While I – and many immersed in the watch world – tend to have our favorite sorts of complications (and complexities) for watches, there is no doubt that a well-sorted, time-and-date-only watch will certainly hold interest for most folks. Well, today, we are dipping our toes into the waters of simple (again, in terms of complications) luxury watches with the Bremont Solo.
Lest there be any confusion, no, this Bremont Solo is not a new watch, or some new version just introduced at BaselWorld. This is the established watch that has been kicking around for a while. However, we were opening the door to doing a hands-on with a watch from their lineup, the Bremont Solo just seemed to make good sense as a starting point.
Bremont – as a brand – certainly has tied themselves to flight (with brothers Giles and Nick English being pilots in their own right), so the Bremont Solo is ostensibly an aviation watch. This is evidenced by the triangle up at the 12 o’clock position, something well-associated with pilot watches. That is really the only overt cue to planes, though. Sure, the stark contrast between the black dial and the applied numerals helps with instant readability (another trait of pilot watches), but this is more of a pilot watch for someone who really is not into the whole military aviation background of that sort of watch.
That sounds like I may be damning the Bremont Solo with faint praise, but that is indeed not the case. Rather, this is more of a stealth aviator. Or, looking at it another way, it is what happens when a dress watch takes on some flying aspirations. Sure, the 43mm is not particularly small (or overly thin), but the polished finishes on the case, handset, and applied indices certainly give things a dressier look, at least in my book. Fortunately it is not fully a dress watch, which means there is some lume to be had on the handset and dial.
Speaking of the dial, I did want to call out one thing that surprised me a bit with the Bremont Solo – and that was something that must have slipped by the Quality Assurance department (or perhaps what earmarked it as a media sample). Take a closer look at the chapter ring, particularly where it is aligned with the triangle at 12 o’clock. Or, more precisely, where it should be aligned. You see, the chapter ring is ever-so-slightly off. This is less noticeable at the other indices, but that fine triangle point makes it stand out. Something that one wouldn’t expect from a $4,095 watch, regardless of it being considered entry-level or not. Then again, perhaps that’s how this particular example came to the media circuit.
The rest of the dial – and the overall assembly – was a delight. The matte finish of the dial contrasted nicely with the polished indices, and the inverse date wheel matches the dial quite well, as well as managing to not chop off the indice at 3 o’clock. Text on the dial is kept to a minimum, and the lollipop seconds hand tosses a bit of color – and a break from the hard edges – into the mix.
Wearing the Bremont Solo around was a piece of cake, with the standard 22mm leather strap. It’s a bit thick, but it started conforming to my wrist well. As I wore it, I also grew to appreciate more the design of the case. On the top, of course, you have your standard polished look. Take a look at the side, then you start getting into some new swoops and curves, as well as the grooved DLC surface that breaks up the polish, both in terms of finish and texture. Just some of the fun you can do with a three-part case design. Also worth calling out here are the curved spring bars they used in the strap, which keeps those curves going.
Flipping the case over you get an eyeful of the BE-36AE automatic movement that takes the Bremont Solo through its paces as you wear it. This is a nicely-finished movement, as is the movement holder. In short, it’s a sight you’d want to spend time looking at, and looks to have the level of finishing that you would expect for a watch at this price point. One thing I noticed here is that the movement sounds, well, different. Normally, you have a very crisp ticking sound from a mechanical movement. Here, there’s a bit of a hollower, or echoey, sound. Perhaps due to the case design, more than anything.
To wrap things up, yes, I did rather enjoy the time I got to spend with the Bremont Solo. When you’re looking at luxury three-handers (with date), you certainly have to look at more than just a spec sheet to figure out what it is you might want. Something like the Bremont Solo brings a chronometer-grade movement to the party, of course. It also gives a unique look to the case design (which is hardened, by the way), as well as providing a dressier watch with some aviator watch-inspired cues. In and amongst the Bremont lineup, I think it’s easy to see why the Bremont Solo would be a solid choice. bremont.com
- Brand & Model: Bremont Solo/PB
- Price: $4,095
- Who’s it for? The person who is interested in pilot watches, but not interested whatsoever in the military aviation history of the watch style
- Would I wear it?
- What I’d change: Get the chapter ring aligned with the dial
- The best thing about it:
- Modified calibre 11 ½’’’ BE-36AE automatic chronometer, 25 jewels, Glucydur balance, Anachron balance spring, Nivaflex 1 mainspring, 28,800bph, 38 hour power reserve.
- Bremont moulded and skeletonised decorated rotor.
- Functions: Hour/minute/second, date at 3h.
- Case: Hardened polished stainless steel Bremont Trip-Tick® construction with scratch resistant DLC treated case barrel. Case diameter 43mm, lug width 22mm.
- Case back: Polished stainless steel case back with integrated flat crystal, 5 stainless steel screws with polished heads.
- Dial: Black metal dial and applied polished nickel indexes. Polished nickel hands with Super-LumiNova® coating.
- Crystal: Domed anti-reflective, scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
- Water resistance: Water resistant to 10 ATM, 100 metres.
- Ratings: C.O.S.C chronometer tested and certified.
- Strap: Calf-skin leather strap with pin buckle.
- Certification: Individually serial numbered with accompanying C.O.S.C certification.
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