Bremont is new to the luxury watch world; well relatively speaking that is. It was founded in 2002 by Nick and Giles English with the goal of creating high-quality pilot’s watches and reinvigorating the watch industry in Great Britain. The watches they sought to make would not just be superfluous fashion pieces but, tried and true tool watches designed and tested to hold up in extreme circumstances, like ejecting from a fighter plane. Literally.
Bremont & Martin-Baker
Martin-Baker, the manufacturer of the ejection seats found in 70% of the world’s fighter planes, approached Bremont to create the definitive aviation watch that could withstand the extreme forces experienced in an ejection. After two years of development, Bremont responded to that request with the MB range of watches. I spent a week with the Bremont MBII to see how it measured up to daily use as a desk pilot.
The case on the Bremont MBII is made of hardened steel and built with Bremont’s Trip-Tick construction. The steel goes through a heat treating and carbon diffusion process that increases the hardness level to 2000 vickers, about seven times the hardness of standard 316L stainless steel, which will ensure the case still looks great after years of wear. The proprietary Trip-Tick case construction consists of three parts: the bezel and sapphire crystal, the middle case with a titanium or DLC middle barrel, and the steel case back.
This particular model is fitted with the orange aluminum middle barrel making it stand out from the crowd. At 43mm wide and 14.5mm thick, the MBII is not a small watch but it is also well proportioned so it sits well on your wrist. Don’t forget that this watch was commissioned to survive exceptional circumstances so, to protect from magnetic fields, there is a soft iron Faraday cage and, to guard against significant G-forces, the movement is placed in an anti-shock mount allowing it to float in the case if there is a shock. It is also water resistant to 100 meters for good measure.
The movement is a modified ETA 2836-2 labeled as the BE-36AE calibre by Bremont. This is a reliable, workhorse automatic movement that is certified as a chronometer for accuracy within -4 to +6 sec a day by COSC. Power reserve will run about 38 hours so, if you go a day without wearing it you’ll be fine. If you do go a few days without wearing it, it won’t be a big deal to adjust the day and date indication as the MBII is equipped with a quick change function for both.
Though you can’t see it because of the anti-magnetic cage, the movement is highly finished with perlage on the mainplate and bridges, blued screws, and a skeletonised, gold-plated automatic rotor.
MBII On The Wrist
Wearing the Bremont MBII is fun. This watch is staunchly seated in the tool watch category and it feels the part. It is prominent on the wrist but not overly large, with a legible dial that will be instantly familiar to anyone that has ever sat in the cockpit of an airplane. It fits the tool category even more when you notice the hour markers and hands are coated in as many as 20 coats of luminous paint to ensure they are easily read in the dark. You will also notice that there are two crowns on the watch at two and four o’clock.
The first, at two o’clock is for adjusting the time, day, and date. You can also manually wind the movement with this crown. The second, at four o’clock, is to control the inner rotating bezel. This is key for timing checkpoints in flight, or your espresso. I actually used it to time my infant son’s naps. Trust me, this is a simple feature that comes in handy. The domed sapphire crystal sits flush against the bezel beautifully and is coated in nine layers of an anti-reflective treatment to reduce glare and enhance legibility even more.
So, at this point, i think you can tell that this watch is seriously over-engineered in the best of ways. That’s why we loves watches like this, we know that it will survive anything we can possibly put it through and still look good all the while.
Interested in other reviews? Read more from Seth and the Govberg Team.