Bremont has majored on pilot-themed watches since it was launched by aviation-mad brothers Giles and Nick English back in 2007, and fans of the British brand have proved especially keen to own models based on landmark aircraft of the past, such as the Wright Flyer, Supermarine Spitfire, P-51 Mustang and Concorde, all of which have inspired special editions.
But now Bremont has looked to the future in a collaboration with aerospace giant Rolls-Royce, with which it has developed a smartphone app to help pilots with their pre-flight checks and precision timekeeping.
There is, of course, a watchmaking element to the project. The app, designed for both professional and amateur pilots, links to a special watchstrap that alerts the wearer to key moments before take-off or during flight with a noticeable ‘tap’.
In addition to designing the strap, Bremont has also created a new watch called the IonBird that marks its involvement in a bid by Rolls-Royce to set a new speed record for an electric aircraft, all part of its commitment to achieving carbon-neutral flight with the all-electric Spirit of Innovation plane. The current record of 213mph, set in 2017 by German pilot Walter Kampsmann in an Extra 330LE, is expected to be dwarfed by the 300mph that Spirit of Innovation is predicted to achieve next year.
Bremont, which produced a bespoke analogue clock for the dashboard of Jaguar’s C-X75 hybrid concept car back in 2010, has now developed a special stopwatch to be installed in the electric plane’s cockpit. It has also used the facilities at its Henley-on-Thames workshops to machine key components for Spirit of Innovation’s canopy-release mechanism.
The IonBird watch, meanwhile, will be worn by the pilots during the on-going development of the aircraft and when it attempts its record-breaking flight.
In advance of that, the chronometer-certified timepiece is now available to buy, and logo-shy types will be pleased to see that it’s devoid of any text referring to its Rolls-Royce connection, either on the front or on the back.
In fact, it’s a relatively conventional GMT watch housed in a lightweight, corrosion-proof case made from aviation- grade titanium and featuring a bi-directional 24-hour bezel paired with an additional bold, arrow-shaped hour hand to provide the second time zone function. One distinctive feature, however, is the unusual right-hand strap lug that doubles as a curved guard for the winding crown at four o’clock.
The case uses Bremont’s popular, piston-inspired design and contains a similar anti-shock mechanism to that used on the brand’s MB chronometers designed in conjunction with British aviation company Martin-Baker, which manufactures ejection seats.
Despite the futuristic aspect of the aircraft that inspired it, the IonBird offers a decidedly vintage look, especially when paired with the brown leather strap that’s supplied as standard on the £4,495 model. A steel bracelet version is also available for an extra £300.