The scale of ambition rippling through British watch brand Bremont is palpable when you visit its glossy new HQ in the Oxfordshire countryside. VIP clients bustle about, dropping by for tours of the premises, watchmaking workshops and peeks at the latest watches. Harrison Ford came by recently, as did Tom Hardy; the other Tom (Cruise) is expected.
Away from such spectacle, technology of a less glamorous nature, but no less state-of-the-art, gives the clearest indication of Bremont’s trajectory. In a huge workshop, advanced new CNC machines run 24 hours a day, capable of grinding out complex watch components to the kinds of microscopic tolerances that the Swiss take as read, but that are unheard of in UK manufacturing.
All of this is being funnelled into something called the ENG300: a watch movement substantially manufactured, for the first time, by Bremont itself. Designed by a team of crack horological engineers in Switzerland and packing in high-spec functionality such as a patented silicon escapement and extended 65-hour power reserve, the movement – or at least the IP behind it – has been acquired by Bremont to manufacture, customise and improve as it sees fit. The company now plans to crank out thousands of ENG300 movements a year.
‘When we started Bremont, manufacturing in the UK was always an aim,’ says Nick English, who founded Bremont with his brother Giles in 2002. ‘It was about wanting to play a part in the reinvigoration of watchmaking on British shores.’
The ENG300’s arrival caused a splash when it debuted in October in a watch designed to exalt the symbolic home of British horological prestige, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. The watch, inevitably, is called the Longitude.
‘We want to celebrate the importance of Britain’s watchmaking history, as do they, and they liked the idea of this movement and what we’re doing here,’ says Giles English.
As with previous Bremont limited editions, the Longitude has a piece of historical matter built into it: a ring of brass taken from the meridian line established at Greenwich by the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed. On the dial, a circular red power-reserve indicator, which drains to white as the watch’s power runs down, is inspired by the famous Time Ball that sits atop Flamsteed House, the Observatory’s main building. It’s being made to an ultra-luxurious finish, something reflected in the prices: £14,995 for stainless steel (150 models), £20,995 for white gold and £21,995 for rose gold (75 of each).