Bremont could not be more transparent about the fact that its ENG300 movement — made at its new Henley-on-Thames headquarters, The Wing — is based on the decade-old K1 calibre from Swiss firm THE+, which has licensed the right to manufacture and modify its base calibre to the British firm.
Bremont has taken that modular calibre and re-engineered 80% of it in order to build a proprietary movement to the brand’s unique specification.
It is a significant achievement made possible by Bremont’s team making bold investments in new machinery, staff and training.
As part of the deal with THE+, there has been a transfer to Bremont of expertise, logic and intellectual property along with all relevant design rights, especially in relation to parts-machining and finishing, tool design and fixtures, and the movement assembly line.
Not only will movement parts, such as main-plates, automatic and balance bridges be manufactured and sub-assembled at The Wing, but the movement will be fully assembled — down to jewel setting and regulation — at the new facility too.
“This represents an incredible leap forward for British watchmaking and this weighty progression marks the first time any UK movement manufacturing at scale has been done in 50 years, since Smiths in the 1970s,” Bremont says.
ENG300 is the headline name for what will be a series of movements with different complications.
Its first commercial iteration is the 22 jewelled ENG376, measuring a compact 4.95mm by 25.6mm.
The automatic movement has a 65-hour power reserve, a silicon escapement, a custom balance bridge — designed to pick up the curves of The Wing building — and a tungsten oscillating weight.
So confident is Bremont in the movement’s reliability and efficiency, that watches using it will be sold with a 5-year warranty, a first for the business.
Bremont says the ENG300 series will pass the ISO3159:2009 Chronometer test, but will not be submitting the movements for COSC certification.
However, from next year they will be certified in-house to a chronometer standard using the new Bremont H1 Timing Test (directly comparable to the ISO3159:2009 Chronometer test).
That may sound like marking your own homework, but it is a technicality that very few care about as long as the movements maintain quoted chronometer-level accuracy.
The ENG376 will be seen (through a crystal case back) for the first time in Limited Edition Longitude watches, which were launched last night at a lavish black tie reception, and horology history lesson, at London’s Royal Greenwich Observatory.
Bremont likes to include the equivalent of a historical time capsule in its limited edition watches and, in this instance, original brass from the historic Flamsteed Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory is used for a ring on the back of the Longitude timepiece, engraved with the serial number of the watch.
On the dial side, the 40mm watches have applied hour markers and polished nickel hands.
Running seconds are on a sub dial at 9 0’clock, there is a power reserve indicator at 6 and big date at 3.
Dials come in dark grey, brown and white for steel, rose gold and white gold references.
Production for the Longitude watch will be limited to 150 in steel (£14,995), 75 in rose gold (£20,995) and 75 in white gold (£21,995).
“For us to produce this very special watch, the first ever with a Bremont manufactured movement, is incredibly exciting. We will be making a lot of the parts to very fine tolerances, in Henley and in volume. Nobody has made any parts of any watch in volume in this country, especially in terms of the movement, for many decades. The Longitude celebrates the return of watchmaking to this country. From the design of the watch to a set of technical drawings, manufacture and assembly of the movement and subsequent testing of the watch and its components,” says Bremont co-founder Nick English.
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