that occurred several years earlier, however, that actually set the wheels in motion. Founders and brothers, Nick and Giles English, along with their father, Euan English, were all accomplished pilots who enjoyed flying vintage aircraft. In March 1995, Nick was practicing for an air display with his father when the 1942 WWII Harvard aircraft they were flying was involved in an accident. Sadly, Euan English would not survive, while his son, Nick, had broken over 30 bones and was not expected to pull through either.
Miraculously, Nick did somehow survive and recover, and six months later he was back in air again, being flown by his brother Giles. From that point onwards, however, something had forever changed for the two men. They had always shared an interest in all things mechanical, inspired by their late father, an ex-RAF pilot with a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering, but they had always thought of this passion as just a hobby. Now, they realised however, that life was too short to waste. The two brothers decided to pursue what they enjoyed most: a life crafting beautifully engineered mechanical devices.
The result of this life-changing decision is some truly exceptional examples of British watchmaking, all of which have been tested beyond the normal call of duty and several of which we are pleased to share with you here today.
The Bremont SOLO
First on our list is the time-and-date only Bremont SOLO, a simple yet robust timepiece that offers everything you need and nothing you don’t. Designed as a classic pilot watch, the SOLO is a great option for those who are new to the world of Bremont automatic chronometers. Presented in a 43mm round case made from hardened stainless steel using Bremont’s patented Trip-Tick® construction complete with scratch resistant DLC treated case barrel, the SOLO makes its presence felt on the wrist. The metal dial features applied indexes and nickel coated hands, all with Super-LumiNova® coating for easy reading in the dark.
Inside is the modified calibre 11 ½''' BE-36AE automatic chronometer, complete with 25 jewels, Glucydur balance, Anachron balance spring and a Nivaflex 1 mainspring. Certified by the COSC, this automatic mechanical movement oscillates at 28,800bph and offers a max 38-hour power reserve when fully wound. Visible through the crystal caseback is the Bremont moulded and skeletonised decorated rotor. Presented on your choice of a leather strap or a matching metal bracelet, the Bremont SOLO is available in several different dial colours.
The Bremont U-2 was designed exclusively for, and tested extensively by, the elite Spy Plane Squadron based at Beale, California. These incredible pilots regularly take their iconic aircraft up to 80,000 feet on reconnaissance missions that often last over 12 hours. The retail models are no less impressive and have all been put through their paces at 100,000 feet and -50oC in the laboratory and out on missions. The watch also features Bremont’s famed Anti-shock rubberised movement mount, developed as part of the company’s exclusive work with the Martin Baker ejection seat program (more on that later).
Housed in a hardened stainless steel round case measuring 43mm and using the brand’s Trip-Tick® case construction, the U-2 also features Bremont’s patented inner bi-directional Roto-Click® bezel, which is operated by the second crown at 4 o’clock. The metal dial displays Super-LumiNova® coated numerals and hands for easy reading in any light conditions, along with the day and date display at 3 o’clock. Inside is the same BE-36AE automatic chronometer movement as the SOLO above.
The ALT1-C is the quintessential chronograph from Bremont with a classic twin-register display. Available in several dial colours, including the popular Panda and Reverse Panda configurations, this is the watch for the gentleman sportsman or motor racing enthusiast. The hardened stainless steel 43mm case boasts the same Trip-Tick® case construction as the previous models discussed, as well as a scratch resistant DLC treated case barrel. The attractive dial displays the time centrally, along with the chronograph seconds hand, which features a red, lollipop-style tip. The sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock display elapsed minutes and running seconds respectively, with a date window at 6 o’clock completing the layout.
Providing the power is a modified, chronometer-rated Valjoux 7750-SO BI AC movement. Recognised as one of the most reliable and robust chronograph movements on the market, this automatic movement features 28 jewels, a Glucydur balance, an Anachron balance spring and Nivaflex 1 mainspring. Certified as a chronometer by the COSC, it oscillates at 28,800bph and offers a max power reserve of 42 hours.
If you didn’t know already, Martin-Baker (MB) is the British aviation company responsible for supplying 70% of the world’s Air Forces with fighter ejection seat technology. In 2007, MB approached Bremont to create the definitive aviation watch, capable of withstanding the same rigorous testing programme as the ejection seats themselves. Two years later, the Bremont MBI was born. The limited edition MBI remains solely for pilots who have ejected from an aircraft using a Martin-Baker seat whereas the MBII and MBIII are available to all.
The Bremont MBIII is perhaps the ultimate pilots watch, tested well beyond anything everyday wear could possibly throw at it, including shock, vibration, temperature extremes, and salt-fog tests. This latest addition to the MB collection sees the introduction of a new GMT movement, able to simultaneously keep the time in two time zones. The BE-93-2AE automatic chronometer offers 42 hours of max power reserve and is housed within an inner soft iron anti-magnetic Faraday cage to protect against any magnetic interference. Bremont’s patented anti-shock movement mount also provides added security against shocks and bumps to the 43mm hardened steel case, which features a case barrel in a range of different colours. Lastly, the patented inner bi-directional Roto-Click® bezel, which is operated by the second crown at 4 o’clock allows you to adjust the second time-zone.
Bremont MBIII – enquire.
Whichever model you ultimately choose from Bremont (and there’s no need to stop at just one), you can rest assured that you will be getting an exceptional, British-made product that has been tested to the highest standards. All backed up by a three-year warranty. To learn even more about Bremont and see the watches for yourself in person, please visit either of our Winsor Bishop boutiques in Norwich or Cambridge, where our experienced staff will be pleased to show you the full ranges available.