Bremont’s autumn launch parties for its limited editions have become a much-anticipated fixture in the British watch lover’s calendar, and this year would have been the tenth of the brand’s gatherings for retail partners, press and customers.
Alas, this year’s event had to be piped to Bremont fans over the internet, but that did not detract from the unveiling of the Hawking Limited Edition Collection, dedicated to the life of Professor Stephen Hawking, Britain’s greatest theoretical physicist and cosmologist.
Bremont co-founders Nick and Giles English worked with the family of Hawking family to create the collection, which includes three men’s models in steel (£7,995), rose gold (£17,995) and white gold (£18,995) and a diamond-encrusted ladies piece (£7,995).
The men’s trio are 41mm classic dress watches with a retrograde seconds display and large date, Lange-style, at the top of the dial.
It could be called a cocktail party piece from the front, but the more educational cosmological references to the life of Professor Hawking are on the flip side of the watch, where the closed back is decorated with circles of wood taken from a family heirloom writing desk at which he contemplated the mysteries of the universe.
His son, Tim Hawking, explains: “The wood sample in the timepiece originates from an oak William & Mary slope-front bureau desk drawer thought to date back to the early 18th century. My father’s paternal grandmother received it as a gift upon her retirement as Headmistress from a school she had founded for girls in Boroughbridge, Yorkshire. It was given to my father in 1975 upon his return to the UK after his visiting fellowship to Caltech, Pasadena, and would remain with him until his death in 2018.”
Each of the chronometers also contains a piece of meteorite to symbolise the cosmos which can be seen at the centre of a hand-finished closed case back, as well as an etching of stars from the night sky in Oxford, on 8th January 1942, the date that Hawking was born.
The watch’s serial number is printed on paper from original copies of a 1979 seminal research paper commonly referred to as The ‘nuts’ and ‘bolts’ of gravity, co-written with one of Professor Hawking’s longest serving collaborators, Professor Gary Gibbons, that sought to understand the thermal properties of black holes.
There is a production run of 388 for the stainless steel piece with black dial, 88 rose gold with black dial and 88 white gold and blue dial pieces will be made.
The number 88 was chosen in reference to 1988, the year Brief History of Time.
A ladies’ watch is included in an autumn limited edition launch for the first time by Bremont in the form of a 34mm three-hander with date watch with a dial made from meteorite framed with a diamond-encrusted bezel and hour markers; a first for the brand.
On the back, an open case back has a hand-finished automatic rotor designed to look like a swirling black hole, a nod to Professor Hawking’s theory that black holes emit radiation as they shrink over time.
Inside is a decorated BE-92AV chronometer rated movement with a 42-hour power reserve.
There will be 88 made.
A percentage from the sale of each of the watches will be donated to the Stephen Hawking Foundation, which facilitates cosmological research and supports people living with Motor Neurone Disease.
Bremont often has a personal connection to the inspirations for its limited editions — often historic aircraft — and the Hawking Collection is another example, as Giles English explains: “Our father knew of Stephen Hawking having been to St Albans School together, a couple of years apart, and following the same path to Cambridge University.”