Talking me into some wrist time with Bremont is never a tough sell. From my early days of interacting with Mike Pearson, North American Director for Bremont Watches, via social media, I quickly became fascinated by the brand. Their Trip-Tik cases and unique yet beautifully simple designs always stood out to me as a tasteful and unique alternative to the mass-market fodder they compete with. Having had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with the U2 Blue, and an extended summer with the lovely mint green Supermarine, I was always curious to see what the brand has up its sleeve. I’m also the one who far too frequently jokes with Giles and Nick about being the media volunteer to be launched from an ejector seat with one of the MBII watches on my wrist to see which of us survives the most intact. While it seems like there’s no way that would ever happen, I did get my paws on the MBII White they launched this year to see what it was like for a week-long adventure. The destination was Puerto Rico and the end game was a mix of beachside relaxation and some overdue time back on a surfboard. How would it fare?
What can be said about Bremont’s design language that hasn’t been said already? We all love the complex, purposeful, and rather unique case design that comes with every Bremont timepiece. The Trip-Tick case design lets the brand play with different materials and finishes to their may be had on many of their different models. Of course their loud orange seen here is their classic, however in terms of daily wear I would likely opt for either the equally unique blue barrel or the much more understated Anthracite variant. In terms of construction, its solely brushed, hardened-steel case is one of the toughest and scratch resistant in the business. The MBII’s case is hardened to 2,000 Vickers through a proprietary hardening process. This process also gives the case a nominally darker coloring to it compared to regular brushed steel.
When it comes to the dial, I’m of the opinion that this new dial has instantly become the Bremont MBII to own. Sure, the black dial speaks to the classic pilot watch look long dominated by IWC (among others), but this clean matte-white dial and contrasting indexes is just so crisp. It’s just as legible as its black counterpart, and though the red accents on its second hand and inner bezel don’t pop off the dial quite as much, they still provide a nice touch of color to its otherwise utilitarian and functional design.
In The Field
Given the weekly agenda while testing the MBII White, I can’t really speak to its versatility in practice, however it’s safe to say that this thing can get by just about anywhere. At 43mm in diameter it can still technically tuck under a shirt cuff in a pinch, but really the MBII is more of a casual “ready for anything” piece. As I mentioned above, the bright orange barrel will leave you clashing with certain color combos (greens, in particular), but in any other guise the MBII is incredibly versatile. One of the challenges that a few enthusiasts will face aside from color matching is the MBII’s overall dimensions. It wears a fair bit larger than the specs would lead you to believe, and on my 6.75-inch wrist it’s right on the border of my comfort zone. For those that love the Bremont design language but can’t stomach the size, thankfully the SOLO is still available in a compact 37mm case size. It doesn’t have the great clicking internal bezel or any of the pedigree that comes along with working with Martin Baker, mind you.
As my extended weekend warrior, the MBII was about as perfect a fit as I could have asked for. I hadn’t hopped time zones, so a GMT was not necessary. Bremont was kind enough to swap it onto one of their excellent Temple Island straps, and considering its 100-meter water resistance I had no qualms about any depths I’d be approaching when dumping off my surfboard or going for a quick dip in the warm Caribbean waters. Aside from following the usual precautions about not operating the crowns while submerged, neither Bremont’s team nor I had any doubts on that front. Also, given my uncanny skill for wiping out in glorious fashion any time I’m surfing, I was happy to have a little more shock resistance than I’d get out of more affordable options that people like to take on vacation.
On that topic, the Bremont’s understated looks also play in its favor when travelling abroad. Even with the added hints of color, the MBII doesn’t stand out in a crowd the way that other big-box brands do. Granted Bremont is vastly more popular on a global scale than they were a mere four or five years ago, but they aren’t yet at that mass-market appeal level that makes you a moving target when navigating busy urban areas where a Rolex, Breitling or even a TAG Heuer could draw unwanted eyes.
Sure, the MBII White isn’t Bremont’s most impressive accomplishment from Basel this year — that title goes to their slick new Regatta timer — but it’s still a new release that’s hard not to love. It’s a classic casual watch with hearty wrist presence, and as with all things Bremont it’s all about the details. Between the brand’s strong ties to aviation, the hardcore over-engineering that goes into the construction of each watch and its simple yet very appealing aesthetic, the MBII White will have no problem finding fans.