Bremont Delivers On Its Promise With The Brand’s First Manufacture Movement & Longitude LE Collection
Around five years ago, Bremont took some flak from the watch community about its claims to an "in-house" movement. In the years that followed, brothers Nick and Giles English have made an audacious gamble to do just that.
It was a warm summer evening in 2014 that I found myself at RedBar Crew’s evening to celebrate the UK-based brand Bremont. Earlier in the day, the brand had released their Wright Flyer timepiece, and to put it mildly, they ruffled a few feathers. In the press release and marketing materials for the watch, the brand included a reference that claimed the Wright Flyer watch contained an “in-house movement” that was “designed and developed in Britain.” That evening we could on to mark a turning point for the UK-based brand.
As it turned out, the Bremont BWC/01 movement was the La Joux-Perret calibre reference 6901. The movement was just signed “London.” Luckily for the brand, 2014 was still very much the early days of social media and watch blogs. So even though the reaction was mixed, it wasn’t anywhere near the firestorm that it would’ve been had this happened today.
However, Bremont Co-Founder Nick English issued a formal apology via our friends at HODINKEE, Monochrome, and more.
Enter the Wing
Following the controversy, Bremont’s co-founders Nick and Giles English realized that they needed to put their money where their mouths were and invested over £20 million into The Wing. A two-story, 35,000 square foot facility in Henley-on-Thames, just outside of London.
Since they broke ground on The Wing, the English brothers have had a singular vision to bring high-end watchmaking back to the UK. Now one could argue that Roger W. Smith and his teacher George Daniels were the originators of the modern renaissance in UK-based watchmaking. Still, instead of producing a handful of pieces a year, Bremont aims to industrialize the production of its watches and movements.
Introducing The Bremont ENG300 Calibre
Today, Bremont has announced its first genuinely unique calibre. In a press release, the brand was careful to use the term “in-house” sparingly. After all, the new ENG300 Calibre is technically a remastered movement. Bremont has acquired the rights to manufacture and re-engineer an original ébauche (base movement) named the K1 calibre from Swiss firm The+.
The new ENG300 movement features several improvements over its K1 base, including a silicon escapement that was also partially redesigned to add shock resistance. Additionally, the brand boasts that many of the replacement components for the K1 will be produced at The Wing.
In terms of technical specifications, the ENG300 movement features 22 jewels, a power reserve of 65 hours, and a fully tungsten rotor. The brand has made additional design improvements to the balance bridge, winding bridge stones, and wheel bridges.
Speaking about the brand’s new movement, Bremont Co-Founder Giles English said, “We’ve been working for so many years to manufacture a movement in the UK and build the whole process. This is a massive step towards where we want to be. There’s a lot of growth to go and a lot more we want to do. But this is a massive milestone. We are very proud of it.”
Ok, so let’s get down to why this is a Bremont manufacture movement. First off, the brand now owns the IP to the original K1 calibre from The+. Secondly, the brand has completed a transfer of expertise and practices from The+. Third, Bremont is now manufacturing, assembling, and certifying its new ENG300 movements in-house using the Bremont H1 Timing Standard, similar to the ISO3159:2009 Chronometer test.
What’s important to note is that Bremont is not claiming to produce 100% of the components of the ENG300 in-house. After all, Rolex and Seiko are the only two entirely vertically integrated manufactures. But it’s worth noting that movement parts, main-plates, balance bridges are manufactured and finished at Bremont’s Manufacturing & Technology Centre. Finally, the movement is fully assembled in-house, including jewel setting and regulation.
So, purists, stand down. Bremont has achieved something admirable here and took a massive gamble that the watch community at large would be interested in obtaining a UK-manufactured watch and movement.
The question now facing the industry becomes: Is buying the IP rights to and blueprints for an ébauche in order to produce your own movement a shortcut?
In my opinion, it is. But, at the end of the day, the English brothers have learned from their past misadventures and continue to make strides towards an actual “UK Made” future.
The Bremont Longitude Limited Edition Collection
Of course, a watch movement isn’t worth its weight without a watch to power, which is why to coincide with the ENG300’s release, Bremont has released a new lineup of limited edition watches to house the new manufacture calibre.
The new Longitude Limited Edition collection was created in partnership with the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, UK. Part of the Royal Museums Greenwich organization, the Royal Observatory also stands on the exact location that marks the precise place of the origin of space and time, i.e., the prime meridian of the world at Longitude 0° 0’ 0’. Essentially, the always shy and humble Britons have put themselves at the center of the universe for their new launch.
Sized at 40mm and produced in three versions, the Bremont Longitude Limited Edition collection is the proud host to the brand’s new ENG300 manufacture calibre. It features numerous nods to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, like a red time ball at 6 o’clock to indicate the power reserve, a nod to marine chronometers from the 19th century. Furthermore, the watch boats a big date and offset seconds hand at 9 o’clock.
The Longitude collection is the first Bremont Limited Edition to be produced at The Wing. This is quite an accomplishment if you think that in parallel to the production of this watch, Bremont was also hard at work on a new movement to power it. The watches are finished with an anthracite dial in the steel and rose gold versions, or a silver-white dial in the white gold version.
“For us to produce this very special watch, the first-ever with a Bremont manufactured movement, is incredibly exciting,” said Bremont Co-Founder Nick English in the press release. “Nobody has made any parts of any watch in volume in this country, especially in terms of the movement, for many decades. The Longitude celebrates the return of watchmaking to this country. From the design of the watch to a set of technical drawings, manufacture, and assembly of the movement and subsequent testing of the watch and its components.”
Pricing & Availability
The Bremont Longitude Limited Editions are the first models equipped with the brand’s new ENG300 manufacture movement. Available in steel, rose gold, and white gold, the Longitude LE collection starts at $16,995 in steel, $23,995 in rose gold, and $24,995 in white gold. Each watch comes with a matching alligator leather strap.
A portion of each Bremont Longitude Limited Edition proceeds will be donated to the Royal Museums Greenwich. To learn more about the collection and Bremont, visit the brand’s website.
(Images © Bremont)