Ask any Bremont fan and they’ll tell you – one of their (and ours!) favorite traditions of the brand is its yearly Limited Edition release. While widely ranging in design and narrative, these editions are always closely tied to Bremont’s love for history, exploration, or aviation, and are extremely limited, usually due to their incorporation of rare materials in the watches themselves. Some of the most notable past editions have included the original P-51 LE built with original parts from the famous WWII aircraft of the same name, the Victory chronograph which used oak wood and copper from the HMS Victory warship, and our favorite: the acclaimed Codebreaker, a flyback chronograph which cleverly incorporated paper cutouts of original transcripts of WWII-era documents from Bletchley Park – the top-secret home of Britain’s WWII’s Codebreakers.
The rotor on the new 1918 LE exhibits materials salvaged from four different vintage RAF aircraft
For the latest Limited Edition, Bremont is revisiting what we consider to be its sweet spot – British military history, in the form of an inspired chronograph that pays homage to the Royal Air Force, who is celebrating its centenary year in 2018. And in keeping with the trend of the aforementioned, the watch is built with unique elements from three vintage RAF aircraft (a Bristol Blenheim, a Supermarine Spitfire, and a Hawker Hurricane) that fought in the Battle of Britain. You can see how each of those elements form the yellow-tipped propeller that drives the rotor, through the exhibition caseback. You might also notice the middle of the propeller exhibits a unique wooden veneer – raw material which was taken from the Shuttleworth Collection’s 1917 SE5a (a British WWI-era biplane, for those not up on their RAF history).
Also noteworthy is how the new 1918 LE gives back – a portion of proceeds from each of the three editions (75 pieces in white gold, 75 pieces in rose gold, and 275 in the above stainless steel) will be donated to the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) – an organization which has supported current and former RAF personnel for almost 90 years.
A closer look at the Spitfire in flight on the AM/PM indicator
Though it’s powered by a movement that’s quite similar to what we’ve seen before (a chronometer-grade automatic chronograph movement with a second time zone hand and 42 hours of power reserve, similar to the existing BE-54AE found on the ALT1-ZT), the BE-16AE inside the 1918 has one new, key difference: an AM/PM indicator at 6:00. This indicator is particularly handy since the 'GMT' hand references a second time zone on a 12-hour scale, but in a wonderfully ‘Bremont’ detail, the motif at 6:00 exhibits Battle of Britain aircraft, locked in combat between day and night.
RAF and military history buffs might also appreciate some of the dial’s subtler, mid-century details – like telemeter chronograph scale (a common wartime chronograph function, as it could be used to measure approximate distances between the wearer and various auditory cues like artillery explosions), heat-blued hands, or the RAF Ministry of Defense (MOD) ‘Broad Arrow’ motif at 6:00 just below the AM/PM indicator – the latter of which was introduced to this edition with the full blessing of the Royal Air Force – something that very few military-inspired watches can attest to.
Note the different dial treatments on all three editions of the 1918 LE: white on Stainless Steel (left), black on Rose Gold (center), and blue on White Gold (right)
Other classic Bremont details persist: the 43mm case Trip-Tick case with its signature DLC-finished caseband is water resistant to 100 meters, and is fitted with an alligator strap. If you’re new to Bremont, we can assure you that this 43mm case wears quite comfortable and compact, thanks to the relatively short lug-to-lug distance, making the 1918 (and the rest of the LE collection) a surprisingly versatile selection (especially in this white-dialed stainless steel variant), and a watch meant to be worn and enjoyed as often as possible. The white dial is a particular favorite at Topper, thanks to its beautiful execution of contrast, texture, and classic mid-century modern-inspired balance.
If you are interested in learning more about this very special Bremont LE or would like to reserve one of the two very last pieces we were allocated for yourself, we’d welcome you to inquire by calling Topper Jewelers at 888-730-2221 or emailing [email protected].