INTRODUCING: With its first movement, the Bremont Longitude is a statement of bold intentLuke Benedictus
In July, Bremont announced the grand opening of The Wing, a 35,000 square foot, state-of-the-art watchmaking facility on the edge of Henley-on-Thames. This was a statement of intent for the British brand as part of a move towards increased in-house production of parts without the reliance on a non-domestic supply chain. But delving behind The Wing’s impressive architecture, industry onlookers were intrigued to find out what this truly meant for the brand.
For a company that was only founded in 2002, there’s no doubt that Bremont has come a very long way in a very short time. Their collaboration with Martin-Baker remains totally inspired (to anyone who’s not familiar: the Bremont Martin-Baker MBI is available only to people who have survived a live ejection from an aircraft equipped with a Martin-Baker ejection seat). Indeed, whether it’s with Jaguar, the England rugby team or mountaineer Nirmal “Nims” Purja, their partnerships invariably spike your interest. Plus, as you’d expect from a company founded by a pair of brothers named Nick and Giles English, they’ve done an exceptional job at leveraging the soft-power panache of their homeland.
Leaving aside this marketing flair, their rugged tool watches were pretty good, too. Still questions lingered over what some perceived as the brand’s fairly steep prices, coupled with residual suspicion following the 2014 controversy over a movement Bremont initially suggested was their own. As a result, you’d occasionally hear people wondering if Bremont might turn out to be a brand that was more style over substance.
To those cynics, this latest release is an emphatic retort with Bremont introducing it’s first movement series to be manufactured in the UK. Essentially, Bremont has bought full access to the intellectual property behind THE+’s K1 base calibre, but insist they’ve upgraded 80 per cent of the movement in-house. To package up this coup, the ENG376 movement comes housed inside the Bremont Longitude, a new limited-edition piece available in three materials.
Showing their customary patriotism, Bremont once again come waving a Union Jack, on this occasion to celebrate Greenwich Mean Time. The Longitude is made in partnership with Greenwich’s Royal Observatory, in fact, it incorporates original brass from the Obversatory’s historic Flamsteed Meridian Line that marks the position where the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed, initially made his observations and laid the foundations for accurate timekeeping and navigation. Donated brass from that Line was smelted down and moulded into a flat ring that frames the watch’s automatic movement.
The 300-piece run is split into batches of 150 in steel, 75 in rose gold and 75 in white gold. Each piece offers a 40mm diameter, a large date with twin discs, an indicator for the 65-hour power reserve, and a small seconds. Curved lines arcing across the central section of the watch further drive home the longitude-inspired theme. So too, does the power reserve indicator at the 6 o’clock position that resembles the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s red time ball, a quirky visual device that still rises and falls once a day and was originally designed to signal accurate time to 19th century sailors.
But, let’s face it, the significance of this watch is really all about the movement. With a depth of 4.95mm and diameter of 25.6mm, the ENG376 features a silicon escapement and a custom balance bridge and full tungsten rotor. Bremont have made improvements to enhance the toughness of the base calibre and introduced a full balance bridge to support the balance wheel assembly. To fine tune the accuracy, traditional adjustment screws are used on the free sprung balance wheel, a more difficult method of rate adjustment, but also more precise with links back to early marine chronometry. Further design changes include revisions to the escapement, the automatic winding bridge jewels and a modified wheel bridge amongst others.
In short, it’s a very big deal for Bremont and lends genuine credence to their bold claim about ensuring that The Wing really is “the home of British watchmaking”. Once again, these watches aren’t particularly cheap, yet the brand surely deserves credit for their scope of ambition. Bremont is looking ahead and it will be fascinating to see what the future holds.
The Bremont Longitude – pricing and availability:
Stainless steel (150 pieces): $27,995
Rose gold (75 pieces): $39,495
White gold (75 pieces): $41,495