Tested: Bremont BC SOLO
written by A.Morgan - 14th Nov 2011
Over the past few years, Bremont has flourished from just a young, burgeoning watch manufacturer into a widely recognised and highly regarded brand favoured by the likes of Bear Grylls and Tom Cruise.
Firm favourites like the ALT1-C and the MBII give the brand a respectable range that has graced the wrists of Air Force pilots around the world, but the danger of success like this often comes from alienating the cheaper end of the market as the higher end starts to draw in the crowds. The announcement of £7450 P-51 could well have signified such a move, but relief came soon after in the form of the BC-SOLO.
A modern take on the classic pilots watch, the BC-SOLO holds on firmly to the company’s theme of flying, perhaps even more so than previously in a practical sense. Inspiration obviously comes from watches such as the IWC Mark XVI, but the Bremont touch gives it enough of its own identity to make it more than just a marketing exercise to fill in a hole in their range.
The most striking detail is the now-familiar Trip-Tick case, carried over from the Bremonts that came before it. The complicated machining and alternate-coloured PVD’d ‘barrel’ make it as unique a case as you will ever find in this price range (and even higher), and it does raise the question as to why other manufacturers err so far on the side of caution (read: blandness) with their own case designs. The combination of the sculpted shape and the thin bezel make its relatively large 43mm diameter appear just right on the wrist, also partly thanks to being slightly thinner than its siblings.
The dial is a marmite deal – some like it, some don’t, the plain, simple fonts making for easy legibility but also giving the empty space perhaps an over-simplistic look. As with the IWC Mark XVI, there will be a definite divide between those who like it and those who don’t.
But there’s no faulting the quality of dial, or indeed any of the other little details that begin to show themselves over time. The propeller on the crown, for example, or the four raised dial markers that are ever-so-slightly embedded into the chapter ring, the triangle at twelve even angled down towards the dial. It’s all about the little touches, and that’s why this simple looking, ETA-powered watch commands a price of £2,550. To be honest, in this time of absurdly regular price increases, that even begins to sound like a bit of a bargain.
What this isn’t, despite often being referred to as one, is an entry level watch. It is priced as such, but you don’t find compromise or corner-cutting; the lume is full and bright and the leather strap is soft and chunky, and even has curved spring bars. Instead it is a back-to-basics, no-nonsense watch for people with nothing to prove and everything to live for. It should sell by the cockpit-load.