For some time, Bremont’s watches have been primarily fitted into 43mm cases. They are cool cases with their signature Trip-Tick design, but the single size left something to be desired for those of us who prefer something smaller. In all fairness, Bremont also have one in 45mm, a handful in 37mm and in 32mm (these are geared more towards women), but the majority of their watches are 43mm. So 40mm is a breath of fresh air. It’s a good size for a modern sports watch that should fit smaller wrists as well as satisfy those who simply prefer a smaller watch.
But before getting to it, it’s worth noting that while this is a smart development for the brand, it’s actually a return to form. Bremont used to make 39mm watches via the BC-F1 and BC-S1 lines. Discontinued some years back (but not that many as the brand isn’t very old), these short lived lines had cool WWII-era instrument inspired designs with an interesting, if not likely divisive, day/date window at six. The 39mm cases had 20mm lugs, Bremont’s Trip-Tick design and likely wore really damn well. As to why they were cut? Perhaps they were unpopular, or perhaps it was just too soon for a 39mm case as the Panerai-craze was still in full force. Or perhaps they just wanted to focus on different things; only Bremont knows.
Fast-forward to 2017, Bremont brings out a few 40mm cases and it’s news again. It’s one tolerable millimeter larger than 39mm and it’s now available in both diver and non-bezel varieties.
Starting with the former, Bremont introduced the new size into their Supermarine line of divers. My personal favorite line of their watches, the Supermarines had an aesthetic that mixed the brand’s pilot heritage with clear dive influence in a package that just looked and felt very luxe.
The new 40mm models, the S301, S300/BL and S300/BK, go a very different direction. Rather than the established aesthetic, they are decidedly vintage diver inspired, especially the 301 and 300/bk. The 300’s dial has something between Bremont’s U2 line and an Explorer-dial sub, while the 301 is straight-up classic diver with its circles and lines. They both have a faux-aged feel, too, with the 301 sporting yellowed lume while the 300/BK has some warm gilt-tones and red-line accents. And both have matte ceramic bezels. They’re stylish and fun, but are they Bremont?
There really isn’t anything distinctly Bremont or British about them. They’re not bad looking, not at all, but they are derivative. I’m fine with brands pushing beyond their boundaries–heck, I think more should do it. But to just end up with something so familiar doesn’t make sense. These new Supermarines also lack that X-factor that gave the originals a very luxurious look and feel. Something that riffed on those watches in this smaller package would have killed.
As is, they’re fun, but they don’t wow me, especially at the price. These watches are over $4,000. When a watch like this comes out and costs around $500, it gets you a touch of that coveted vintage style and aesthetic in a package you can wear freely, but no one is really going to exalt the brand for the design. When a watch costs $4,000 and up, to be perfectly blunt, it just isn’t enough. It also doesn’t really make sense given the success of Tudor, which owns that style more in watches that cost less.
But, aesthetics aside, the new case is a winner. It sits very nicely on the wrist and has a palatable height that is tempered even more by the Trip-Tick design, which bring the lugs down along the wrist. The bezel then looks great at 40mm while still giving the dial ample room. It was one of those watches that just immediately fit and felt comfortable.
Moving on, the 40mm case was also used to introduce their new AIRCO line. Consisting of two models, the Mach 1 and Mach 2, these watches are inspired by British airplane instrumentation and named after one of the first British military aircraft manufacturers. If the Supermarines felt out of character, these are right back in Bremont’s wheelhouse.
The Mach 1 in particular just screams Smiths and has that Bremont feeling; a Britishness, if you will. It’s simple, clean and balanced with just enough detail to make it interesting and undeniably likeable. And on the wrist, it also just clicked.
The Mach 2 then is a sort of dressed up version that actually feels almost like a mix between the Mach 1 and an ALT1-C polished. It has a grey dial with polished applied markers in a baroque typeface and thin leaf hands, with the latter two details coming from the ALT1-C. The chapter ring also bears more resemblance to the ALT1-C than the Mach 1, so perhaps one way to think of it is as a three-hand version of the ALT1-C in a smaller case. Either way, it looks pretty good, combining dress elements with a rugged–but still moderately sized–case. The Mach 1 and 2 also have a starting price of $3,895, making them a new entry point for Bremont. Not cheap, but nice to see the brand coming down a bit, too.
Overall, I’d say the case size is certainly a success. I look forward to seeing them integrate it more into their collection, and hopefully they’ll bring out a 40mm chronograph sometime soon, or perhaps something from the MB line, too.
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