The Bremont H-4 Hercules in platinium

The Hercules Takes Flight: Bremont Introduces The H-4 Hercules

Since 2002, Bremont has created uniquely made pilot's watches. From the Wright Flyer to the Martin Baker, there's a watch for everyone who has a soft spot for aviation. This year, Bremont launches the H-4 Hercules, inspired by Howard Hughes’ famous Spruce Goose.

By Viviana Shanks

Bremont has always had quite a penchant for aviation. It is a fundamental part of their history. After last year’s Supersonic, inspired by the fastest plane on earth, we were all left wondering what was hiding under the British watchmaker wing. We were not disappointed. Fasten your seatbelts!

Howard Hughes

This man needs no introduction, as he is probably the most ambitious man that ever lived. From investor to record-setting pilot, engineer, and film producer. Often contracted for high-budget movies, Hughes’ contributions to the world of filmmaking are still used today. He became famous for never giving up and always trying to improve and always go above and beyond what the convention said, no matter the challenge.

However, he is most known for his prominent role in the aviation industry, where he broke air speed records as a test pilot and by buying TWA. During the Golden Age of Aviation, he made air travel an exercise in luxury and glamour. Moreover, his passion for aviation didn't stop there as he often designed planes and ended up creating the biggest plane on earth (at the time).

The Hughes H-4 Hercules

In 1942, builder and manufacturer Henry J. Kaiser teamed up with designer Howard Hughes to create a prototype of a strategic airlift flying boat, meant for transatlantic transportation during World War II. Commissioned by the government, the "flying boat" was supposed to be big enough to hold up to 150,000 pounds, equaling around 750 equipped troops or two 30 ton M4 Sherman tanks.

Following War Department requirements to conserve metal, the airplane was made entirely of wood, more precisely of birch. More impressively, the exterior was flawless without any sign of rivets. Indeed, to master the changing moods of wood, Hughes used a new material called Duramold. Then the entire surface of the aircraft was sanded by hand, finished with rice paper, and a thin layer of aluminum paint was applied, giving it a grey color. It was just a small indicator of how much a perfectionist Howard Hughes was.

Despite his detractors believing that the plane was too big to fly, Hughes didn't give up. On November 2nd, 1947, the aircraft taxied on Long Beach Harbor and operated, to the surprise of everyone, and flew for 26 historical seconds. After its maiden flight, however, the Hercules never flew again, due to the operational costs. Today, you can see the plane at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in Oregon.

Although the Hercules was the largest flying boat ever built, it wasn't completed in time to be used in World War II. But, as his most prized project, that did not stop Hughes from finishing it. Today still, this accomplishment symbolizes one of humankind’s most significant attempts to conquer the skies.

The Bremont H-4 Hercules Watch

Thankfully, Bremont did not go as far as making the largest pilots' watch ever made. However, the brand still created a beautiful and earnest tribute to the legendary airplane and personality that was Howard Hughes. Having had the chance to try on the new H-4 Hercules watch, I was not disappointed. The 42mm case fits perfectly on my small wrist, and the color of the dial is true to the 40's style of the plane.

The 42mm piece will be available in platinum, rose gold, or steel, and feature original birchwood from the iconic plane’s fuselage. The watch also houses an automatic movement BWC/01made in partnership with movement house, La Joux Perret.

The watch is limited to 300 pieces in stainless steel, 75 in rose gold, and 75 in platinum. All pieces come with brand new re-imagined packaging that includes a piece of the fabric used in the record-setting plane. As a nice gesture, and to maintain a piece of history, a percentage of the proceeds will go toward the aircraft’s preservation at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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