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.