Get your claws into a watch inspired by the Jaguar E-type
The Henley-based brand Bremont has been making a very big noise since it was launched in 2002 by brothers Nick and Giles English. And in the last few years they have turned the volume up even more, thumping the tub in the process for British craftsmanship in general and watchmaking in particular, reminding the world that it is not all about Switzerland.
They started off making pilots’ watches – the brothers inherited a passion for flying from their late father and the brand’s emblem is a propeller – but have since diversified to an impressive degree, working with the Bletchley Park Trust on a Codebreaker watch, making watches for the film Kingsman and earlier this year launching an America’s Cup collection.
They also have a long-running relationship with Jaguar, and last year unveiled an E-type-inspired watch made in association with Jaguar’s ‘continuation’ Lightweight E-types. The reaction to the watches was overwhelmingly positive. But there was also a sense of regret because, just like the Lightweights, Bremont announced that it would only make six examples, and all had already gone.
Not wanting to disappoint its public, Bremont went on to make two production versions of the watch, which are hitting the shops just as this magazine arrives in the shops.
Bremont’s creative team worked on the watches with Jaguar design supremo Ian Callum, producing dials that pay clear homage to an E-type’s dashboard instruments.
“The MKI and MKII pieces had to capture the spirit of what is undoubtedly one of the most iconic sports cars of all time in a subtle and intelligent way,” Callum says.
“The result is a pair of watches that subtly relay some of the codes of the E-type, but which are also easy to recognise as having been created with the car in mind. They simply look absolutely right when you wear them in the driving seat – almost as if they had been designed alongside the car back in the ’60s.”
Bremont has opened a facility at Silverstone to make parts for its watches. The reason for a second premises away from its Henley base is because of the skilled workforce in the area, Giles English told Precision.
“All of our watch assembly and the watchmakers sit in Henley,” English said. “But when it came to machining metal it logically didn’t make sense because of the skillset of people we wanted to employ. The guys we are employing are predominantly from the Formula 1 industry because they’ve got the skills for CNC machines and for machining metal.”
If workers switch from making pistons to creating watch components, some skills are transferable but further training is still needed in order to machine parts down to a thinness of two microns, a fraction of the width of a human hair. “If you are making engine parts you don’t manufacture down to that level,” English adds. “That scale is something you don’t do unless you are making watches or medical instruments.”