bremont english tour 2017 01

On The Road With Bremont For The English Tour

A few years ago, Bremont’s founders Nick and Giles English had a crazy idea. The brand was rapidly expanding in the United States and they wanted to find a way to visit their retailers, but not in the typical in-and-out slog that so many brand executives do every day. Then it came to them, why not take a drive? Here’s an excerpt of our travels with the English brothers.

By Josh Shanks
Editor-in-Chief

The idea for the English Tour road trip was quite simple: get two cars, and drive from one retailer to the next and hopefully have a bit of fun in-between. However, in typical Bremont fashion, they over-engineered the bejesus out of it. What started as a straightforward idea turned into a monumental undertaking involving 40+ year old cars, a support crew, sponsors, and even travelling mechanics. The 3,300-mile tour would take the brothers from New York to San Antonio, with nine other stops in-between.

Giles' 1973 Porsche 911T and Nicks's father's 1970 Jaguar E-Type Series II

The guys devised a clever plan to bring over two of their favorite cars; Giles’ 1973 Porsche 911T and Nick’s father’s 1970 Jaguar E-Type Series II. Both cars were right-hand drive, which would end up causing some rather strange looks on the road. After a full inspection, the cars were carefully prepped, packed into airtight containers, and transported to the US via cargo ship. The journey from Southampton’s docks to New York’s shipping lanes took pprox.. one month. The cars were offloaded in Brooklyn, New York, and after a quick tune-up, were ready to hit the road.

Giles and Nick English

Watchonista was delighted to participate in the English Tour. Josh joined the brothers on the New York to Philadelphia & Baltimore routes, while contributor Barbara Palumbo joined up with the gents in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s a tale from the road co-written by Josh and Barbara.

Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way

When I received the invite to join the brothers on the English Tour, I immediately responded “YES!” Bremont had me at vintage cars and sealed the deal with a road trip. I was given instruction to meet the brothers outside of a Park Slope townhouse, where we would kick off the trip.

On a good day, even I stick out like a sore thumb in Brooklyn. So, seeing two delightfully charming and polite Brits cruise down the street (in vintage cars no less) is a quite a sight. For our first leg (NYC to Philadelphia), I rode along with Giles. When we departed Brooklyn, I quickly realized how important this trip was. I could see a twinkle in Giles’ eye as we crossed the Verrazano bridge. Here we were, in a car that he’s owned for 20+ years, in a country that he’s never driven in, and about to embark on a long road trip.

Along our route, we received nothing but smiles and thumbs up from passing motorists, truck drivers, and casual observers at gas stations. For many it seemed to be a brief departure from their day-to-day lives. Also, it was probably very shocking to pass a car and see a passenger where the driver would normally sit.

The E-Type in close pursuit of Giles' 911

For a moment, people could disappear from their current reality and be transported to a simpler time. As Nick and journalist James Lamdin led the way, we made our way through the I-95 corridor en route to Philadelphia.

Jaguar was a sponsor of the English Tour

The City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia was a fitting first stop for the English Tour. After all, when literally translated in from Greek, Philadelphia means “brotherly love”. We made our way to the suburbs of Philadelphia, where we stopped at Govberg Jewelers corporate headquarters. What was supposed to be a relatively short meet-and-greet turned into an affair that lasted all afternoon. The boys presented the brand’s story and product line to Govberg’s staff, sat for a video interview, and even indulged in Philly cheese steaks. After a whirlwind visit, we hit the road for Baltimore.

Cross the Verrazano bridge

Good Morning Baltimore!

I’ll never tire singing the classic Hairspray song whenever I find myself in Baltimore. From delicious blue crabs to stunning views of the Patapsco River from the Inner Harbor, the city has something for everyone. We ended our day at Little Treasury Jewelers in Gambrills, Maryland. The brothers were given a hero’s welcome by staff and invited collectors. After a great event, we ended our day by toasting a pint of British Ale. We were pleased by our good fortune, fairly accurate driving with only a few misplaced turns (thanks Nick), and zero issues with the cars.

Bremont Supermarine reference S301

I had such a blast during my time with Nick, Giles, Claire (who really runs the show), and our support crew.  During the trip, I wore a Bremont S301, which has quickly become my favorite of their collection.

Hotlanta

I’ll admit, I was a little envious following along to Josh’s Instagram stories while he trekked down interstate 95 in a badass convertible alongside one of my favorite people in the watch industry. But I knew it was only a matter of time before the boys of Bremont would be in my town, so I stayed as patient as possible until the band of brothers rolled into the “Dirty South”, crew in tow.

Bremont Airco Mach1 on the wrist of Giles English

The Atlanta Chapter of watch collector group RedBar (along with RedBar co-founder, Adam Craniotes) got together with the guys who run Alt1tude.com – a Bremont fan forum – and they, along with Bremont’s Mike Pearson, set up an event at 57th Fighter Group; a restaurant on the runway of Atlanta’s lesser known airport, Peachtree-Dekalb.

The World War II-themed restaurant made for an ideal setting for Bremont to showcase their collection (which included a prototype of the limited edition Wright Flyer) as well as set up their screens and tell their story to the Southerners who travelled far and wide to hear it. What the crowd had not expected, however, was for a young man by the name of Phil Parrott to be called to the front of the room to tell his story.

Bremont Jaguar MKII on the wrist of James Lamdin

With an image of the mangled 1942 Harvard aircraft that took the life of Euan English (Nick and Giles’ father) behind him, Phil proceeded to tell the story of how he – as a fifteen-year-old – was the first person on the scene after the accident. Nick chimed in to mention that Phil tried to get their father out but after realizing it was too late, Phil then proceeded to do what needed to be done to make sure Nick got the help he needed. I felt honored to have been there in the room as the flood of emotions filled the air at that moment, and at one point looked over at my husband who whispered to me that must have forgotten to take his allergy medication.

Churchill Classic Cars performs a quick repair outside Baltimore

By the end of the night, tears turned to tales of a different kind, and thanks to Nick egging me on, I went home with a Giles English-autographed shoulder and a stomach that hurt from laughing (you had to be there).

Still Going...

From Atlanta, the Bremont brood travelled to Huntsville, Alabama where they met up for an event with Loring & Co. Jewelers. (Special shout out to my good pal Trent who invited me to attend. Sorry I couldn’t make it!) They then drove onward to Memphis to visit my longtime colleague Jay Mednikow and his crew at Mednikow Jewelers before they tackled the Dallas area with Timeless Luxury Watches on Friday, and ended their journey in San Antonio, Texas over the weekend.

Readjusting navigation after a wrong turn

The English Tour’s original final stop was to be Houston, but because of the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, Nick and Giles changed the end city to San Antonio, but asked that donations be made via the Friedkin Disaster Relief Fund during the road trip in order to support those suffering across Southeast Texas due to the incredible damage from the storm.

Bremont group shot

While I personally didn’t get to ride along in the physical sense, it’s been one hell of a visual journey with which to follow. We wish the brothers and their extraordinary team safe travels as they embark for home.

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