The English watch house Bremont is the result of not one, but two airplane crashes. This is the unlikely story of the brothers English, their watches, and their abiding fascination with everything to do with aviation.
It is March 1995. A Harvard, an aircraft dating back to the Second World War, is flying in the sky above the English county of Essex. On board are 49-yearold amateur pilot Euan English and his son and co-pilot Nick, who is 23 at the time. The aircraft develops engine trouble and crashes in a field; Euan is killed and an almost moribund Nick is pulled out of the wreckage and saved by a 13-year-old boy. Nick has 30 broken bones and has no memory of the fatal crash, but he survives.
Nick and his brother Giles are orphans and adrift. The death of their father Euan is the real start of the Bremont watch brand, because both surviving sons quit their well-paid jobs in the city of London and make the daring decision to honour their father by creating their own watch brand, because as well as being an obsessive pilot Euan was also a passionate watch lover. Great Britain has a rich history when it comes to timepieces, but little remains of that today. Starting a British watch house is a combination of daring and naivety. The latter in particular quickly becomes clear in a world that is dominated by rock-solid Swiss brands.
Farmer Antoine Bremont
The brothers start drawing up designs, prototypes are created and they can’t believe their eyes at the immense BaselWorld watch fair. The initial models are rugged time instruments intended to appeal to men – no, guys – who drive their triumph motorbikes wearing Belstaff coats. The English brothers don’t want to compete with the established, traditional names; they want to offer an alternative to men who dare to be different. The dial doesn’t display the name English; the brand name is Bremont. Ironically, this name is the result of yet another airplane crash. Despite their father’s fatal accident the brothers are unable to give up flying vintage planes. The fact that this is not without its risks is once again demonstrated when the brothers crashland their old German biplane in a French farmer’s field during a heavy storm. The farmer observes the emergency landing and offers the men a bed for the night and a barn for the aircraft. The name of their saviour is Antoine Bremont, which the brothers feel is a great name for a watch brand.
Bremont’s determination to be different quickly becomes obvious. For example, among other things the brothers sign an agreement with Martin-Baker, the British manufacturer of ejector seats. The Bremont watches spend three days being shaken around in the Martin-Baker lab, the equivalent of 40 years of wear on the wrist. The collaboration results in a Martin-Baker watch and is followed by watches that originate from collaborations with Boeing and Jaguar and are even built with components from a P-51 Mustang fighter plane from World War II. This was Giles’ idea, the ‘geeky’ brother, and it gives Bremont even more stories. The functional and robust exteriors of the various watches not only tell the story of rugged men, they also house highly accurate chronometer movements. It adds extra depth and lasting value to the bizarre and at the same time inspiring history of Bremont. A story that is by no means finished.