If you check the wrists of most serving personnel today, you’ll usually find one of two watches. Both are almost ubiquitous, whether you’re navy, army or airforce. They’re the Casio F-91W or some sort of G-Shock. They’re designed to survive pretty much anything chucked at them on active service. But even their biggest fans would have to admit, although they’re nailed-on classics, they do lack a certain elegance. So if you fancy something with distinct milwatch influences but don’t want the wrist-puck experience of a G, how about a Bremont Broadsword Bronze?
There’s an undoubted appeal that comes from the implied ruggedness, single-minded purpose and clear design of something intended to tell the time in the field. It’s easy to see why – if a watch is good enough for the military and to survive being shot at, dunked, bashed and beasted, it must easily be good enough to manage nipping in for a latte on the way to the office. And there are plenty of classic military watch designs from the past to draw on – the IWC Mk series, anything that sprang from the The RLM (Reichs-Luftfahrtministerium) criteria for aviation watches or the UK Ministry of Defence’s specification for military timepieces.
This last one is what Bremont have called on for their new Broadsword Bronze’s design. Back in early 2019, Bremont launched the original Broadsword. A military-style watch for us civvies, it had a clear, easy to read face, a solid 40mm stainless steel case, water resistant to 100m and was intended, like all Bremonts, to take a kicking and still stroll cheerfully into the mess in time for tea and medals.
The new Bronze is an identical design and runs the same 28,800bph BE-95-2AV chronometer-rated movement (a modified Sellita SW260-1) as its fellows, but features – you guessed it – a bronze case. Given that most defence procurement exercises are about minimising cost, you’re unlikely to see too many military watches with bronze cases, but they’re lovely things. Bronze has the quality of patinating over time, losing its initial shine and taking on character. In fact, it can do this rather too well, as anyone who’s handled a new piece of bronze will attest – it picks up fingerprints as easily as a piece of sellotape. Bremont anticipated this and have coated their Broadsword Bronze watches with a temporary anti-fingerprint finish.
Once the coating has worn off, though, the way you wear your watch will start to influence how the case changes. If you choose, you can keep polishing it to retain its original parade ground bronze lustre or you can simply strap your Broadsword to your wrist and enjoy watching it slowly dull (in a very good way) and blend in.
Bremont are making the watch available with three different dials, so you have your choice of slate grey, tobacco or military green. Each is easy to read at a glance and, thanks to a decent coat of lume on the hands (including the sub-dial’s second hand) and hour pips, it’ll be equally simple to read at night.
Although Bremont have clearly drawn on the influence of classic issued watches, the Broadsword isn’t, in any sense, Walty. It stands very happily on its own merits as a tough, well-designed, do-anything watch that’s easily smart enough to fit in anywhere. More from Bremont.