Bremont’s aviation ties have been well documented on this site and is highlighted by their propeller logo. The naval connection is less well known. However, at Baselworld their new naval connection was made clear at the unveiling of their latest timepiece. The two brothers, Nick and Giles English, who founded Bremont spoke of their work with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Heritage and their support for the renovation work to be undertaken on Victory. Giles spoke proudly of attending the same school where Nelson was an honoured past pupil, the Norfolk link and Nick of how a small piece of Victory will be incorporated in each watch.
Basically one of the huge copper nails which held the timbers is to be smelted, made into a sheet and used in the inner barrel and even more challenging a minute piece of original oak, made into a veneer will be integrated within the watch.
Victory is the oldest commissioned warship in the world and there is the Nelson magic.
I recall in my schooldays when the world was largely depicted in red and patriotic poems were studied and learnt by heart, noting just how many were on a naval theme, Sir Henry Newbolt being an extremely popular choice for recitation. One I can still recite fully was “Admirals All” which in its first stanza lists many of those who led the British navy to battle honours:
Effingham, Grenville, Raleigh, Drake
Here’s to the bold and free!
Benbow, Collingwood, Byron, Blake,
Hail to the Kings of the Sea!
Admirals all, for England’s sake,
Honour be yours and fame!
And honour, as long as the waves shall break,
To Nelson’s peerless name!
Newbolt’s patriotic fervour and emphasis on sportsmanship and chivalry is no longer favoured and yet Nelson’s name is still honoured, Victory a treasured monument to past glories, and Trafalgar is still recalled after other battles have been forgotten by the general public.
The poem was written in 1897, Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year. The watch is to be launched actually on HMS Victory in her great, great granddaughter’s Diamond Jubilee year, on 12 July, 2012. It would have been nice had it been 21 October.
If the history is important to you or you admire the skills of haute horology, take time to admire this very exceptional creation.
Unusually, because of its limited availability, and they are going to be difficult to source, this is a watch with rarity value. I shall focus on the stainless steel version which has been produced in a greater number and may be more attainable, although it does also come in 18 carat rose gold.
The dial is of etched metal and off white. The treated steel hands and Arabic numbering stand out boldly against it.
The main numbers stand out strongly, uncompromising. The track of the chapter ring is restrained, simply marked off, the five integers a little thicker than the individual minutes. At its outer edge the five minute intervals are numbered in fine red numbers, discreet, only their colour drawing the eye to them but they are subtle, not vibrant. At 12, no number, simply an inverted equilateral triangle.
The hands sweep elegantly. The second hand is slender, almost fragile, the minute hand a little thicker and the hour hand quite curvaceous and dominant.
At first glance the central part of the dial seems quite busy but on analysis all gains clarity. At 12 is the 30 minute counter and balancing it at 6 o’clock, same size, same numbering style is the 12 hour counter. The fine marks in intervals of five. The 12 hour carries only numbers at 12, 3 and 9 since at 6 is the proud proclamation “London”.
Placed to the right in a fan format, occupying most of the space between 1 o’clock and 5 o’clock is the retrograde date counter with the Bremont name and logo set within it. Again, giving balance to the whole, set against it, on the opposing side of the dial, same size, same pattern, is the retrograde seconds.
All is protected and clearly visible through the domed, anti-reflective, scratch resistant, sapphire crystal.
The case is hardened stainless steel able to resist annoying superficial scratches which blight lesser watches. It is in the case that the unique Victory elements lie.
The vertical sides of the case are decorated with the Victory nomenclature in golden text, accompanied with rope and scroll motifs.
The Bremont patented Trip-Tick case has a copper PVD treated inner barrel, hand engraved which incorporates material from the HMS Victory whilst the case back is inlaid with original oak from the ship.
It is 43 mm in diameter and 17mm thick, smooth, simple, refined, with the 22mm lugs sculpted and flowing blending seamlessly with the bezel.
With Bremont’s expertise in producing watches that can withstand the elements and a hostile environment, robustness is almost assumed. It is nontheless noteworthy that it is water resistant to 100 metres.
The crown is rounded, slightly domed and knurled whilst the two chronograph crowns, resting conventionally on each side of the principle crown, have a nautical echo in their smooth capstan form.
The case enshrines the BE-B3AR chronograph movement. It is 13¼ lignes in width, and has 39 jewels.
The movement features a three-legged Glucydur balance with a Nivarox 1 mainspring and has a frequency of 28,800 vph. As with Bremont’s aviation watches which, furnished to the Air Force and beloved of aviators, there is the promise of durability and the facility to withstand any rigours its owner may endure, having incabloc shock protection.
In addition it has a power reserve of 46 hours.
The case back features a sapphire crystal to facilitate viewing of the blued screws and perlage decoration. The rotor is hand crafted in stainless steel and copper.
Having whetted your appetite, there is a caveat. If you want one of these special limited edition timepieces, act at once. The rose-gold will go to those who pre-ordered at Basel. All were sold so you will have to source a successful retailer. The stainless steel, made in a greater number, 250, has also been largely pre-ordered. Their rarity and obvious desirability sets the challenge of moving quickly if you wish to acquire one of these remarkable creations and own a piece of British history.
- Model: Bremont “The Victory Watch”
- Reference: Victory/SS
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43.00 mm; height 17.00 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; retrograde seconds; retrograde date; sweep chronograph seconds; 30-minute counter; 12-hour counter.
- Movement: BE-83AR calibre; self-winding; Frequency 28,800 vph; 39 jewels; Power reserve 46 hours.
- Strap: Louisiana crocodile leather.
- Limited edition of 250