The watch world has a lot of elegant sport watches. These models constitute the most popular segment of luxury timepieces sold today. The amusing thing is that it is difficult to generate a new elegant sport watch, as they often will need to grow into existence. These watches needed to first be good sport watches, and then later (with time) acquire the feasibility of being tasteful. With the AC I, Bremont is ready to fast track it into elegance by offering their take on an existing refined look, that is the dial style of ship deck clocks as married to their favorite case design. What a watch like the AC I lacks in originality it makes up for in design cohesion and aesthetic familiarity.Bremont’s choice to marry a conservative but practical dial design with a sporty case and strap — along with a less than ordinary assortment of anti-shock methods makes the AC I watch more than something pleasant looking, but something that exists among a little collection of opponents — particularly for the price. Bremont tends to get a lot of flak for what’s regarded as high rates. My experience with the brand informs me that they offer quality akin to brands that charge a whole lot more, so I have always felt they are a good price. It truly depends on what you’re comparing them to. Compare a Bremont to some Victorinox Swiss Army watch and it will seem pricey. Compare it to a IWC and the price seems reasonable. In my view, together with Bremont’s clientele, quality, and capacity to offer an exclusive item, they are more akin to IWC than Victorinox Swiss Army (which is a brand I also very much like, but at reduced costs).
New for 2018, Bremont has released a modern update to their 2007, “iconic,” model – Record Scratch – dang, here we go again. Bremont, once a regular exhibitor, has opted out of Baselworld 2018 and instead will be displaying their new models privately to a group of journalists in London. There they will unveil a number of new releases including a new take on the (gulp), “iconic,” and, “classic,” release of the “timeless,” ALT1-C Chronograph. To mark the 100th year of British aviation, the Bremont ALT1-I/BL and the Bremont ALT1-C/WH-BK take a more modern approach to a watch that’s heavily inspired by the British Royal Air Force both in color and style.
Both of these new models sport slick satin finished stainless steel cases and measure in at 43mm x 16mm – keeping in line with the rest of the Bremont ALT1-C collection sizing. The watch will come in two different dial variations – a blue dial (matching the colors of the British Royal Air Force) and a silver reverse panda dial with black sub-registers. People familiar with Bremont will immediately notice that the Arabic numerals are gone, and replaced with applied indices that I feel catapults these watches into a modern landscape, but realistically subdues any character that this collection had. Honestly, my favorite part of the watch is the handset, which was lifted from the polished or “Dress” models (according to Bremont) of the same collection and satin finished to mesh with the case. The rounded handset fits the watch much better than the boxy baton hands that previously sat inside of the satin case models. Both the hour markers and hands are lume filled and spectacularly finished. In keeping with the older polished models, “Automatic” is removed from the dial above the date indicator at 6 o’clock – leaving the simple and clean “Chronometer” and Bremont Logo as the only prominent text printed on the dial.
Inside the ALT1-C/BL and the ALT1-C/WH-BK is the Calibre 13 1/4″ BE-50AE Automatic movement. While the verbiage feels a bit sketchy, this is a modified Valjoux 7750 with a 42-hour power reserve and a reasonably heavy overhaul. The watch features an exhibition caseback to display the COSC certified movement with custom decoration and really neat skeletonized rotor. Credit where it’s due: the movement looks fantastic. The watch will come on either a stainless steel bracelet, a blue leather strap, or brown leather strap to match the dials. While I’m typically headstrong on having a bracelet, I’m a fan of the blue dial on the blue strap. Additionally, the watch is water-resistant up to 100m.
To be fair, these really are well-done watches if not a bit generic. After thinking about these watches over the last few days, I think my biggest complaint is the vernacular used in the description of these two models. Bremont isn’t a stranger to controversy in the words they’ve used in the past, and in the case of the ALT1-C/BL and the ALT1-C/WH-BK they are carefully forward about the technical details and design of these models. However, they are a bit more liberal in the description of where they stand in the modern marketplace. I don’t know that I can call a moderately re-vamped model of a watch they released in 2007 a “timeless classic,” nor is 11 years enough time to call a watch “iconic.” While it comes with the territory when we are discussing the marketing umbrella, I feel that these new models could replace “timeless,” with “safe,” and we would have a fairer representation of what we are looking at.
Price for the ALT1-C/BL and the ALT1-C/WH-BK will come in at $6,495. Pricing on the steel bracelet will likely be higher, and I will update when those prices become available. bremont.com