Bremont Continues The Move In-House (Kinda) With New Longitude LE Collection

Share this story:

Yesterday, in Henley, UK-based Bremont launched their latest limited edition. In the past we’ve had watches with copper from HMS Victory, alloy from a Spitfire, a P-51 Mustang and even wood from theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking’s desk. It’s always interesting to speculate on what the next limited edition Bremont might contain. Well, this time it’s a bit of old brass from East London.

OK, this isn’t just any old bit of brass – we’re being flippant – it’s metal from the Flamsteed Meridian Line (more of that later) from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. But alongside the contents of the LE there are really three-stories-in-one here; Bremont’s new watch, the movement inside it and how it came to be. Let’s start with the watch.

Advertisement

The new Longitude LE comes in three flavours; white gold, yellow gold and stainless steel. Bremont plans to sell just 75 each of the gold-cased models with 150 in steel. Given the rapidity at which Bremont LEs usually fly out of the door, best get your orders in now if you like the look of them.

The Longitude is a classical three hander with running seconds on a subdial at 9, a two-part date at 3 and a power reserve (which Bremont are calling ‘Charge’) just above 6. The case is around 41mm diameter, c.14mm deep and features – rather fittingly – an antique, pocket watch-style crown. You get a full display caseback (all the better to appreciate the movement) which is held with four screws rather than the whole thing being screwed into the body. It’s good for 10ATM (100m) of water-resistance so you’ll have no worries whatsoever about getting it wet.

Through that caseback you get a fine view of the movement as well as the ring of brass around the inner edge marked “51.48° | 00.00°” – the location of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. This also carries the unique series number of your watch. That’s a proper bit of history, right there; it’s brass taken from one of the earliest Greenwich meridian lines, christened in the 1970s ‘Flamsteed’s Meridian.’ John Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal.

Meridian lines are the imaginary lines that run north/south across the globe acting as references from which navigators measure longitude. Latitude was easy enough to pin down with celestial observations, but knowing their precise longitude taxed navigators and watchmakers for years until John Harrison developed the first marine chronometer.

The three watches’ dials all have a representation of these lines of longitude with the Greenwich meridian picked out as a red vertical line running from 12 on the dial down to 6. This, appropriately, is just above their ‘London’ designation. You’ll also see the applied hour markers with, unusually for Bremont, a Roman XII at midday/midnight. 

The dial you get depends on the case metal you choose, with a clean, all-white face with white gold, a dark tobacco for yellow gold and a graphite face with a white rehaut for the stainless-cased watches. It would have been good to see a choice of dial independent of case material, although that would have been a significant production headache. For our money, the white gold/white dial combination is the clearest, most elegant and fits the watch best. Expensive tastes around here, clearly.

The date display is worth a mention on the Longitude. Most dates run on a single date wheel. Not the Longitude. It uses two wheels; one for tens and another for the units. The two wheels combine rather neatly; the smaller of the two (the tens) is printed 0-1-2-3-0-1-2-3 with 1-31 on the larger wheel that runs around the edge of the dial. Despite this, it’s still a quick-set date. 

Advertisement

The Henley firm are also parking their tanks on the immaculately manicured lawns of the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) at Avenue Léopold-Robert in La Chaux-de-Fonds. OK, to be fair, it’s more of a strip of grass with some bushes, but there’s still room for a small tank. This is because Bremont are introducing their own H1 Timing Standard designed to measure the accuracy of their watches, just like the ISO 3159:2009 Chronometer test. It’s a fitting name too – Harrison’s H1 chronometer was the sea clock that started solving the maritime longitude problem through serious accuracy on its first voyage in 1736.

Which brings us nicely to the movement powering the Longitude. 

Bremont has partnered with THE+ – a Swiss movement designer and maker who, just over ten years ago, launched a full-frontal assault on a very large gap in the market indeed; this is the one where people want something more interesting than a stock ETA/Sellita but don’t want the second mortgage price that comes with a full-blown in-house movement. The tiny company set out to do what very few people have managed – to build their own movement from scratch and in serious numbers.  In fact, they developed and made a modular movement system with eighteen possible variations – the K1.  

The modified K1 – the ENG376 is Bremont’s designation – is a 22 jewel, bidirectional automatic beating at an unusual 25,200bph (3.5 Hz).  That’s the same as the original Omega co-axial, the cal. 2500; don’t say we don’t give you useful pub watch trivia facts around here. It’s just 4.95mm deep with a diameter of 25.6mm and runs a stonking 65-hour power reserve and has a silicon escapement as well as a custom balance bridge. Bremont says “…the firm’s in-house technical team has re-engineered 80% of the base calibre, including making a number of design improvements, in order to build a proprietary movement to the brand’s unique specification.”

A couple of the most obvious improvements are a free-sprung balance and a full balance bridge (more stable than a standard balance cock) and “revisions to the escapement, the automatic winding bridge jewels and a modified wheel bridge amongst others.”

Bremont will be manufacturing and sub-assembling the main-plates, automatic and balance bridges at their Manufacturing & Technology Centre as well as fully assembling and regulating the movements and watches themselves. 

Bremont LEs have a habit of selling like the proverbial, but even without brass from an early Greenwich meridian in the case this would be an interesting watch in its own right. But it also has a new movement, a new chronometer certification and is the starting point of Bremont’s ambitions to produce watches, at volume, in the UK. So should you buy one? A better question is probably ‘will there be any left?’ The Longitude Limited Edition watches are priced from $16,995 in steel; $23,995 in rose gold; and $24,995 in white gold. Bremont

Mark developed a passion for watches at a young age. At 9, he was gifted an Omega Time Computer manual from a local watch maker and he finagled Rolex brochures from a local dealer. Today, residing in the Oxfordshire village of Bampton, Mark brings his technical expertise and robust watch knowledge to worn&wound.
markchristie mark_mcarthur_christie
Categories:
Tags:
Article / News & Releases

Introducing The Bremont Broadsword Bronze Collection

By
If you check the wrists of most serving personnel today, …
Article / News & Releases

Introducing the Le Jour Heritage Collection

By
When we last left Le Jour, the newly reincorporated brand …