Bremont History: Luxury Mechanical Watches With An Adventurous Streak

Bremont History: Luxury Mechanical Watches With An Adventurous Streak 2018-03-07T21:11:07+00:00
Bremont RAF Jaguar MBIII Watch

Image: Bremont

Bremont is a British newcomer to the luxury watch scene, founded by aviator brothers Nick and Giles English in 2002.

Due to their aviation background, they focus on meticulously crafted, exceptionally durable chronometers fit for military aviation. Therefore, many of the company’s watch series are only available to select groups of pilots, for example, from specific squadrons.

Bremont watches seek to suit the discriminating tastes and lifestyles of daring individuals: pilots, sailors, and explorers.

This article covers the young manufacture’s brief yet meteoric rise to popularity. Click the links below to jump ahead, or keep reading:

Bremont’s Origins And Foundation

Nick and Giles English, lifelong flight enthusiasts, began their foray into watches after a tragic and fateful flight in 1995. Their father, Royal Air Force veteran Euan English, had a terrible crash while flying with Nick at an air show. Euan enjoyed fixing and tinkering with all things intricate and mechanical, especially timepieces.

Hence, to honor their father’s memory, the brothers quit their jobs to begin learning the art and business of watchmaking. However, they were unsure of what to name their company; they suspected using their own name, English, might sound corny. This was resolved by a flight over France undertaken by the brothers, which was interrupted by an unexpected storm. As a result, they had to make an emergency landing on a nearby farm.

The farmer sheltered Nick, Giles, and their plane; by great coincidence, this farmer was a watch enthusiast and veteran pilot. Hence, the brothers named their company in tribute to this kind man, Antoine Bremont.

Rugged Refinement With British Military Tech

Bremont Watch Prototype Frozen During Testing

Bremont watch frozen in lab test

From the start, the English brothers sought to make sure their watches would prove worthy of the family’s RAF heritage.

Therefore, they saw the need to make their watches able to withstand the rigors of military airflight. So, they worked with companies like Martin-Baker, the Middlesex-based manufacturer of aircraft ejection seats.

Martin-Baker’s test labs subject Bremont’s watch prototypes to extremes of vibration, altitude, and climate, preparing for the worst. So, the watches endure military jet seat ejections, freezing, free-falling, and even simulated aircraft crashes, as shown in this video:

While this may be the most spectacular collaboration, other British aircraft component manufacturers have a hand in developing these watches. For example, a factory in Cambridge which produces turbine engines for Rolls-Royce finishes many of the watch cases.

What Are The Bremont MBI and MBII?

Bremont MBI WatchWhile working with Martin-Baker, Bremont developed a watch collection with a specific type of user in mind: Martin-Baker seat ejectees. Only pilots who have ejected from Martin-Baker seats are able to buy the MBI, the first in this series.

Hence, few MBI watches exist, due to their bespoke nature. Each watch is personalized: pilots ordering an MBI get their callsign or date of ejection engraved on the watch’s caseback.

Bremont later released a companion model, the MBII, which is available to all buyers. The MBII is very similar to the MBI, and has since become perhaps their most iconic watch.

Although not available with the MBI’s signature red barrel, the MBII comes in orange, green, and anthracite.

Bremont MBII Watch In Brown And Orange

Bremont MBII watch, midsection and pushers visible

Custom-Built For High-Flyers

As a company run by aviators, Bremont often consults with pilots of specific aircraft and with individual squadrons. They create watches based on their popular collections with added details relevant to the history of the aircrew.

Bremont Solo Watch London Air Ambulance

London Air Ambulance watch

Most of these crews are military but not all. For example, Bremont made a watch for London’s Air Ambulance. This watch is based on the Bremont Solo with a custom rotor and dial.

On the dial, the numbers “2” and “7” are in red, referring to Helimed 27, London Air Ambulance’s main callsign. This particular model is only available to the aircrews and employees of London Air Ambulance.

In some cases, the crews receive bespoke versions of a watch that Bremont then releases to the public. This is typically done when there is a lot of public interest in such a model.

The watches for the crews of the U2, the B-2 Spirit, and the C17 Globemaster, for example, are openly available.

The ALT1-WT: A Perfect Watch For Any Destination

Bremont ALT1-WT Watch FaceCommissioned in 2010, the ALT1-WT World Timer was developed specifically for the needs of C-17 Globemaster transport jet crews.

Primarily used by the United States Airforce, C-17 Globemaster planes deliver cargo to destinations across the world, across many different timezones.

Consequently, C-17 aircrews sought a watch to easily keep track of any timezone in which they might land.

The result of this collaboration was the ALT1-WT, which makes adjusting to local time zones easy. Like the other models of the ALT1, the watch features a 24-hour hand which displays UTC time by default.

In addition, the ALT1-WT has an easily adjustable “Roto-Click” inner bezel with all of the world’s timezones inscribed on it. Due to this, all it takes is a turn of the bezel to adjust the 24-hour hand to local time.

What Makes Bremont Watches Sturdy?

Bremont ALT1-WT Watch Caseback Crystal

ALT1-WT caseback with window.

Bremont creates such durable watches by using very tough materials and keeping extreme airflight conditions in mind. They machine the cases in three separate pieces, making a larger range of shapes possible.

This process, known as “Trip-Tick,” also allows them to make the bezel, midsection, and caseback out of different materials. An electron bombardment process hardens the steel case components, resulting in an exceptionally durable, scratch-resistant finish.

Bremont uses titanium or for most of their watch midsections as well as hardened steel coated with diamond-like carbon for black watches.

Convex sapphire crystals, ubiquitous in the company’s watches, resist scratches while their anti-reflective coating maximizes visibility. On many models, the movement is visible through a sapphire window in the caseback, as seen on the ALT1-WT. This allows Bremont owners to easily admire the skilful engineering of each watch’s inner components.

Bremont MBII Watch Case Inner Case Visible

The black rubberized mount is visible on this MBII

Glucydur, an antimagnetic alloy, gives the watch high resistance to thermal deformation and expansion. Because of this, the watch movements easily endure extremes of temperature and pressure and stay on time.

A special shock-absorbing rubberized mount protects the inner parts from heavy impacts, “floating” components inside the case to soften vibrations.

Finally, a Faraday cage surrounds the inner case, nullifying the effects of magnetic interference on sensitive watch mechanisms. All of this adds up to a watch that commands respect, whether on the ground or soaring in the sky.

Diving Deep With The Supermarine

Bremont Supermarine S500 Watch Crown Protector VisibleWith the Supermarine line, Bremont extends their expertise to the diving world. Of course, aircraft are still part of this watch’s story. Bremont named this line “Supermarine” because they wanted to pay homage to the makers of the legendary Supermarine Spitfire.

The first of these watches was the Supermarine 500, which brings the usual sturdy-yet-sleek Bremont design to the deep sea. Depth of water resistance determines each model’s name, hence, the S500 is submersible to 500 meters.

Bremont’s engineers designed this watch with an extra metal bumper to protect its crown from accidental bumps and impacts.

Several years later, a new Supermarine watch was released: the Supermarine S2000. The S2000 can withstand a depth of 2000 meters, because of its bigger, sturdier case.

The anti-shock inner housing built to withstand aircraft crashes serves here to cushion the movement against immense deep-sea pressures. Also, since no mechanical watch is totally helium-proof at these depths, both the S2000 and S500 have a helium-release valve.

Bremont Supermarine S2000 Watch

Bremont S2000 dive watch

To put the 2000-meter capability in perspective, the scuba deep-diving record was 332.35 meters when the S2000 was released. Probably, very few will need that level of depth resistance, but Bremont builds above and beyond for explorers and trailblazers. The S2000 looks quite similar to the S500, but features a larger face.

The Bremont S300 Honors Naval History

Bremont S500 Watch On Timmy Gambin

Dr. Timmy Gambin, wearing S500 watch

After the S2000, Bremont released the third in the series, the S300. This model features a smaller, slimmer case than its predecessors, with a diameter of 40mm and thickness of 13mm.

Also, the crown protector present on the S500 and S2000 is absent on this model for a less bulky look.

In 2017, Bremont worked with marine archaeologist, Dr. Timmy Gambin, to create a commemorative HMS Olympus S300. This coincided with Dr. Gambin’s project to install a memorial plaque next to the submarine, sunk in 1942.

Dr. Gambin’s teams use Bremont watches on their dives, which consist of analyzing wrecks ranging in era from WWII to the ancient Phoenicians. Not all of these are naval vessels. In fact, many of these are crashed aircraft shot down in WWII.

On their expeditions, these archaeological teams use both the S500 and the S300. They rely on these tough, accurate watches to help them keep coordinated underwater.

Bremont S300 HMS Olympus Watch

Bremont’s commemorative HMS Olympus Supermarine S300.

Bremont Sets Up Shop In Henley-On-Thames

At the start, Bremont assembled all of its watches in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland, using both British and Swiss-manufactured parts. In 2013, however, they began moving their assembly operations to their new workshop in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Some parts are also manufactured there, as shown in the video below:

Because of this, Bremont’s watches now proudly sport “London” on their dials to emphasize their connection to English watchmaking heritage. Though they operate in Oxfordshire, Bremont uses “London” for its instantly-recognizable connection with British industry and innovation.

Bremont ALT1-ZT Watch With London Dial

“London” dial visible on a newer Bremont ALT1-ZT.

Luxury Metals Meet Ingenious Bremont Construction

Since moving their workshop to Oxfordshire, Bremont has released some watch models in luxury metals. Notable among these is the Kingsman Rose Gold, a design based off of the ALT1-WT World Timer.

The Kingsman RG sports an 18-carat rose gold case, and a barrel coated in diamond-like carbon. This affords some of the typical Bremont toughness to the watch without distracting from the rose gold bezel and lugs.

This watch and other models were featured prominently in the film, which spotlights British brands with impeccable style. Bremont cofounder, Nick English, makes a cameo in the movie as a “Kingsman” agent.

The Kingsman BKM-RG is no longer available as it was only made in a limited edition of 100. Though their watches are mainly titanium and steel, Bremont has since released 7 other lines of rose gold watches (At time of writing – March 7th 2018).

Bremont Watches Cofounder Nick English And Watches

Bremont Kingsman limited editions; Bremont cofounder Nick English on the film’s set.

Where Do I Learn More About Bremont?

As Bremont is a new company, their history is still very much in the making. Newly-released models can be seen on their website. Also, their blog frequently updates on the adventures of their users.

Bremont also hosts ALT1TUDE, a community forum for discussion about their watches.

Find more of our watch histories, watch reviews, and in-depth information on buying and wearing watches on our main watch homepage.

Bremont MBII-WH/OR
Reviewed by Paul Anthony, on .
"Bremont is a classic in the making. Their approach to designing, testing, and constructing watches is uncompromising. This newcomer from the UK is truly a brand to look out for."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★