Explore the South Pole, Get a Watch: The Bremont White Desert

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Bremont has a history of releasing watches that can only be purchased by specific and small groups of qualified applicants. This isn’t completely unusual in watchmaking, where exclusivity is often as highly prized as mechanical ingenuity and great design. Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin have watches in their catalogs that require applications (in the case of Patek) or special units within the manufacture that cater to bespoke, one off requests (Vacheron’s Les Cabinotiers division). Bremont’s approach is, well, a little bit different. To acquire one of their Martin-Baker limited editions, you have to have been ejected from a plane using a Martin-Baker ejection seat. And if you’re interested in buying their newest watch, the White Desert chronograph-GMT, you’ll need to have spent some time at the South Pole, and have explored the barren ice-scape on a White Desert expedition.


Bremont White Desert

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: White
  • Dimensions: 43 x 16mm  
  • Crystal: Sapphire     
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters 
  • Crown: Screw down            
  • Movement: Modified calibre 131⁄4’” BE-54AE 
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather 
  • Price & Availability: Available to White Desert clients only 

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So, what is White Desert? It’s the brainchild of polar explorer Patrick Woodhead, who came up with the idea for what is essentially an adventure vacation destination to the interior of Antarctica. While plenty of tourists take vacation cruises that bring them to the perimeter of the continent, very few non-professionals ever get to see Antarctica’s vast interior. White Desert offers a way for the well-heeled among us to get to this most far flung corner of the world in a way that’s safe and comfortable. Bremont’s White Desert watch was conceived as a kind of memento of the experience, only available to those who have participated.  

In the least surprising watch news of the year, the White Desert watch from Bremont is dominated by a crisp white dial. (Did you expect it to be green?) The dial is completely bespoke and features a silhouette map of the South Pole etched into the background. 

The feature set is based on the Bremont ALT1-WT World Timer, and features little nods to the conditions White Desert participants find at the South Pole. Because of the unusual way we experience time at the South Pole (multiple time zones can be traversed by taking a few steps) a GMT with world time functionality makes sense. Fittingly, a “South Pole” designation has been added to the cities ring on the internal bezel. In addition to the White Desert’s GMT functionality, it’s also a 12 hour chronograph with a date at 3:00. The backside of the watch reveals further customization, with a winding rotor in the shape of the South Pole landmark symbol.

This is a large sports watch, coming in at 43mm in diameter and 16mm thick. That size, particularly with a white dial that’s giving you tons of information, is going to have a lot of wrist presence. Bremont offers the White Desert in two versions: one brushed stainless steel, the other highly polished. Both have been given Bremont’s hardening treatment and make use of their Trip-Tick construction. 

While the technical features of the White Desert won’t necessarily be more helpful to polar explorers in a real world situation than a run of the mill G-Shock or similarly specced GMT from any number of brands, there’s something fun and whimsical about this watch that I imagine would be an appealing souvenir for someone who took part in a White Desert experience. It certainly beats a t-shirt. Bremont

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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