Up to speed: Bremont ionBird

Vintage good looks and high-tech features come together in a special timepiece to mark Rolls-Royce's latest ground-breaking aviation challenge

Watches & Jewellery 25 Sep 2020

Bremont ionBird

Rolls-Royce has a long history of record-breaking flying speed attempts, dating back to the early 1930s when the Supermarine S.6B seaplane flew to victory powered by one of the company’s engines. It was this feat of innovation that inspired a collection of diving timepieces, the Supermarine, by British watchmaker Bremont.

Once again, the two companies have come together to push the boundaries of both aviation and horology as Rolls-Royce undertakes another speed challenge with a difference. Its aerospace division has been developing a zero-emissions plane called the ‘Sprit of Innovation’, which is aiming to be the fastest aircraft in history. To do so it is hoping next year to surpass the current record of 213 mph by reaching speeds of more than 300mph.

Bremont is intricately involved in this mission, taking on a role that goes beyond its title of Official Timing Partner for the attempt. The company was also involved in the design of the plane cockpit, which comes fitted with a Bremont stopwatch. Even canopy release parts for the aircraft were machined at Bremont’s manufacturing facility in Henley-on-Thames.

Of course, the watchmaker is also marking the occasion with a special timepiece that is suitably high tech. The Bremont ionBird takes its name from the test rig for the plane, which in turn is a portmanteau of ‘iron birds’, the term historically used to refer to ground test rigs. The rugged watch will be put to the ultimate test on the wrist of the pilots as they embark on both the development and final record-breaking flights.

The watch’s BE-93-2AV chronometer-rated GMT movement is safely housed within the lightweight aviation-grade titatium case. This is further bolstered by Bremont’s proprietary anti-shock technology housed within. Its design has a distinctively vintage feel harking back to the golden age of aviation, with a clear and legible black dial and finished with a brown nubuck leather strap.

The watch comes with one final surprise. Bremont and Rolls-Royce have also teamed up to create an app for both amateur and professional pilots that will provide checklists, timing functions and other handy tools to aid with safety and efficiency in the cockpit. Soon to be released, this app will be able to communicate with the watch via a new Bluetooth strap, informing the wearer when certain timing features have been reached.