Bremont Terra Nova touches down in the region

Bremont is a young British watch brand with a little over 10 years of experience under its belt and, as a company, it produces just a few thousand watches every year. The company was founded in 2002 by Nick and Giles English, both of who are serious aviation buffs. (One look at a selection of Bremont’s watches should be enough to convince you of the brothers’ irrepressible love of aviation.)

Bremont co-founder Giles English (left) and polar explorer Ben Saunders (right)

Bremont co-founder Giles English (left) and polar explorer Ben Saunders (right)

Bremont’s watches landed on Middle Eastern shores about two years ago, about the same time that the company began proceedings to move production from Switzerland to the UK (production now originates out of the UK). Giles English was recently in Dubai with brand ambassador Ben Saunders as part of a global tour to showcase the company’s new limited edition timepiece, the titanium Supermarine ‘Terra Nova’.

Given that Bremont’s total production run is only a few thousand watches per year, the company’s limited edition watches are, as you might have guessed, seriously limited. Only 300 Terra Nova watches will ever be built and what’s interesting is that prototypes of this very watch have already been put through their paces.

Modern day explorer

Ben Saunders is one of Bremont’s brand ambassadors and he was recently co-credited with the record for undertaking the longest polar journey in history. He and his teammate, Tarka L’Herpiniere, smashed the previous record by 400 miles when they walked almost 900 miles from the north shore of Ross Island in Antarctica to the South Pole, turned around, and walked the 900 miles back to the hut.

Between October 2013 and February 2014, Ben (pictured) and Tarka made the first ever return journey to the South Pole from Ross Island on the same route attempted by Sir Ernest Shackleton on the Nimrod Expedition, and by Robert Falcon Scott on the Terra Nova Expedition

Between October 2013 and February 2014, Ben (pictured) and Tarka made the first ever return journey to the South Pole from Ross Island on the same route attempted by Sir Ernest Shackleton on the Nimrod Expedition, and by Robert Falcon Scott on the Terra Nova Expedition

The duo walked an average of 17 miles a day, dealing with temperatures as low as -46degrees Celsius all the while hauling their own supplies – almost 200kg worth – on a sled. The 1,795 mile journey took nearly five months and the entire journey was done with prototype Terra Nova watches strapped to each man’s wrist.

Using the chronometer to measure longitude, the watch could be used to point to the South Pole using the GMT watch hand and the sun. Of the watch Saunders said, “Having the opportunity to test the next generation of watches on our journey has been fantastic. Most impressive is the weight of the Terra Nova. The titanium provides unrivalled durability without the added weight associated with so many other watches. This was an absolutely crucial aspect of the development. When you take on an endurance challenge like the Scott Expedition, every gram counts.”

This is the actual prototype Terra Nova that accompanied Saunders on his record breaking polar expedition. The hand belongs to him too ;).

This is the actual prototype Terra Nova that accompanied Saunders on his record breaking polar expedition. The hand belongs to him too ;).

The watch

The Terra Nova comprises a 43mm satin and polished titanium case and as you’d expect of a tool watch, there’s a bi-directional bezel that’s charged with SuperLumiNova. The watch is outfitted with an automatic helium escape valve, a crown protector and, on the inside of the case, there’s a soft iron anti-magnetic Faraday cage and Bremont’s patented anti-shock movement mount.

The Terra Nova features a 43mm titanium case and is water resistant to 500 metres. The watch features a Faraday cage for protection from magnetic fields

The Terra Nova features a 43mm titanium case and is water resistant to 500 metres. The watch features a Faraday cage for protection from magnetic fields

A modified calibre 13 1/4” BE-93-2AE automatic chronometer with 42-hours of power reserve sits within the case working in tandem with a Glucydur balance, Anachron balance spring, and a Nivaflex 1 mainspring. The movement beats at 28,800 bph, and is powered by a Bremont moulded and skeletonised decorated rotor. Sadly the movement is not visible to owners as a decorated titanium screw-in case back is fitted. The watch is water resistant up to 500 metres.

The Terra Nova features 24-hour GMT and date complications (at the 3-o’clock position) and, like the bezel, the dial too features SuperLumiNova coated hands and numerals. The watch has hour, minute and second hands, all of which are visible through a scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal.

An integrated rubber strap with a pin buckle secures the Terra Nova to the wearer’s wrist but the watch can also be ordered with a titanium bracelet. The price on rubber strap in the UAE is AED 22,500 (US $6,130).

Our take

Although Bremont is a relatively young company, it has been amassing a global customer base in the years since its timepieces first appeared on the market. This is no small feat considering the sheer number of established brands that have watches in the price brackets that Bremont typically plays in.

Bremont plays in a crowded space but the company has been able to build a reasonable customer base in the years since it first appeared on the market

Bremont plays in a crowded space but the company has been able to build a reasonable customer base in the years since it first appeared on the market

As a new brand to the region, it will take some time for Bremont to establish a significant foothold. That said, the English brothers have been making consistent progress with forging associations with notable brands and personalities, all of which has helped broaden Bremont’s reach and brand recall.

The watches themselves are distinctive in terms of their design and considering the quality and functionality on offer, we’ve found the timepieces are reasonably priced. Given what Bremont has managed to achieve in a little over 10 years, we reckon the future looks bright for the company – we can’t wait for the day when the company has an in-house movement that is built to be anti-magnetic (rather than being protected from magnetic fields by an iron cage).

As for the Terra Nova itself, we’ll reserve final judgment until we’ve had some wrist-time with it.

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