This week I was lucky enough to be invited to Stuart Garner talk about the re-launch of Norton Motorcycles and their co-operation with Bremont watches at the Bremont boutique in London.
If you have been reading my previous entries you might will have realised this for me is the perfect combination of my interests, not only watches and motorcycles but British watches and motorcycles all presented to me on my birthday.
I have for sometime been sceptical about brand partnerships as some of the connections seem a little tenuous. At a superficial level I had already accepted there might be justifiable link between these two companies, after all many watch companies are involved in motorsport.
In the quarter of an hour before the start of Stuart’s talk began I had the opportunity to chat with Simon Skinner, an actual motorcycle designer, the person responsible for the Norton V4RR.
Simon, or Skinner as Stuart refers to him, is one of those people clearly doing a job he really enjoys and is very proud of what Norton have achieved in such a short time.
I also had the opportunity to try the limited edition Bremont V4 Limited edition watch.
This watch is a limited edition of 200 for general sale. It combines numerals similar to the classic Norton typeface with gold chronograph borders, a gold Norton logo, and again housed in a beautifully polished Trip-Tick® three-piece case. It uses a modified calibre 13 1⁄4’’’ BE-50AE automatic chronometer with 42-hour minimum power reserve.
The display back shows off the special rotor, replicating the motorbike’s disc brake, very nicely.
The watch has a coated polished stainless steel case of Bremont Trip-Tick® construction. It is water resistant to 10 ATM, 100 metres. The racing strap isPerforated black calf-leather with red stitch and a polished stainless steel pin buckle. This is the second watch celebrating the relationship between the two companies, the first one coming out in 2009.
So you are asking what do the two companies have in common. Well they both are making a big effort to re-build a skills base in the UK in two industries that had been pretty much wiped out. This is something that I think most people would agree is worthwhile. Both companies are especially doing this through the development of apprentices. The Norton approach of getting their training scheme to be self funding by producing the spoked wheels struck me as being particularly interesting.
Finally came the highlight of the evening. firing up the TT bike outside the Mayfair showroom.
This is my recording of the sound, unfortunately my second best, my big finger cancelled the best one by mistake.
Two important parts of the British watch world are important for the starting of Grinidgetime – Bremont and Salon QP. Here they are together. An interesting article in Salon QP about Bremont’s military watch programme. Well worth a look :
As I am sure many of you are I am watching the news of all the new watches coming from Basel this week. Now clearly this is not strictly relevant to this blog but there is something that is worth considering, a point I have discussed before that is the size of watch cases.
Bremont’s new 40mm S300 and Aircos appeared to be a vindication of the idea of a trend towards smaller case sizes. The major Swiss brands then seemed to be following suit. The the 60th anniversary watches from Omega, the range between the 38.6mm Speedmaster to the 39mm Railmaster. Then there is the 38mm Zenith Heritage Chronomaster and then for me the surprise relaunch of the Rolex Sea Dweller at 44mm that blows my theory slightly of course
I look forward to seeing how this trend, if it is a trend, develops.
I have been meaning to join the regular monthly meetings of the Redbar group in London for sometime but for some reason or another I always had some other commitment. There was no excuse for missing this one . Firstly, it was a presentation of the 2017 range and secondly it was being held 10 minutes walk from my office. I am very pleased I “put myself out” it was a really enjoyable evening.
Bremont had decided rather than attend the SIHH in Basel they would hold their own event in London, which considering the SIHH is a Swiss watch event seems entirely logical and probably a good bit cheaper.
Before attending the event i had already seen quiet a lot of images of the new 2017 Bremont range – I was really looking forward to see the new 40mm S300/301 Supermarine range of diver’s watches. Firstly, because I like diver’s watches and because of their 40mm case size. I felt maybe my thoughts about a move to smaller cases might be proving correct.
However on entering the event the first watches I saw were the new motoring related models made in collaboration with Jaguar and Norton. An additional non-horological item being the new Norton V4 motorcycle looking amazing. Bremont will be making 250 watches for owners of these limited edition bike.
The main event was held on the next floor, which was were the new Supermarine and Airco ranges were on display. I had to wait a little time to get my opportunity to try the watches for myself.
The Supermariner S300 on the leather strap was my favourite of the new collection, the perfect “wear all the time” watch. The size and weight is perfect, the date window is normal and it is rated to 300m. If I have a doubt it is that the design is pretty “classic” for the type of watch, I wonder if Bremont could have tried to make it more distinctive without loosing its appeal. The only difference I can spot between the S300 and the S301 is the use of the numbers 12,6 and 3 on the S300, the S301 relying on batons. Both watches are available on a steel bracelet, a Nato as well as the calf leather shown in the photo above.
The new 40mm Airco range consisting of two watches, the Mach1 and the Mach 2. Both watches have straight forward three handed dial with a date. The difference being in the finish and the position of the date window.
Like the S300/301 these are both very useful and comfortable do it all watches featuring the a 40mm version of Bremont’s Trip-Tick cases. The Mach 2 is proposed as the slightly more formal “officer’s watch”. i hope to get a chance to have a closer look at both of these watches in the future.
But apart from having a chance to chat to other watch enthusiasts openly about watches the highlight of the evening was a quick chat with Giles English, during which we managed to cover the challenges of producing these new 40mm watches and the currently difficulty for luxury watches, especially the larger Swiss brands. As always it is always a great pleasure to meet people that have followed their dream and launched their own watch brand.
I have now broken the Redbar ice, I will definitely make more of an effort to attend future events.
An interview with Giles English, one of the co-founders of British watch brand Bremont, was mentioned in twitter today. for any of you that didn’t see it here’s it is https://thestand.investec.co.uk/life-less-ordinary-giles-english/
A couple of intriguing tweets today announced there would be the presentation of a new watch this evening by the British watch brand Bremont. Somewhat irritatingly no time was given so I had to keep checking to see if anything had been posted every half hour or so.
My checking was rewarded at about 8:00.
Here it is the Bremont DH-88.
The Bremont 2016 Limited Edition celebrates the de Havilland DH-88 Comet, Grosvenor House, the aircraft that captured the world’s imagination with a phenomenal record-breaking flight in 1934 to win the incredible air-race from England to Australia.
The 282 stainless steel and 82 rose gold watches will be produced to commemorate the historical aircraft and to raise funds for the Shuttleworth Collection. The watches feature the BE-54AE chronometer rated chronograph movement with GMT functionality.
No prices announced yet.
For me more details http://www.bremont.com/collection/dh-88/dh-88-ss