Bremont Kicks Off The 2022 Season Of F1 Racing With New WR-22 Chronograph

As you and I would drive, the base of Williams F1 in Grove, Oxfordshire, is about an hour away from their neighbor Bremont’s Henley headquarters. That’s mostly down to the county’s daftly low speed limits, so one imagines racers Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi would get there a little more briskly when they needed to borrow a cup of sugar. The two firms have moved beyond nodding over the fence and putting out each other’s bins as the watchmaker is the F1 team’s Official Timing Partner. To mark another year of the relationship, Bremont has released the WR-22 as part of its Motorsport collection.

It’s quite a beast, the WR-22. The three part case is 43mm and CNC machined in-house by Bremont from stainless steel. The middle section is coated with a scratch-resistant PVD layer with the whole thing coming in at just under 16mm. Bremont’s neat TripTick design, with its heavily curved 22mm lugs, should mean it won’t wear like a dinner plate though. The Bremont-prop crown screws down – as do the pushers – so you can wear your WR-22 without worrying when you hose down your Williams FW44 after wiping the floor with the opposition on the streets of Monaco. In fact, it should be good for 200m water resistance, so you’ll be fine even if you fall overboard from your yacht afterwards.


Looking after timekeeping duties is the Bremont BE-53AE movement, derived from the tried and tested and frankly bulletproof ETA 7753. Bremont use the BE-53AE in several of their chronos, but have chosen a different configuration for this watch over the more familiar subdials at 12, 3 and 6. This time, it’s 3, 6 and 9 – the 30 minute counter at 3, the 12 hour counter at 6 and running seconds at 9. This neatly suits the watch’s F1 link – think back to Heuer’s original racing chronos in the 1960s and ‘70s and you’ll see the same layout. It gives a visual balance to the dial too. 

It’s good to see the caseback being held on in thoroughly Bremont fashion with 5 stainless steel screws. This neat arrangement means the caseback seal doesn’t have to endure any shearing as the back itself is tightened straight down without twisting. 

The 27 jewel movement behind it runs at a standard 4Hz (28,800bph) and is chronometer-rated.  It should stay that way too; the watch will shrug off pretty much any magnetic field you’ll meet in everyday (or even F1) life with its antimag Glucydur balance and Anachron hairspring. Once it’s wound you’ll have a 42 power reserve, not that one imagines you’ll be too keep to take it off once it’s on your wrist. Power comes either from an initial handwinding boost and then from the tungsten rotor you can see through the sapphire display back. Designed to look like a Williams F1 wheel rim and marked with the team’s name, it’s a neat visual touch. While you’re there you can admire the blued movement screws too.

Chronograph functions are taken care of with a cam and lever or ‘coulisse’ (rather than a column wheel) set-up. Snick in the ‘start’ pusher at 2 (you’ll need to unscrew it first, remember) and you set in train a series of tiny levers, cams and spinning, meshing gears that will do everything from timing your breakfast eggs to measuring a lap round Spa. That start pusher moves a lever that, in turn, moves a cam shaped a bit like a heart. This starts, stops and then resets the chronograph. 

There’s as much debate about whether column wheel or coulisse is better as there is about who’s the greatest racer of all time (although we all know the answer is, clearly, Fangio) but, for our money, the latter gives you accuracy, ease of maintenance and stone-solid reliability.

A cracking good movement like the BE-52AE is only as good as the dial it sports, and Bremont have done a fine job here. As usual with the Henley firm, it’s as easy to read in daylight as it will be at night; the hands and indices are blue (a Williams color, fittingly) Super-LumiNova filled. The hands themselves are pointed spades and, like the middle section of the case, PVD coated. The stand-out against the stark white metal dial couldn’t be clearer if it tried. 

There’s some lovely detail with the sub-dials. For a start, Bremont have used circular graining to visually lift them off the white main dial background. The 6 Hour sub-dial edge uses Williams blue, with the same color picked up on the running seconds at 9. By contrast, the central chrono hand stands out in Racing Red. Look closely and you’ll spot the date; it’s stashed in the 6 o’clock sub-dial where you’ll hardly notice it unless you need it. After all, who wants to know what day it is when you’re sideways at 150mph? All this sits under the anti-reflective coated, domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. 

If you love your car, you’ll know the feeling where you always give it one last look as you walk away from it. You’ll find yourself glancing at the WR-22 even when you don’t need to know the time. That’s always a good test.   

The whole thing gets held to your wrist with your choice of a stainless steel bracelet or an alcantara strap. Alcantara gets used to cover racing wheels as well as all sorts of posh car interiors, so it’s a neat option. Bremont bracelets don’t mess about either; solid endlinks and a clasp that could probably double up as a mooring for one of that Monaco yacht we mentioned earlier.  

So should you get yourself a WR-22? That’s always a difficult question to answer objectively, simply because a watch is a heart purchase rather than a logical decision. Let’s face it, if we were logical we wouldn’t be here at all, right?  You’ll have to have a decent bit of cash floating around to snag one – they come in at $10,400 on the steel bracelet and $9,750 on the Alcantara strap. That’s certainly at the upper end of watches using the same base movement. But, as important as a movement is, there’s a lot more to a watch than the engine. What you do get here is Bremont’s superb in-house casemaking and design as well as the Williams F1 link.  We suspect that like a lot of Bremonts, there won’t be too many of these left on the shelf. Bremont.

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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.
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