To help commemorate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force (RAF), Bremont this week debuted a limited edition series of 43mm GMT chronograph watches (with am-pm indication) cased in steel, red gold and white gold.
As Bremont was started by two brothers steeped in aviation, it’s no real shock that this debut, the Bremont 1918 Limited Edition, features styling and materials with deep RAF pedigree.
Not only does a percentage of proceeds benefit the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA), which has supported current and former RAF personnel for almost ninety years, but the rotor visible through the caseback of every Bremont 1918 Limited Edition watch includes material from four aircraft that saw action with the RAF during major campaigns of both world wars.
Bremont is well known for incorporating materials from historic aircraft (https://www.bremont.com/range/wright-flyer) –and even ships– into its limited editions.
“With this classic men’s watch we have tried to incorporate some subtle design features from the traditional RAF issue sector clock,” explains co-founder Giles English. “It is also the first time that we have used an am/pm indicator, which has been carefully designed to depict the iconic Supermarine Spitfire dogfighting in the Battle of Britain during the day, and then the legendary Avro Lancaster bomber flying on a night mission lit up by search-lights.”
Indeed, a close look at what appears to be a moonphase aperture just below the center of the dial is in fact an opening to an am/pm disc depicting the two vintage aircraft flying their respective day or night missions. When noted with the red-tipped GMT hand, the wearer can quickly determine whether their second time zone is enjoying daylight or evening hours.
English, who founded Bremont with his brother Nick in 2002, notes that these new watches also incorporate a telemeter scale, which allows the user to approximately measure the distance to an event that can be both seen and heard (e.g. a lightning bolt or a torpedo strike) by using the chronograph seconds hand to clock the speed of sound. This is another first for Bremont.
The telemeter track, the am-pm aperture and the railroad-style minute track on this new model make the 1918 a fairly busy dial by Bremont standards. But Bremont, as usual, navigates these elements with skill, presenting a limited series that will surely resonate with aviation fans – and for timepiece collectors who enjoy Bremont’s decidedly English references.
Bremont will make 275 steel-cased and white-dialed Bremont 1918s ($11,495), seventy-five with a white gold case and a two-toned blue dial ($22,995) and seventy-five in rose gold set off by a black dial ($21,495). Each version will have an alligator strap.
Modified caliber BE-16AE automatic chronometer (ETA Valjoux base) with Nivaflex 1 mainspring. Rated frequency of 28,800 A/h with 42-hour minimum power reserve. C.O.S.C chronometer tested. Individually serial numbered with accompanying certification; Bremont-decorated rotor featuring metal and wood veneer from original RAF aircraft (A Bristol Blenheim, a Supermarine Spitfire and a Hawker Hurricane that all flew during the summer of 1940 are incorporated. The veneer is original wood from the Shuttleworth Collection’s 1917 SE5a flown in WWI and WWII.)
Hours, minutes, GMT 12 hours and seconds, chronograph at the center. Permanent small seconds at 9. 30 minute sub dial at 3. Am/pm disc, date, telemeter function.
43mm x 17.2mm stainless steel, white gold or rose gold in Bremont’s own Trip-Tick construction. Stainless steel, white gold or rose gold case back with integrated flat sapphire crystal, 5 stainless steel/white gold/rose gold screws with polished heads. Water resistant to 100 meters.
Opaline matte metal dial, applied indexes, solid gold/blued nickel hands with SuperLumiNova. Sapphire crystal.
Alligator strap with pin buckle to complement case material.