If there’s a field of watchmaking that Bremont dominates, it’s custom pilot watches. Bremont says 20% of its customers are in the military, and the watches they wear are typically large and their dials are filled with iconography relating to the types of aircraft their squadrons fly. In fact, Giles English, one of the company’s two founders, recently told me that quite a few watches in the core collection borrow elements that first appeared during these special military projects. What we haven’t seen from Bremont though, is a small and classically-styled three-hand pilot’s watch. Until now.
This week, Bremont launched its first 40mm pilot watch. It’s smaller and thinner than any of the aviation chronometers already made by the company – the height of the case has been reduced significantly from 16mm to 12.5mm – and the least you can say is that it’s the most vintage-looking of the bunch.
The AIRCO range is named after one of Britain’s very first aviation companies, the Aircraft Manufacturing Company Limited, and its a collection of watches that look like what Bremont might have crafted in the 1940s, had the company been around when the MOD was issuing simple watches to pilots.
Bremont is launching the new range with two models, the AIRCO Mach 1/BK and the AIRCO Mach 2/AN. The watches are styled very differently, but they are both presented in stainless steel "Trip-Tick" cases, which Bremont has decided for the first time to manufacture in a smaller 40mm size. Let’s take a look at what makes each one special.
The AIRCO Mach 1/BK features a satin-finished case, a semi-matte black dial, and an orange seconds hand, with red accents on the chapter ring. The hands are syringe-shaped, a common feature of vintage pilot’s watches, and they are filled with cream-colored SuperLuminova. The watch comes on a vintage-style brown calf leather strap. Of the two, it’s the one that looks the most like a vintage pilot’s watch – and, we suspect, the one that will be more popular.
The AIRCO MACH 2/AN, on the other hand, is a little more elegant. The case is polished and it features a slate grey dial, feuille hands, and applied Arabic numerals with curly serifs. The date window is also placed in a different position, at six o’clock instead of three o’clock, and the colored accents are pared down to just a red triangle at 12 o’clock. It’s a much more restrained design and it sort of straddles the line between a dress watch and a daily-wearer.
Both watches are powered by the caliber BE-92A, which is an automatic movement made by ETA and modified by Bremont. The movement is visible in both models through a sapphire caseback. It beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and supplies up to 38 hours of power.
The AIRCO Mach 1 and Mach 2 are both available now, and are priced at £2,895 on a strap (approximately $3,550 at time of publishing) and £3,295 (approximately $4,045) on a stainless steel bracelet.
For more information, visit Bremont online.