As many of our readers know, last year marked the first time in many years that Bremont did not attend Baselworld. They decided to release their new-for-2017 models at their own event in London dubbed, appropriately, Bremont Townhouse. Following up on a successful 2017 event, Bremont is rinsing and repeating for 2018, kicking off their 3-day Townhouse event on February 27th (the day I write this). Let’s take a closer look at what’s been announced.
First on the docket is the U-2/51-JET, which as its name suggests, takes cues from the U-2 line, the Limited Edition P-51 line, and the Hawk T1 jet aircraft flown by the 100 Squadron (first British night-bombing squadron). Living just a handful of miles from Beale Air Force Base in Northern California where the U-2 Spy Plane Squadron is still based, I’ve always been partial to the U-2 line. It’s a rare treat to see a low-flying U-2 over your house, seemingly hanging in mid-air.
The U-2/51-JET gets its vintage lume and heat-blued hands from the P-51, and the “Trip Tick” case (slightly modified) of the U-2 line tested to 80,000 feet of elevation and -50 degrees of temperature. The “JET” in the nomenclature comes from the Hawk T1 Jet flown by the 100 Squadron, and is also used in this case to reference the “jet black” color of the case, hearkening back to those early nighttime bombing raids that began in the 1917s.
The U-2/51-JET comes equipped with Bremont’s BE-36AE caliber (a chronometer grade, modified ETA 2836-2) with Glucydur balance, Anachron balance spring, and Nivaflex 1 mainspring. The movement is mounted in Bremont’s exclusive rubber mounting system to help isolate shocks. Turning the watch over we’re treated to a dark tinted sapphire exhibition case back in keeping with the overall stealthy appearance of the piece. The U-2/51-JET will be priced at $5,395.
Moving on, Bremont is adding three new variants to the S500 range. The S500/BL incorporates a blue dial with the day/date complication from the rest of the line, while the black-dialed S500/BK eliminates the day window in favor of a cleaner date-only look. Both pieces have applied, S3-lumed indices. The BL version includes Arabic numbers at the 6, 9, and 12 positions.
What was of even further interest to this writer was the announcement of the new S501. This piece takes cues from the vintage-inspired S301 released last year, but presents them in the larger 43mm case size and 500 meter water resistance spec of the Supermarine S500 line (The S301 is 40mm). As with the S301, the S501 includes applied indices and hands of similar styling. The vintage lume is courtesy of the P-51 line. Also new to the Bremont diver lineup is the sapphire exhibition case back. Other styling cues from the 301 include the knurled dial, copper band on the crown, and ceramic bezel. Otherwise, the case is identical to the standard S500 line.
All three diver editions for 2018 come with the BE-36AE caliber. Pricing for the S501 comes in at $4,775, while the S500/BL and S500/BK will ring in at $4,495.
Next up we have a new edition to the classic AIRCO lineup. The Mach 3 is a blue dial variant of the very popular 40mm AIRCO line. This particular blue is the color of the Royal Air Force which celebrates 100 years in the air in 2018. This is one of my favorites of Bremont’s new editions this year. Its clean, simple dial incorporates applied indices, a red-tipped seconds hand, “BREMONT” under the dual baton 12 o’clock marker, and “AUTOMATIC” above the 6 o’clock date window (best place for a date window in my opinion).
Also joining the AIRCO lineup for 2018 are two white dial variants. The Mach 1 offers excellent contrast and readability with its red seconds hand and painted and outlined Arabic indices. As for the Mach 2, with white, applied Arabic indices and all white hands, it looks to me like it’ll be a challenge to read the time at a glance. In any case, all three AIRCOs encase Bremont’s BE-92AE movement (modified ETA 2892) inside their signature “Trip-Tick” case and come in at $3,895.
The next new piece in the lineup is one that I have some mixed feelings about. The heritage behind the new Limited Edition Bremont Endurance is undeniable, the prototype of which accompanied brand ambassador Ben Saunders on his 2017 human-powered journey across Antartica. While I won’t go into all of the details of the journey, needless to say there’s a plethora of information to be found on the Internet if you’re interested.
Based on the S500 diving line, the Endurance is most definitely built to withstand the harshest conditions that Mother Nature can possibly throw at it. Overall it has a pleasing design, starting with the black dial with a stylized imprint of the earth at it’s center. From there we come across a date window at 3 o’clock, bold lumed indices, and large, high contrast hands. The frontal view is capped off with a compass-marked bi-directional bezel, while on the back we’re treated to a view of the BE-93-2AE caliber (chronometer grade ETA 2893) through the sapphire case back.
Where the whole thing falls down for me is the GMT hand. I’m not crazy about the design with the “N” incorporated into the overall shape in order to further the directional compass theme, but that I can get over. What I don’t understand is the length, or rather the lack thereof, of this hand. Ending abruptly mid-way in its journey to the outer 24-hour chapter ring is inexcusable in my opinion. I simply don’t understand this design decision, and unfortunately it really has a negative effect on what is otherwise a cool watch.
The Endurance will ship on a tastefully done orange NATO strap. It will be limited to 300 pieces worldwide and will carry a pricetag of $6,395.
Last but certainly not least, Bremont announced the reintroduction of their original watch from 2007, the ALT1-C bi-compax chronograph. The ALT1-C line has continued to branch out and expand over the years into more dressy, polished variants, but the new ALT1-C/BL and ALT1-C/WH-BK hearken back to that very first Bremont design.
The pictures really speak for themselves here. I love this piece. Incorporating Bremont’s E-50AE caliber (heavily modified Valjoux 7750), the new ALT1-C will be offered in white and blue dial variants, both with applied indices in place of the Arabic numerals found on the rest of the line. Call it a modern interpretation of the original, even though the original is only 11 years old!
All-in-all, I’m quite impressed with Bremont’s 2018 releases. They always seem to manage to move the needle forward, while honoring their aviation-inspired past. For those that haven’t forgiven past transgressions, you’re missing out on some amazing timepieces from a brand quickly on the rise. For more information on all of Bremont’s new-for-2018 releases, head on over to bremont.com.