Bremont's New Longitude Limited Edition Is a Celebration of British Watchmaking
At the beginning of the 19th century, British watchmakers were industry leaders. Responsible for some of the most lasting innovations in the art of timekeeping, they made 200,000 pocket watches per year, approximately half of the world’s watch output at the time. Arguably, Britain’s position in the world of science and technology was so advanced that it even owned time. The Greenwich Meridian (a line running from pole-to-pole right slap bang through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich) was established in 1851 as the base for all terrestrial navigation and timing. Fast forward 100 years though, and British supremacy in the field had lagged; production had halved despite an explosion in demand in the industrial age. In the early '80s, the quartz boom finally did the industry in.
In the modern era of boutique watches, however, a number of British brands have been born, or reborn, albeit with largely Swiss-made parts and assembly. In many respects, it’s the only way to get it done with any level of quality these days. But one British brand, Bremont, has swum pluckily against the tide since it was founded in 2002. Today it stands alone as much for its commitment to regenerating lost British watchmaking as it does for the unique designs it puts out.
In September this year, Bremont founders Nick and Giles English opened “the Wing” in Henley-on-Thames, Southwest of London, and it’s a milestone for both Bremont and Britain as the first dedicated watch manufacture to open on British soil in at least 75 years. It fairly brings a tear to this eye. The investment in terms of machinery, training, and sheer time to bring Bremont to this point is as immense as the brothers’ determination has been to achieve it.
Limited Edition Longitude
Just two weeks ago, the brand crowned a banner year by unveiling its first 100 percent British-made watch, British through and through, in fact, down to the tiniest screw or pinion. The Longitude Limited Edition celebrates the significance the Greenwich Meridian has held in navigation, science, and timekeeping from its inception. The watch is one of the dressiest watches ever put out by Bremont, and fittingly, for a first-ever in-house movement, the short run of watches comes in precious metals as well as the more accessible steel (there are 150 in steel, 75 in rose gold and 75 in white gold). On the dial, a raised central circle portrays the globe, engraved with lines of longitude, into which a circular power reserve marker is cut with a big date window at 3 o'clock and seconds at 9 o'clock. While almost all Bremont watches up until now—inspired by pioneering flight, driving, or diving—have leaned more heavily on the design language of the rugged tool watch, the Longitude LE definitely has a more classic look. And one historic element truly sets the watch apart.
For science nerds, the Longitude watch comes with a major bit of history in it. The Greenwich meridian itself is actually a physical thing: the Flamsteed line, a brass track laid out outside the Royal Observatory and named after the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed. Original brass from the Flamsteed line has been melted down by Bremont at the Wing and turned into a ring visible through the sapphire case back. It’s a nifty trick the brand has used before—incorporating bits of the original aircraft like the Wright flyer from 1903, a wartime Spitfire, or Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose into very special watches—that provides a double attraction for collectors.
From: Esquire US