Exceptionally accurate, military grade, and the first watches to be manufactured in Britain for generations, Bremont’s timepieces are certainly distinctive.
So, what’s the story behind this exceptional British manufacturing outfit?
“Well, we have three important pillars behind our watches: British engineering, aviation and the military,” explains Bremont co-founder, Giles English, before divulging a bit of family history.
As children, Giles and his co-founder brother, Nick, loved nothing more than spending hours observing and helping their engineer and pilot father, Euan English, in his workshop. The two generations tinkered with planes, cars, motorbikes and other mechanical devices including clocks, for hours on end – sometimes taking to the skies or roads on a family adventure. “Thanks to our father, we’ve always had this sense of adventure as to how we live,” explains Giles. “And his love of the workshop definitely influenced us."
Giles and Nick English
The boys followed in their aviator-father’s footsteps when they both qualified as pilots whilst at university. However, everything changed in 1995 after a flight in a WWII aircraft went horribly wrong. Nick and Euan were practising for an air show when the plane went down, killing the boys’ father and leaving Nick struggling for his life. After Nick had recovered from the tragic incident, the brothers decided it was carpe diem time: “that was our tipping point to think let’s start doing something that we love,” explains Giles. And after some initial research and manufacturing in the global watchmaking capital of Switzerland, it was take off time for Bremont in Britain.
...that was our tipping point to think let’s start doing something that we love.
Nick and Euan English
The English family began selling Bremont watches in 2007, and by 2010 they had managed to bring the entire watchmaking process back to the UK. “That’s a massive thing,” says Giles, “as we haven’t built watches in the UK for many, many years. So we were really starting from scratch.” “We didn’t want to be a British brand that just outsourced everything abroad,” he adds. “We wanted to have a level of control and we wanted to be a high-end watchmaker. And we also wanted to play our part in really rebuilding the British watch industry.”
So, on to the nuts and bolts – what makes Bremont’s aviation-inspired watches special?
At Bremont’s Oxfordshire factory, 160 skilled watchmakers (Bremont has now launched its own training scheme) fix together the cogs and gears of each of the mini-handle-powered watches. It’s an intricate and lengthy process, which includes: machining the metal, a five stage polishing process and numerous quality checks. “We will probably have about 100 people who have a part in the process of making each watch,” explains Giles.
“A mechanical watch will be accurate to within about three or four seconds – the most accurate watch on the planet,” explains Giles. “So you’re machining to find those levels of accuracy. We are pushing for accuracy at a higher level than any other industry in the UK. It’s very challenging but if you get it right it's very pleasing,” he adds.
A mechanical watch will be accurate to within about three or four seconds – the most accurate watch on the planet.
Giles explains that although Bremont’s watches are manufactured principally for technical brilliance and are not really created for the fashion space, they are beautiful, heirloom jewellery pieces. In particular, Bremont’s special edition precision ranges are hugely sought after. “We introduced this collection which has become quite famous, called the Martin Baker range, which was a watch we started manufacturing and testing with Martin Baker. “It’s the only watch to have ever gone through live ejection testing. And the watch is quite trendy and has lots of unique features and that really pushed us.”
The Martin Baker range
2019 is the year of Bremont’s Supersonic Watch, created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Concord, in conjunction with British Airways. And the most recent release, which debuted in March, is the MOD collection (20% of the watches Bremont make are commissioned and used by the military). “Working with the Ministry of Defence, we’ve launched this range of watches which have the Army, Navy and Air Force insignia on them,” explains Giles.
Bremont's Supersonic Watch
Because they are British-made, much like Ettinger’s collections, Bremont watches are a cut above many, more generic, luxury brands. And, to add to this, only around 10,000 are sold each year, making these pieces sought after and unusual. We suggest you get your hands on one before the English brothers’ business goes stratospheric.
Bremont watches in Ettinger's new Lifestyle Watch Rolls