Bremont was formed in 2002 by brothers Nick and Giles English. Their first watches appeared on the market in 2007. In the relatively short amount of time since then, Bremont has become one of the premier watch brands for military units across the globe. Initially popularized in part by Bear Grylls who wore a Bremont watch on his hit show Man vs. Wild. The military program would ultimately come about when the brand was approached by a U-2 aircraft pilot who had seen Grylls’ watch and wanted to create a watch for his squadron.
A collaboration with Martin-Baker on testing their watches solidified Bremont’s place in the market as a powerhouse. Bremont relied heavily on feedback from trusted military advisors and partners to ensure that every component of their watches met the highest standards. To date Bremont’s military program has worked on several hundred special projects for units from multiple continents, and they feel that there are several key reasons for their success and loyal following.
Of the many reasons, the story of the English brothers and their passion for what they do resonates with many of their customers. Luxury watchmakers are often thought of as the snooty, white-gloved type. For Nick and Giles, that couldn’t be further from the truth. They live the active lifestyle that endears them to the military crowd. Cars, motorcycles, planes, and pursuing excellence in everything they do. This spills into their watchmaking.
Bremont also features only mechanical movement in their watches – no Quartz. When a unit approaches the military program about a project, they can expect an approximate 8-10 months for their watch to be available. Customized watches are exclusive to the members of that unit with no exceptions and may include things such as a unit logo, motto, engraving of an aircraft image, or even custom bezels in some cases. The customizations add value to the watches, although the unit members are offered a heavily subsidized price for those who may be otherwise unable to afford them. Unit members are not only paying for something that tells the time, but for the craftsmanship and a story to reflect their time in service to their country. Others see their watch as an heirloom to pass down to their children, while others who operate across the globe see their watch as a bartering tool if they ever find themselves in a bad situation that they need to bribe their way out of.
Bremont is deeply ingrained into military culture and they are invested on a personal level with each unit they collaborate with. Whereas some luxury watch makers tend to make their clients feel as if they should feel privileged to buy their product, Bremont does the opposite. Not only that but they take pride in making sure to offer deep levels of customization that are an accurate reflection of the men, women, and aircraft involved to honor them.
I was able to review the Bremont S301 “Supermarine”, one of the retail watches that many of the military programs choose to make customizations to. Inspired by the Supermarine S.6B Seaplane, of all the incredible aspects to this watch the first thing that stood out to me was the crown. The quality and level of detail is incredible. When a company puts that much time into the crown, I know they’ve got quality elsewhere.
Like all Bremont watches, the S301 features automatic movement – specifically a Modified caliber 11 ½”’ BE-92AE automatic chronometer fitted with Bremont decorated rotor and 21 jewels, Glucydur balance and Anachron balance spring, with Nivaflex 1 mainspring. Rated frequency of 28,800 A/h with 38-hour minimum power reserve. If you are active and wear the watch regularly you shouldn’t have to worry about winding the watch. It has hour, minute, and second hands with a date window at 3 o’clock. The case is stainless steel (40mm diameter/13mm height) with a metal dial and Super-LumiNova® coated markers. Lug width is 20mm. Also features a laser engraved ceramic rotating bezel (uni-directional) that includes a Super-LumiNova® marker. The crystal is domed AR and scratch resistant sapphire crystal. It is chronometer tested and certified, and is water-resistant to 300 meters.
The watch has a simple overall look at a glance, but a closer look reveals fine details that show its quality. From the Supermarine image on the case back, to the aforementioned crown, and the incredibly accurate movement, this watch is a subtle stunner. The lume is very bright and easy to read. The only item I would change if I had my pick would be a 22mm strap instead of the 20mm, although this 20mm strap looks great. It’ll take a bit of breaking in before you quit noticing it on your wrist due to the thickness and stiffness of it, but I view it as proof of durability. The crown features the Bremont prop logo (silver) with a black background, and again it is my favorite part of the watch. The bezel is crisp upon each click and very easy to grip. The diameter and height of the watch in relation to the weight are a perfect combination. Bremont got everything right on this one – in spite of my partiality to a 22mm strap.
With the $4,095 USD price tag this watch is not for everyone. Watch enthusiasts will understand, but you’re investing in the craftsmanship of something that will hold its value over time. It will be something you’ll keep for a lifetime or something you’ll pass down to your children. People will pay half of their monthly income for an automobile they can’t afford, but they don’t care that it is losing value rapidly. A luxury watch is something that, if taken care of, will outlive you and will provide you with a lifetime of memories.