This Week

Watch In Focus - Bremont Martin-Baker

Antishock

The movement is suspended in a black rubber cradle to prevent screws from vibrating loose after years of use onboard military aircraft

Bezel

The internal bezel is adjusted using one of the two crowns and snaps from number to number using precision machined ball bearings

Case

The Trip-Tick case is made of several parts that have a unique design and offer easy replacement in the event of damaging. Case hardening is the same as used on jet engine turbine blades

Caseback

The caseback features the famous Martin-Baker logo engraved into the steel, the same logo many pilots put their trust in every day

Dial

The black and yellow hoop at the end of the second hand mirrors the hoop on a Martin-Baker ejection seat that, when pulled, fires it out of the cockpit

Bremont Martin-Baker

Model Shown MBII

Key Facts

  • The MBI is only available to people who have used a Martin-Baker ejection seat and experienced the spine-crushing 30g forces they exert
  • If the barrel colour isn't to your liking, you can have it swapped by Bremont for a different colour
  • Bremont subjected design prototypes to the same gruelling tests undertaken by Martin-Baker ejection seats

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Bremont Martin-Baker

Posted 15th Sep 2011

Bremont may not have the long and winding history of some other, better known watch brands, but it does have a pair of enthusiastic engineers dedicated to making innovative and exciting watches that push the boundaries of technology and physics.

The strong ties with the aviation industry (and the interest Bremont generates from Air Force squadrons looking to furnish themselves with watches that can withstand the rigours of flight) lead them to develop the Martin-Baker watch. The concept behind it was that it would have to withstand the testing that a Martin-Baker ejector seat goes through to prove satisfactory for operational use.

Martin-Baker have been developing aircraft safety systems since the death of its co-founder Captain Baker in an air crash in 1942, and these systems need to be properly tested to prove their air-worthiness. During the thirty year lifespan of the average jet fighter, the ejector seat will undergo temperatures close to boiling, well below freezing, constant vibration, high accelerative forces in all directions and of course, possible ejection. Martin-Baker simulates all this at its testing facility in Buckinghamshire, making sure that every design is perfect. They leave nothing to chance.

Bremont’s prototype watch went through a voyage of discovery through the trials, bouncing back and forth from the drawing board to eliminate any issues that were occurring. The hardest test to persevere was the vibration test – a machine that could simulate thirty years of operational vibration in just four hours. The test is so accurate that it even wears the tread down on the test manikin’s boots.

The arduous test revealed that the movement needed to be shock protected entirely separately from the case, and so the traditional case mounts were dropped in favour of a rubber ring mounting system. This absorbed the vibrations whilst also insulating the movement from extreme temperatures, so it was a development that paid back two-fold.

Bremont’s dedication to the watch has earned them great respect from the aviation industry, with squadrons all around the world queuing up to get hold of the MBII. The MBI, the same watch with a different dial design, is limited only to those who have used a Martin-Baker ejection system. The success of the watch has even reached the point where American U2 spy plane pilots where sending pictures of their MBII’s on the edge of space to Bremont via Facebook.

This led to the U2 spyplane version of the watch, built specially for the U2 pilots, with other versions available for civilians. There are also more partnerships in the pipeline between Bremont and other squadrons, partly thanks to Bremont’s ability to have their watches independently flight tested to suit their client’s individual requirements.

It would be easy to think that the MBII was a gimmick, but understanding the engineering expertise that went into creating it, and its use within the aviation industry, it is clear that it is more than just another watch trying to establish an identity. This is the genuine article.

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