Bremont is one of those brands I just like. I like the way they do things, I like the people who run it, and, of course, I like their watches. Now, this presents a challenge for me as their watches are also out of the typical worn&wound price range, mostly being above $5k. While I think for watches that price, compared to their competitors, they offer much more watch for your dollar in terms of design, build and engineering… they still are expensive and that can’t be overlooked. But, for the sake of my own and hopefully your general love of rugged timepieces, I am going to break the rules today and go hands-on with the ALT1-B.
The ALT1-B is a bit of an oddball in the Bremont line-up, with a blacked-out design punctuated by moments of bright red. It’s a bit less polite and clean than its various brothers, but what it lacks in friendliness it makes up for in attitude. This is an intense watch that while discreet in some sense, has a severe look backed by functionality in the form of chronograph and GMT complications as well as an internal pilot’s bezel. That said, the ALT1-B wasn’t just created to add a more aggressive watch to the collection, rather it’s based on a watch specially created for the pilots of the B2 Stealth Bombers… perhaps the fiercest thing to fly. With that in mind, the aesthetic of the ALT1-B clicks into place.
Before I get into it, though this isn’t a new watch for the brand, as luck would have it, its does have relevance right now, with Bremont’s recent announcement of their Kingsman Special Edition. For the new Matthew Vaughn film Kingsman (which seems to be about a sort of organization of Bond-like super soldiers in bespoke suits… that I am really excited for), Bremont was asked to produce 3 special edition watches, all of which have the same basic design as the ALT1-B, and all of which appear on the wrists of the actors throughout the film. There is a model in Rose Gold, a model in steel and the an blacked out model (for the trainees) that is very similar to the ALT1-B, save a few dial details.
The ALT1-B utilizes the same case design as most of the Bremont line up, with their unique Trip-Tick® construction, and beefy 43mm size. As I noted when I reviewed the MB2, the multi-piece case construction is something to behold, something that sets Bremont apart. Aesthetically, it’s quite attractive, utilizing a separate barrel that has textured sides, and beautifully sculpted lugs. On the ALT1-B, everything is DLC black, utilizing the curves for its stealthy intent. Looks aside, it’s also super tough, with a steel bezel and case back hardened to 2,000 vickers for high scratch resistance.
Also like the MB2, the ALT1-B is fitted with Bremont’s Roto-Click® internal bezel mechanism, controlled by the crown at 8. Essentially, this gives tactile feedback when turning the internal bezel, letting you know when it’s aligned. It’s one of those mechanisms that just makes sense, making you wonder why more brands don’t do something similar.
Where the ALT1-B really differs is in its dial design. The surface is matte black, on which a medley of black, cool grey and red markers emerge for a dial that is dark, yet surprisingly legible. The hour index is presented in large black lume numerals in a blocky type. At 12, 6 and 9, the numbers are cut off by large sub-dials and at 3 by the date. It is quite discrete, receding into the background, seeming more like texture than a primary index. This was a good design choice as there is a lot going on in the dial and had the numerals stood out too much, it would have gotten too busy.
The large sub-dials at 12, 6 and 9 are the 30-minute counter, 12-hr counter and and active seconds respectively. Each sub-dial features circular graining, which gives them a greasy sheen, and grey indexes. The grey, which is present throughout the dial, was a well chosen tone. It’s a cool grey that is light enough to stand out against the black, yet dark enough to keep with the stealth aesthetic.
Around the hour index is a 24-hour index in the same grey, which is used with the GMT hand. The area this is printed on actually sits slightly below the central surface, which visually separates the information. Around this is a angled internal bezel, which doubles as a minute and chrono-seconds index. Here, once again, you have grey lines and numerals, as well as small red squares every 5 minutes/seconds and a lumed red triangle at 0/60. While there is red in the hands, this is the only red on the dial, giving it added significance.
Thanks to the chronograph and GMT, the ALT1-B packs 7-hands. The hour and minute are both matte black straight swords with lume filling, for a clean and modern look. The GMT hand is a matte black stick with a red triangular tip, that almost appears to float over the dial. The chrono-seconds is also matte black, but has more mass than the GMT, standing out more for it. It has a red tip and a red lined lumed circle at its end as well. All of the sub-dials have small stick hands with red tips, the only difference being that the active seconds hand is white while the others are matte black, separating out the functions. While I understand the logic there, the white hand is a bit distracting amidst all the black and grey.
Powering the ALT1-B is what Bremont refers to as a modified caliber BE-54AE, which is likely a modified and rebranded ETA/Valjoux 7754. It’s an automatic GMT chronograph with 25-jewels, hand winding, hacking, date, a 42-hr power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 bph. Like all of Bremont’s timepieces, this is chronometer certified by the COSC, meaning it is regulated and 99% accurate. Looking at it through the case, you can see that it is beautifully decorated with perlage, blued screws and a custom Bremont rotor. Because of the stealth aesthetic, Bremont went with an all black rotor with red lettering, which I have to say is really cool looking.
On the wrist, this watch is a mean looking beast. It’s on the large the side coming in at 43 x 51 x 16mm, at times feeling a bit too big my for my 7” wrist, but didn’t look as big as it felt thanks to the all black coating. The Trip-Tick case has beautiful curves that are stylized by the DLC, paying proper tribute to the B2’s the watch draws upon. The dial then appears like a matte black surface from a distance, revealing it’s texture and nuance up close. My problem with many all black watches is that they are hard to actually read at-a-glance, but the ALT1-B is clear as day. The glints of red, and the subtle but visible grey make the information pop-out.
The ALT1-B is unapologetically a tool watch. It’s tough and rugged with a distinct military feel. As such, this isn’t a pilot’s watch that can masquerade as a dress watch, nor is it meant to. It’s a watch to be used and actually worn (part of what I like so much about Bremont’s watches). It’s a watch best matched with similarly rugged clothing and materials. Think dark and earthy colors, denim, leather, etc…
So, I like the Bremont ALT1-B quite a bit. It’s a fun watch to wear that is exceptionally well made, that I imagine if you have the need for tough-as-nails GMT chronograph, and the around $6,400 to spare, would perfectly suit your uses. What I personally draw from it, since I’m not close to spending that on a watch right now, is more an appreciation for how a blacked out watch can be done right. Many forget that in the end of the day, the watch still needs to be useful. The ALT1-B balances the sleek and aggressive elements of the blacked-out design with legibility, for something stylish and functional.