Only a couple of months ago, Bremont announced a new partnership with the America’s Cup Event Authority and Oracle Team USA, serving as the Official Timing Partner of the 35th America’s Cup (yacht racing, but crazy high-tech ones that ride above the water). Following that, they released four watches in collaboration with their new patterns. Two classically inspired pieces called the American Cup series; a three-hander and chronograph, both of which hint at Marine chronometers. And two sport watches for the Oracle Team USA Series, based on their dive watch line, the Supermarines.
While they are all attractive in their own right, the Oracle II really stood out for me. Of the watches, it felt the most like a standalone model that would occupy a unique place in Bremont’s line up. It also riffed on a special edition from 2014 I was smitten with, the Terra Nova. Both feature titanium Supermarine cases and GMT movements. But while the Terra Nova was about hiking in extreme climates, the Oracle II is a more down to Earth dive watch. With styling that speaks to Bremonts other watches, but a dial that has its own, subtle character.
As with all Bremonts, the Oracle II is packed with features, some visible others not, particularly in the case construction. So, it goes without saying that it has a 500m WR, sapphire crystal with very effective AR, magnetic field protection, shock protection and one of Bremont’s chronometer movements. Dubbed the BE-93-2AE, it’s an COSC rated ETA 2893 that has been highly decorated, regulated and customized with Bremont’s moulded rotor. Coming in at $6,195, it’s an expensive watch, but in-line with Bremont’s typical pricing, and a true luxury sport watch.
Bremont Oracle II Review
Case: Titanium, mixed finishes
Movement: BE-93-2AE/ ETA 2893
Dial: Matte black
Lens: Sapphire crystal
Strap: Textile and leather
Water Res.: 500m
Dimensions: 43 x 50mm
Thickness: 16.75 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 7.4 x 5mm
Warranty: 3 years
The Oracle II has essentially a titanium version of Bremont’s Supermarine case… which is basically a diver’s take on their exceptional Trip-Tick case design, and presumably the same case they used on last years Terra Nova LE. We’ve reviewed examples of their Trip-Tick case before on their MBII as well as their ALT1-B. Their watches all look deceptively simple from over top, but once you get a peak at the side you see that there is a lot going, with many expertly crafted parts. Rather than coming off of the mid-case, the lugs are their own piece, sculpted here out of titanium, while the mid-case is then a unique barrel. On the Oracle II it’s black DLCed with parallel lines encircling it, breaking up the surface and creating an enjoyable visual detail. The beautifully scalloped and finished lugs are a true standout feature of the watch, indicating the quality of the craftsmanship throughout.
The Supermarine version includes a bezel, a bolted on crown guard, a 2 o’clock crown an HEV and some extra beveling on the lugs, for a design that is somehow more robust and elegant than their standard case (ok, that’s subjective, but it’s my personal favorite case they make). As a watch that is meant for water, as it has a 500m WR, but is born of pilot’s DNA, it manages to capture both well. As I pointed out in the Beasts of the Deep, the Supermarines are amongst the dressiest of dive watches, since they manage to be graceful while tough.
The added details are really what makes the Supermarine case shine. The bezel is perfectly proportioned, not too thin, not too wide, and capped with an angled sapphire that flows near seamlessly into the domed crystal. The smooth top is attractive, but also functional as essentially the whole top surface of the case is near scratch proof. The mechanism is then a 120-click unidirectional type with precise action and a light click. When stationary, it has no wiggle at all for a solid feel.
The crown and crown guard are works of art. Starting with the latter, I love this solution to a crown guard. It’s a slab of metal with a ramped shape that has been bolted on the side. Because of the design of the DLC chassis, this allows for a point of contrast as well as some pleasantly technical little details, such as the 2 hex screw holding it in place. The crown then sits in a little alcove in the guard. The crown screws in, and has what appears to be a multi-part construction, though could be one-piece with some fancy finishing. It measure 7.4 x 5mm, and is tiered, with one section having your typical coin edging for grip, then a tier that is just a thin black line, and finally a cylinder of brushed steel with Bremont’s wings etched in the end. There’s just a lot great little things going on here from different colors to textures to the subtle ways they all mesh. I can get lost looking at it.
As with most of their other watches, the Oracle II has a bold diameter of 43mm with a lug-to-lug of 50mm and a height of 16.75mm to the top of the domed sapphire. The Oracle II/Supermarines come in a bit taller than their other watches, presumably because of the bezel, though the case backs seem quite thick as well. Needless to say, they aren’t watches for small wrists, and while I find them a touch large, after wearing it for a bit I did acclimate to the size. The use of titanium certainly adds to the comfort by dropping the weight a bit. It also adds to the overall look. The slightly darker color of the metal increases the appeal for me, and titanium seems to always hold a very sharp edge. The polished bevel on the lugs is a great example of this.
The caseback is also titanium and is supposed to feature a big “Oracle Team USA” etching. On the sample on hand, it was a standard Supermarine back, in fact I’m not sure if it’s titanium or steel, though I think the latter, so can’t really comment on the real one. That said, while I know this watch is called the Oracle II and is meant to celebrate Team USA and their sponsor, having the logo of a big corporation on my watch isn’t something I typically would seek out. An etching of a yacht racing? That would be more my style.
Lastly, the case features the same fancy internal treatment as the MBII. So, the movement is mounted in a soft iron Faraday cage, protecting it from magnetism. That is then all mounted to the case via rubber ring, essentially suspending it within the case, in order to protect against shock. This is part of what makes Bremonts legit tool watches at the end of the day.
Dial, Bezel and Hands
There is something pleasantly vintage about the dial, bezel and hands on the Oracle II. The dial design feels familiar, but I don’t believe it was pulled from any of their other watches, though it bears some similarity to the U-2 and the Boeing Model 1 Ti-GMT given the sort-of “explorer” layout. What makes it very appealing is that it’s a bit softer and perhaps friendlier than those other designs.
The primary index consists of applied markers with polished steel edges and BGW9 filling, for a white with a tiny bit of blue. At 12, 6 and 9 are numerals in a clean typeface. The other hours are slightly tapering rectangles. I liked that the numerals and rectangles are all kept at about the same height, which creates a clean ring around the inside of the dial. At 3 there is a date window with a beveled steel border and white on black disk. To the right side of the window is a much smaller applied rectangle, which helps balance out the window location, as it’s a touch towards the center, as well as give some lume at 3.
Around the edge of the inner dial are small white dots for the individual minute/second. It’s a very subtle index that almost disappears when looking at the watch as a whole, but provides a nice border to the dial. Surrounding the dial is a chapter ring with 24-hr markers for use with the GMT hand. The layout is the same or very similar to that of the Terra Nova, which the Oracle II also shares a case. It’s matte black and has numerals every 2 hours in a serif typeface, alternating with thin white lines. Instead of 12 it reads “London”. On the inner dial you have Bremont’s logo below twelve, “America’s Cup” and “500m-1660ft” above six. Compared to the MBII, the logo appears to have come down in size a bit, and fits the dial well. I was glad to see the text above 6 read “America’s Cup” rather that “Oracle Team USA” as the Oracle I dial does, for the same corporate branding reasons mentioned earlier.
The bezel insert has a particularly vintage feel with a classic and spare set of markings. It solely features numerals at 15, 30 and 45, thin white lines for the other hours and a red borderer triangle at 60. While quite different in execution, it did bring the early bezels of 1950’s Blancpain Fifty Fathoms to mind. The markers are all lumed with BGW9 as well, and are safely sandwiched under the sapphire insert. Overall, it’s just a very clean look that brings the focus to the inner dial. The Superamarines, by contrast, have a lot more going on with their inserts, making them a bit louder and more aggressive. The Terra Nova had a compass bezel, which while interesting, is a bit more of a novelty for those not lost on a pole.
The handset stays true to the Terra Nova as well, with the distinct hour and minute hands from the Supermarines, and a more modern seconds and GMT hand. The hour and minute hands are a funny throwback to early 20th-century designs. While of a different era, they are simplified and cleaned up a bit, making them work on this generally more modern watch. They are both presented in polished steel with BGW9 filling. Things get a bit more fun/quirky with the seconds, as you have a full lacquer red stick with a lumed lollipop towards its tip. The red really stands out, adding an almost youthful energy to the dial. The GMT hand is then a bright yellow triangle on a thin stick that is half yellow, half black. This too is an unexpected dose of color that, surprisingly, fits well with the watch. The BGW9 lume used throughout glows a bright, ice blue and is well applied in all instances.
Straps and Wearability
The Oracle II comes mounted to a 22mm “Kevlar style” strap. It’s basically a very heavy-toothed woven material over a dense padding with a leather backing. It’s black with black stitching for a no fuss, sporty look. The strap tapers a little towards the buckle, making it a bit more wearable. This is especially appreciated initially as the strap was very stiff at first. The padding inside, which gets fairly thick towards the lug, is very rigid, and needs to be softened with wear in order for the watch to sit comfortably. The strap is fit with a gorgeous titanium buckle that has nicer finishing than most watches, with a brushed top surface, polished bevels and very crisp lines. All in all, it’s a decent strap that is certainly well made and seems like it could be worn on deck, though a bit stiff at first.
On the wrist, as said before, the Oracle II wears well, once you get used to it. At 43 x 50 x nearly 17mm, it’s a big watch. I have a few 43mm watches in my collection, and the height of this one does make it feel noticeably larger. So, at first I felt like it didn’t really fit me. Once the strap broke in a bit though, and the watch wore lower, I got used to it and then started to enjoy it. Luckily the titanium keeps it relatively light, which is to say you wont notice the weight during the day, which immediately adds to the comfort. It still looks a bit large to my eyes on my 7″ wrist, but if you like a large watch or have a larger wrist than mine, you’ll be fine.
Aesthetically, it’s very appealing. There is a lot to look at and enjoy, yet the watch itself isn’t overwhelming with details. You can still just appreciate it as a nicely styled sport watch. It’s a very modern watch, but the subtle influence of vintage dive elements makes it much more palatable than many modern designs. And the case is ridiculously attractive. The mix of DLC and titanium, with the textured barrel, bolt on crown guard and polished bevel lugs works so well. It’s easily one of the nicest sport watch case designs, having a unique look and superior build.
Other than the fact that it’s a bit bulky, so I doubt it would fit under a shirt sleeve too well, it’s refined enough to be worn to the office, but happily at home with more casual wear. Given that it’s a GMT, it’s definitely a great traveling watch that can go from a meeting to the beach with ease. The titanium will come in handy when you never take it off.
The Bremont Oracle II is a great and welcome addition to Bremont’s line up. They teased us all with the Terra Nova, showing what a titanium GMT Supermarine would be like, but with that one being so limited and having a compass bezel, it was a different concept. The Oracle II is born of the water, or well gliding above it, and while a part of its own co-sponsored series, feels like a spiritual continuation of the Supermarine line. And that’s what I really like about it. The sponsorship/collaboration might mean a lot to those who follow the sport, but to someone who doesn’t, it’s just a nice hybrid GMT sport watch. And not to harp, but the case is stunning.
A negative I could find is that this watch, and some of their other special editions, are sort of “Frankensteined” from other watches in their line. So you’ll find some unique pieces mixed in with pieces you’ll find on others. It works, don’t get me wrong, but feels a bit less “special” than a totally new design. The Oracle II is mostly new, but as pointed out, borrows a piece here and there.
The Oracle II has a price tag of $6,195, making it expensive for sure. For what it offers I get the price, also in terms of the brand and what their line. There is a lot more craftsmanship and engineering in one of these watches than many other brands at the same price point. It’s easy to get caught up in the exterior, but the interior is also overbuilt and the chronometer rated movement, which is decorated and customized, is keeping superb time inside. That doesn’t make it any easier to get, but certainly easier to appreciate. For a modern sport watch, there aren’t many other major brands working on their level.