When Bremont announced earlier this year that it was partnering with the airplane builder Boeing for two special edition watches, the three-hand Model 1 and the Model 247 chronograph, we were skeptical. Could this young British watch company that could do no wrong finally have gone one (Geneva-striped) bridge too far with a cheesy co-branding exercise? Remember the Rolex Datejust with the Domino’s Pizza logo on the dial? But when the curtains went up at BaselWorld, we were not only relieved to see two great new references, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on them.
Boeing sought out the collaboration to mark its 100th anniversary in 2016. After looking at a number of other watch companies, Boeing felt that Bremont could best convey their legacy and company ethos, largely because of the British watch brand’s prior work on limited editions. They chose wisely.
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The Model 247 ($7,000) is named after a Boeing plane that was the world’s first all-metal aircraft when it took flight in 1933. It’s a fitting title. You see, this collaboration with Boeing wasn’t just about a logo swap. In fact, the only place the Boeing logo shows up on this watch is a small engraving on the caseback. Instead, Bremont worked with Boeing’s Advanced Materials Research Centre in Sheffield, England, located conveniently down the road from Bremont’s own Henley-on-Thames HQ. While Boeing doesn’t know much about watchmaking, it does know a thing or two about high-tech materials suitable for use on passenger and military jets, and it provided two metals — Ti-64 aircraft grade titanium and a special 465 stainless steel — to Bremont for its Boeing watches. Our 247 prototype was made from the latter.
Calibre: BE-50AE (based on ETA 7750) chronometer-certified
Frequency: 28,800vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Hours, minutes, small seconds
Chronograph elapsed seconds and minutes up to 30
Material: 465 aviation-grade stainless steel
Case Back: Screw-in with sapphire glass
Water Resistance: 10 ATM (100 meters)
Lumed hands and hour markers
“Seattle Hybrid” leather/composite strap with pin buckle (provided with nylon hook-and-loop strap)
465 stainless steel is some of the hardest steel in the world. The alloy is double vacuum melted and age-hardened to provide incredible fatigue and corrosion resistance as well as unsurpassed hardness. While all this wizardry might be great for a Dreamliner’s landing gear, it’s also pretty nice to have on a sports watch, where, combined with Bremont’s patented shock absorbing movement holder, it will put up with more than you’ll ever be able to dish out, even if you decide to stow away inside the wheel well of a Hawaii-bound jet. The use of Boeing steel also gives the Model 247 a direct connection to aviation that a simple logo on a dial never could; that light touch will appeal to the same people who appreciate Bremont’s incorporation of bits of historical planes, ships and code-breaking machines in their limited edition pieces.
Inside this aviation-grade timepiece ticks a modified ETA (Valjoux) 7750 chronograph calibre tuned to chronometer-rated accuracy and beautifully decorated with perlage on the bridges, topped off with a spectacular radially decorated winding rotor that looks like the business end of a GE 90 turbofan jet engine. A touch of Boeing blue on the movement holder and a small Boeing logo hints at the partnership this watch commemorates.
The Model 247’s design is a bit of a departure from Bremont’s other chronographs. Most prominently, it features an external bi-directional timing bezel, which is different from the internal Roto-click bezel used on other Bremont pilot chronos. The edge of the bezel has diagonal grips machined into it all the way around, an effect that’s both reminiscent of a helical gear and an ensurer of good grip. This helical pattern is carried over to the crown and to the collars on the screw-down chronograph push-pieces, which are another first for Bremont. While some people don’t like screw-down pushers, they look altogether appropriate on this watch, giving it a functional, industrial aesthetic while also preventing inadvertent chronograph actuation should you find yourself exiting your aircraft hastily after a water landing.
The Model 247 accomplishes its collaboration with a freshness of design and a mature subtlety.
The dial is spare and largely free of text, only marked by the Bremont logo, the anti-shock symbol and a reminder that this is a chronometer like all of Bremont’s watches. The bi-compax chronograph registers are widely spaced and the sans-serif font used for the dial markings completes a modern, high-tech aesthetic. Look closely at the sweep seconds hand: there’s a small swoosh at the tip in Pantone 286 “Boeing Blue”. Not exactly a Domino’s Pizza logo.
Despite the new design features of the Model 247, it is still a Bremont. That means the familiar curled lugs and Trip-Tick three-part case design with the piston ring middle barrel. The case, like most of Bremont’s watches, is a comfortable and versatile 43 millimeters that should fit a wide range of wrists. The strap, called “Seattle Hybrid” is all new for this watch, made from a leather-composite material with blue stitching. A standard steel pin buckle and the hex-head screw bars holding the strap look burly and industrial but require use of a special tool, which you won’t want to lose should you be the type who regularly swaps straps.
The Model 247 accomplishes its collaboration with a freshness of design and a mature subtlety, giving aviation geeks a piece of Boeing on their wrists without any cheesy co-branding. The non-limited piece is slated for a price below $7,000, around the same price as Bremont’s existing chronographs. Overall, the watch is a brilliant first offering from the new Bremont-Boeing partnership and an example of a collaboration done right.