A Hands-On Look at Bremont’s 2018 Novelties

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“Purpose-built” is a term thrown around without much thought to its true definition, and all fancily worded marketing aside, it doesn’t necessarily apply to the majority of wristwatches with which it’s associated. These days, dive watches that are rated to 300m will probably never see depths even a tenth that deep, and chronographs will rarely be engaged to measure much of anything at all.

Things are a bit different at Bremont. Here is a company that has been outfitting explorers, soldiers, divers, pilots, and true adventurers since 2002, founded by two brothers who are themselves pilots of both contemporary and vintage aircrafts. Worn & Wound stopped by the Bremont Townhouse held in downtown Manhattan to check out some of the new offerings from the brand for 2018.

Supermarine Endurance

Co-developed with Bremont ambassador and polar explorer Ben Saunders, the new Supermarine Endurance ($6,395) accompanied Saunders on his solo west-to-east traverse of Antarctica in November, 2017. Named in homage to Shackleton’s famous vessel and in honor of the route Saunders took on his journey, the Endurance is a limited run of 300 pieces featuring Bremont’s 43mm Trip-Tick three-piece case construction in titanium with an exhibition case back, domed AR-coated sapphire crystal, anti-shock movement mount, rotating compass bezel, Super-LumiNova luminous coating, 500m water resistance, modified caliber BE-93-2AE automatic C.O.S.C.-certified chronometer movement, and a GMT hand to aid in navigation. While not my favorite of the new Bremont offerings given its size, height, and the fact that I simply detest the color orange (sorry, orange), the Endurance seems hefty enough to survive a nuclear strike, which certainly says something about how the brand over-engineers its watches.

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Supermarine S501, S500/BL, S500/BK

Those familiar with Bremont’s core models will be aware of the S500 series of dive watches, first introduced in 2009. New to the series is the S501 ($4,775), with inspiration drawn form the 40mm S301 released in 2017. Features include a 43mm Trip-Tick stainless steel case with an exhibition case back, modified BE-36AE automatic C.O.S.C.-certified chronometer movement with a 38-hour power reserve, domed AR-coated and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, colored applied indices using the company’s P-51 Super Lumi-Nova, a unidirectional ceramic rotating bezel, and 500m of water resistance Personally, while I’m more partial to the 40mm size of the S300 line, those wanting the standard Bremont 43mm case will no doubt enjoy the vintage-inspired aesthetic of the new S501—it’s an extremely wearable and comfortable model, particularly on the available rubber strap, and something I would happily take on a diving excursion.

Two additional variants of the S500 have also been released, the S500/BL and S500/BK (both $4,495), featuring blue and black dials, respectively. The blue dial is particularly striking, having taken its particular hue from the signature color of the Royal Air Force, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

S500/BL
S500/BK

Both blue and black variants feature closed case backs with an engraving of a Supermarine aircraft (the manufacturer beloved by Bremont founders that formed the inspiration for the Supermarine line), helium escape valves, anti-magnetic Faraday cages, and anti-shock movement mounts. The black variant features the date and the blue dial both date and day, a feature some may find superfluous on a dive watch, but in practice this does little to detract from the watch’s good looks and overall aesthetic.

AIRCO MACH 1, 2, and 3

This AIRCO line, first launched in 2017, may constitute the most significant deviation from the typical Bremont design in the form of a 40mm, officer’s-type, time-only watch. Named for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company Limited, one of the first British military aircraft manufacturers, the AIRCO is an exercise in design simplicity, featuring either a satin-finished or polished stainless steel case, a modified BE-92AE automatic C.O.S.C.-certified chronometer movement, 100m of water resistance, and a variety of available dials, including the Mach 1 in black or white (new for 2018), Mach 2 in white with applied indices (also new), and Mach 3 in RAF blue (also new).

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Mach 1
Mach 2
Mach 3

These are gorgeous, unobtrusive watches that can be worn under the cuff of a dress shirt, and though I would’ve preferred the date window on the Mach 2 and 3 to remain at three o’clock rather than move to six o’clock, it’s hard to find much to dislike in these models (they are also some of the least expensive Bremont watches, with list price beginning at $3,895).

ALT1-C

Though the ALT1-C was the first-ever Bremont line and remains a core collection in their lineup, Nick and Giles English felt that the series needed some updating, and the new ALT1-C/BL and ALT1C/WH-BK now feature applied indices, enlarged exhibition case backs, and updated handsets with Super-LumiNova. The new blue-dial variant employs the RAF-blue color featured elsewhere in the collection, while the panda dial version retains its dial colors but receives the aforementioned upgrades (price on both models is $6,495).

U-2/51-JET

An addition to the U-2 range of watches originally developed for an elite reconnaissance flight squadron based out of California, the new U-2/51-JET ($5,395) saw Bremont develop a new type of anodization process that allowed them to manufacture an extremely deep black case with improved durability.

The U-2 range has been tested on missions at over 80,000 ft. in temperatures as low as -50 degrees F, meaning there’s likely nothing one of we mere non-spy plane-flying mortals could possibly do to damage it. Other features include a modified BE-92AE automatic C.O.S.C.-certified chronometer movement, 100m of water resistance, a 43mm Trip-Tick case, and leather and rubber Temple Island straps.

For more information, visit Bremont.

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Oren Hartov is a NYC-based musician and writer whose work has appeared in SHIFTed Magazine, Special Operations Report and K-9 Cop Magazine. He enjoys watches, history, archaeology, militaria, SCUBA, and just about anything that goes “BANG.”
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