Picked up my new Bremont Boeing 247 Titanium watch on Christmas Eve, really pleased with it.
Surprised to not find any coverage or pictures of this model on here; it was 2015's version of the Boeing range, in Titanium with Chronograph and Grey Dial.
So before I get onto the below, just to reiterate I love the watch, there's just a few 'ponderings'...
First of all, Bremont's sales reps are selling the story more than the watch. And that really bothers me.
Every store tells me the long boring stories of why the brothers make watches, where the Bremont name comes from, and then list some celebrities that own them. I. Dont. Care. All 3 dealers that I visited, when I was initially interested in the ALT-WT worldtimer model, told me this stuff. Yet none of the 3 knew how to actually use the worldtimer function on the watch. None had been shown or had the watch functions explained to them by their rep. One tried to follow the instruction manual and failed. In the end a Youtube video was used. Yep, "its really easy to use" - sure looks it. They had each met the rep within the last 6 weeks, and been told all about the brand and their watches - everything except how to use them.
I would feel a bit better if the company was selling watches based on the merit of the watch.
Even the stories...
1) Father killed in plane crash, brothers want to direct energy away from dangerous flight, and into watches.
2) Company name comes from brothers ditching a plane in plight over France, avoiding authorities and hiding the plane in a barn.
- is it illegal to land in a field in France? AD ans) don't know, maybe, must be cos they had to hide.
- if they stopped flying and instead made watches, why were they then flying again when they nearly crashed in France and got the name? AD ans) don't know
- why did the watches originally say made in Switzerland, now say made in London, when in actual fact the internal watch parts are made in Switzerland then put together in Oxfordshire? AD ans) don't know, don't think thats the case they are all made here [not true].
Don't tell me someone else's story to sell me a watch if you can't field questions on said story!
But onto the watch itself.
First thing to notice is that the case is pretty thick. I was a bit worried about that initially as I do not like heavy watches. As mentioned above I had initially had my eye on the ALT-WT worldtimer which has a steel case and chronograph; it did feel a bit weighty. This Boeing model being on a canvas-esque (more later) strap I was worried about weight displacement, i.e. strap really light, tall heavy case making it feel off-balance.
Thankfully, this doesn't give this feel at all. The titanium is super-light; you feel it the most when you have the watch off and you lift it in one hand - it feels robust but not heavy.
As the case is tall, it would catch a shirt cuff. Personally I don't mind as I wear my cuffs loose, unbuttoned, flapping around like the cuffs on Elvis' jacket in his Vegas years. But even wearing it casually with a long-sleeve t-shirt or sweater it catches a little, which I also don't mind too much because if I've got a nice expensive watch on my wrist its nice to be able to see it. The beauty of this model is its understated look that draws you in to see its quality design - people will see it from afar and think its a sports/tool watch, then a closer look and there's so many details and in colours rarely seen in a watch of this quality. So being able to see it on my wrist, I don't mind, but it may bother others.
The dial is very nicely laid out. 24hr indicators are tucked away and the bezel is narrow, drawing your view inward to the watch itself. The GMT hand in yellow is perfect - in some ways the yellow clashes with Grey, but I have found that this seems to result in your brain automatically ignoring that hand unless you specifically look for it, which is ideal - I've owned a GMT watch in the past where I would often double-take to check the time as it was easy to confuse the GMT hand as another hand. The chrono seconds hand has the Boeing symbol on the end which is also discreet, I have no affination toward Boeing at all and couldn't care less its a brand tie-in, I just liked the watch and the material it is made in, so its nice to not be covered in branding. Personally I'd maybe have liked the whole chrono hand to be different colour perhaps, more distinct from the minute hand, but its pretty good as it is. The bezel does the Bremont fancy roto-click thing, which feels very sturdy. Although frankly its not a diver watch and there's a GMT and 24hr function already in the dial and a chrono to time things, so I don't see the need for a rotating bezel on this particular watch.
The big disappointing thing for me so far has been the luminosity. Its terrible. It is so bad that I have been unable to capture it on photos. Considering the price bracket its in, and an aviation brand in military styling, you'd expect excellent legibility at night. Yet I have it laid out next to a Ball Trainmaster (a basic design but granted the Ball has the neon tubes), a £60 MWC with lume, and a £170 Festina with lume. Its the worst of the four; I can barely make it out after only about 10 minutes of darkness. Watches at a fraction of the cost seem to have used better lume?!
The caseback is clear, the detail of the movement is excellent for the basic movement (a tarted-up 7750). The Bremont branding here is eye-catching, as it the nod to Boeing design with the section that is made to look like an aircraft engine propellor. This is one area the weight of the watch it noticed - you can feel, and even hear the rotor moving during everyday use. My only other automatic-winding watch doesn't do this; I mean its nowhere near as noticeable in weight movement and the noise is much quieter. I'm presuming its meant to be like this!
The crown and chronograph buttons are all screw-down. I know Bremont on the Solo and U2 models moved away from screw-down as they were prior to 2010 or thereabouts and moved to push and pull. Here they've reverted to screw-down. No idea why, and as you've read above none of the dealers were any use for answering questions.
It was suggested this was for superior water-resistance, yet the watch is 10 ATM - the same as the aforementioned ALT-WT which has chronograph and none of it's 3 buttons are screw-down (hence having screw-down hasn't provided any benefit).
However I really like the design features of the buttons and crown; they have a spiral effect on the screw-down parts which just gives a little visual difference and a decent grip for use. But on the rare occasions you may wish to time something and use the chrono, it is actually a bit of a pain having to unscrew it first. A benefit of using a watch over your phone to time something is that its right there on your wrist at the touch of a button...not having to unscrew a button 7 times first. So I've found myself leaving these bits unscrewed - not sure if that means I'm more susceptible to attracting dust or water where it shouldn't be.
Then there's the strap, buckle and options. Its listed as a "Seattle strap" on Bremont's site, and doesn't fall under the category of canvas, leather or rubber. Bremont told reviewers in 2014 at the release of last year's models that it was "leatherized material" and apparently the rep has told ADs in Scotland that its "rubberized canvas". Their website describes it as "organic polymer". Everyone clear on that then?!
From what I'm told it is base canvas with other materials mixed in to provide a better element of being water and sweat-proof. It has a more sturdy and structured, tapered feel to any canvas strap I've had before and is comfortable. It also came with a grey leather strap, without a buckle, so haven't tried that yet but its the usual Bremont calf-skin and has a high-quality feel.
The connection to the case is interested - they've deviated from the usual spring-bar. Instead the strap just contains a plain bar; lugs have small bolts on either side (there's an allan-key style tool provided) which, when screwed in, will grip the bar. Unscrew the bolts, and the bar slides out. Its so clever and simple I'm amazed its not already the standard across all watches - so many scratches could have been avoided all these years by people trying to change straps! However their buckle is connected using a spring-bar, and the spare strap doesn't come with a buckle... so to change strap you DO actually need to use a spring bar tool after all! This is a first-world problem if ever there was one, but its a hassle and an irritant given it is now inconsistent with the actual strap removal - instead of being efficient, now I need 2 tools to do the job.
There's also a downside to this new strap-removal mechanism... the bolt system doesn't work on spring bars, and therefore doesn't work on any straps designed for spring bars. Also the majority of Bremont's rubber straps are fitted to the model (e.g. the latest Oracle USA divers watches, the rubber strap is measured to fit snug against the case) so will not fit the Boeing 247. The two Temple Island straps on their website are the only ones which will fit this watch. [Note this info was from the AD I bought from, and as established above they did not actually know a great deal about the watch, so I would be delighted to be corrected].
There is a Titanium bracelet in their range/on their online store. My AD said they did not believe this would fit the watch... yet as this is Bremont's only Titanium watch I'd have to think its pretty obvious that this Ti bracelet more than likely been created primarily for this watch (and likely future Ti models to come).
Nicely, Bremont have ensured consistency by having the buckle in Titanium also. However they have so far only made the basic buckle in Titanium, and a Bracelet option, but not the deployment clasp. Hopefully this will follow soon.
All in all its a great watch and fits exactly what I was after - a casual watch with ability to track time elsewhere in the world (I'll use the GMT to track time in my other office, over a worldtimer), which exudes design quality at the same time. Chronograph I could give or take, but you can't argue with the practical functionality of this watch. Being Bremont the COSC accuracy is a given, its incredibly lightweight, and with a strap I can wear through almost anything rather than caring about getting wet.
I just wish they did 3 more things:
1) Better lume/nightime legibility
2) Made the buckle use the same ingenious system of removal, so the buckle can be changed as easily as the strap
3) Actually had their reps distribute helpful info about the watches instead of just marketing waffle about the "history" of the company - I've got a JLC and an Armand Nicolet, they have history, your company is like 15 years old so 'history' isn't your strong point!
EDIT: Would appreciate if someone could let me know how to make these pictures smaller!