Event Report: Bremont Launches in Manila with Lucerne

The English maker of pilot's watches arrives in the Philippine capital.
Bremont Lucerne Manila April 2017-2

Having carved out a niche for itself as a maker of pilot’s watches – including endorsements by actual military pilotsBremont arrived in Manila for the first in early April. The English brand has set up shop with Lucerne, the high-end watch retailer led by brothers Ivan and Emerson Yao that’s the national leader. The two Lucerne stores that carry Bremont are the latest outposts in Bremont’s swift rise that has seen its production grow nearly five-fold in the last decade.

With many of the city’s key watch connoisseurs in attendance, the oversubscribed launch took place in the Shangri-La hotel located in the Makati financial district. Giles English, who founded Bremont with brother Nick – both siblings are themselves pilots – was on hand to start things off in the proper English way. And SJX was the guest speaker, covering the history English watchmaking (having just been in Manila in October 2016 as a guest of Lucerne to explain Breguet’s history).

Bryan Aldrich Chua and Giles English

Bremont Lucerne Manila April 2017-3

Having become the world leaders in watchmaking by the 18th century, English watchmaking declined to almost nothing by the 20th century. Now the business is slowly returning to the British isles, led by watchmakers like Bremont at the more accessible end of the price spectrum, and Roger W. Smith at the top-end.

SJX

Bremont Lucerne Manila April 2017-4

Bremont Lucerne Manila April 2017-5

Bremont Lucerne Manila April 2017-6

Left to right: Alex Chuakaw, Ruel Maranan, Ivan Yao, Leonard Ho, and Mariano Tiu

Bremont now has a near 50-strong workforce across two sites, the headquarters an hour outside London where assembly is done, and a manufacturing facility near Silverstone that produces all of the brand’s watch cases (which are in turn surface hardened by a British engineering outfit).

While Bremont still relies on Swiss movements from the likes of Sellita and ETA, it has significantly beefed up its technical prowess. In 2015 Bremont recruited Stephen McDonnell to lead its watchmaking efforts; McDonnell is the little known but talented watchmaker who devised the MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual.

Bremont rise as a maker of pilot’s watches brings to mind the old saying about history not repeating, but rhyming. English watchmaking’s heyday was arguably when John Harrison perfected the marine chronometer for the Royal Navy, a factor that elevated British vessels to rulers of high seas. Eventually the industry was eclipsed by the Americans and then Swiss. But now English watchmaking is slowly making a comeback, aided by some Swiss know-how, resurgent interest from members of the British military – and enthusiast clients halfway across the world.


 

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Introducing the Epos 3435 Verso, an Affordable Inverted Movement

A calibre reengineered so the back is now on the front.
Epos 3435 Verso-1

The latest from Epos, a maker of affordable watches, is the 3435 Verso. It is powered by the Unitas 6497 – the large calibre most familiar for being in entry-level Panerai watches – but one that’s been revamped to migrate the time display to the back.

Consequently the dial show the time, but also what is usually the back of the movement, revealing the movement bridges, balance wheel, gear train and barrel on the face. This idea has been done before, the Breguet La Tradition being the most striking example, but uncommon at this price, at under US$2000.

Epos 3435 Verso-3

The gear train bridge and balance cock have been open-worked to reveal more of the mechanics, while the top surfaces of the bridges have been given a fancy laser-engraved motif.

The mechanical modification to show the time on the barrel bridge is visible below the hands, with several gears connected to the gear train that usually indicates tells the time on the other side of the movement. Epos has left the subsidiary seconds in its original position, which means it is now on the back of the watch. A porthole on the case back reveals the small seconds hand, which is accompanied by a pulsometric scale calibrated for 20 heartbeats.

Epos 3435 Verso-2

The steel case is 43.5mm wide and also available with a rose gold-plated finish.

Price and availability

The 3435 Verso is priced at SFr1855, equivalent to about US$1850.


 

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