As reflected by its name, the Bremont Longitude pays tribute to Great Britain’s role in clock and watchmaking, and contribution to time, astronomy and navigation. In the 1800s, close to half of the world’s clocks and pocket watches were made in this country, as was so much of the horological design and innovation. It has always been Bremont’s ambition to bring the art of industrial high-end watchmaking back to British shores. We take a quick look at this novelty.
Press Release with commentary in italics.
New: Bremont Longitude
Bremont’s Longitude is priced at SGD 26,250 for the steel variant.
Its design theme revolves around the history of adventurers, astrologers and navigators. That is conveyed through their choice of font and railroad track markers. The onion crown reminds us of a Pilot’s watch, while the dial and ‘cathedral’ hands draws on pocket watch or nautical clock styles.
The case diameter of 40mm is just right at the sweet spot, and the watch wears nicely. The short, curved lugs are also a factor in making it quite comfortable on the wrist.
Bremont makes quite a big fuss about the movement. The ENG378 movement is automatically wound and has a silicon escapement which is housed in a custom balance bridge designed to reflect the architecture of Bremont’s headquarters. The rotor is in tungsten, and is claimed to be a tough and robust caliber. Movement finishing is very good, with excellent attention to detail. The English standard of finishing is different from the Swiss, it is rather less decorative and more engineering in its approach. Taking this as the guiding cue for the finishing, we judge the finishing to be very good. There are not too many decorative embellishments as is the norm for the Swiss, but every element required for excellent performance is catered for. Which is not to say the movement is not beautiful. It is rather charming, with its own Englishness.
The movement is certified with the chronometer standard using an internal system which Bremont calls the Bremont H1 Timing standard. This is perhaps not a very useful certification, as it is self certified. Though Bremont says this is directly comparable to the ISO 3159:2009 Chronometer Test. In our time with it, it worked well. Of course a week is perhaps too short to fully understand and test out a new movement, but with this limitation, the movement worked as it says on the tin.
The retail price is rather high, for a basic watch, especially the steel version which Bremont lists at over SGD 26k. Overall the watch looks rather handsome, especially the dial which is laid out and detailed like a precision instrument. The aesthetics are very pleasant, but it remains a pretty straightforward time and date ‘in-house’ movement. And while there is some intrigue in using original brass parts in the movement ring, there is still a large jump to justify the rather steep price tag on this piece.
The classic yet contemporary design of the Limited Edition Bremont Longitude marks a significant milestone in this journey. Not only does the Longitude house the brand’s first manufactured movement from its new ENG300 movement series but it also incorporates original brass from the historic Flamsteed Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, London. At Greenwich, the brass Flamsteed Meridian Line marks the historic position where the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed, made his observations and laid the foundations for accurate timekeeping and navigation.
Bremont has made considerable investment into new machinery, staff and training and the firm’s in-house technical team has modified the base K1 calibre, for which it has acquired the full rights to manufacture and re-engineer from Swiss firm “THE+”. The ENG300 series is the result of Bremont re-engineering 80% of the base calibre, including making a number of design improvements, in order to build a proprietary movement to the brand’s unique specification.
A metal dial with raised central globe is decorated with debossed longitude lines. Meridian lines run from 12H to 6H, surrounded by a chapter ring with a minute track, marked at 5min intervals. Polished applied Roman numerals at 12H is accompanied by polished applied lume filled hour markers. A small seconds display is placed at the 9H position, with a sub dial marked at 15sec intervals.
The watch also features a big date at 3H and a power reserve indicator at 6H. The power reserve indicator is coloured to represent the red ball at the top of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich building. The watch measures 40mm in diameter and 12.5mm in thickness.
A new manufacturing line for machining base components through to T3 assembly will all be happening in the new Bremont Manufacturing & Technology Centre “The Wing” based in Henley-on-Thames, UK. The Limited Edition Longitude will be the first timepiece to house the new movement and the ENG300 series will come with an increased warranty of 5 years.
The 22 jewelled ENG376 movement boasts an enviable technical specification. 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 sought to make improvements wherever there was an opportunity to enhance the toughness of the base calibre. One notable improvement was choosing to utilise a full balance bridge, which supports the balance wheel assembly. To fine tune the movement’s accuracy, traditional adjustment screws are used on the free sprung balance wheel, a more difficult method of rate adjustment, but also more precise, and 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.
Original brass from the historic Flamsteed Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, London, can be seen forming a ring in the back of the Longitude timepiece, engraved with the serial number of the watch. With a power reserve of 65 hours, this special timepiece has its power reserve indicator at the 6 o’clock position resembling the
Royal Observatory Greenwich’s red time ball, a simple yet ingenious visual device that gave nineteenth century sailors accurate time. The Longitude also features a big date function and an off-set seconds hand at 9-o’clock.
With only a very exclusive run of 150 steel, 75 rose gold and 75 white gold pieces available, the Longitude is the first of Bremont’s historic Limited Editions to be produced at The Wing.
This represents an incredible leap forward for British watchmaking and this weighty progression marks the first time any UK movement manufacturing at scale has been done in 50 years, since Smiths in 1971.
TECHNICAL FEATURES BREMONT LONGITUDE
Bremont 11 1/2” ENG-376 automatic movement, 22 Jewels. Silicon escape wheel and pallet running at 25,200bph (3.5Hz). Free sprung hair spring with inertia weight timed balance & KIF Shock protection. Uni-Directional winding with solid Tungsten oscillating weight. 65h Power Reserve. Rhodium plated bridges with gold plated automatic bridge. Blued bridge screws.
Central Hour/minute. Running seconds at 9H. Power reserve indicator at 6H. Big date at 3H.
Polished Stainless Steel, Polished 18ct Rose Gold, Polished 18ct White Gold. Bremont Trip-Tick® construction with scratch resistant PVD treated case barrel. Screw down onion crown.
Case Diameter: 40mm. Case Length: 49mm. Lug width: 20mm. Depth: 12.5mm.
Polished Stainless Steel, Polished 18ct Rose Gold, Polished 18ct White Gold case back with integrated flat sapphire crystal, with four polished screws of matching material. Ring of meridian line insert set behind the sapphire crystal with Longitude coordinates for the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and The Wing – Bremont’s Manufacturing and Technology Centre.
DIAL & HANDS
Metal dial with raised central globe with debossed longitude lines. Meridian line running from 12H to 6H. Chapter ring with a minute track, marked at 5min intervals. Polished applied Roman numerals at 12H. Polished applied hour markers filled with SLN. Recessed running seconds sub dial marked at 15sec intervals. Big date at 3H. Power reserve indicator at 6H, coloured
to represent the red ball at the top of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich building. Polished nickel plated hands.
Domed anti-reflective, scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
Stainless Steel: 10 ATM, 100 metres. Rose Gold: 5 ATM, 50 metres. White Gold: 5 ATM, 50 metres.
Stainless Steel: Alligator embossed calf leather. Rose Gold: Brown Alligator.
White Gold: Black Alligator.