Bremont Watch Company, co-founded in 2002 by brothers Nick and Giles English, and with Davide Cerrato as CEO since a few days, is one of the few British-owned watch companies in the Swiss-dominated watch market. Bremont has cultivated a distinctly British feel to its watches that embody the spirit of Britain and, in particular, its aviation history. In 2021, Bremont presented its first in-house assembled movement – Calibre ENG300 – marking an exciting moment for British watchmaking that has long been eclipsed as a superpower of horological inventions and production. To test the resilience of the ENG300, Bremont enlisted aviation company Martin-Baker to subject the movement to the same conditions a fighter pilot being ejected from his jet on a bad day might encounter. The concept watch, designed to endure the gruelling experiments, has now materialised as the Bremont MB Viper, a limited edition of 300 watches with a powerful instrument pilot’s watch look.
British aviation company Martin-Baker supplies over 70% of the Western world’s Air Forces with fighter ejection seat technology. A partner of Bremont since 2009, Martin-Baker was responsible for putting the ENG300 through the same series of rigorous tests – Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT) – it uses to ascertain the quality and functioning of its fighter ejection seats: live ejection testing, zoom temperature climb testing, extreme temperature endurance, high altitude testing and salt fog testing. Since much of the testing was carried out in a Martin-Baker Mk18 seat – also found in the F-16 Viper fighter aircraft – the watch was christened the Viper.
To undergo and stand a chance of surviving the trials, Bremont developed a functional, minimalist case for the movement and fitted it with its patented anti-shock movement mount that could be affixed to the cockpit dashboard of a Martin-Baker live ejection simulator. Forged carbon fibre lugs were then added to attach the concept watch to the wrist of an ejection mannequin. The watch not only survived the harrowing ordeals but maintained impeccable time.
…To MB Viper
Having passed the test with flying colours, Bremont incorporated the movement in a grade 5 titanium case with a matte black protective carbon coating and an orange anodised aluminium bezel. In a radical design departure from other models in the brand’s collection, the MB Viper exudes an aggressive, angular, stealth bomber personality.
A juxtaposition of shapes, the matte black octagonal base is surmounted by a rounded orange square with four black screws and, on top of this, sits a round orange bezel. The case is large and flat and measures 43.5mm across (48mm incl. crown guard). It is 51mm long and has a relatively thin height of 10.8mm. The black lugs have pockets machined in the rear to reduce weight; the watch head weighs 58g. Fitted with a screw-down crown with an orange anodised aluminium ring, the case is water-resistant to depths of 100m. Matching the colour scheme of the case, the MB Viper is delivered with two canvas straps, one orange, one black and a black DLC-treated titanium pin buckle.
The white dial, designed for maximum legibility, gives precedence to the seconds and relegates the hours to the dial’s periphery. The hours are represented by small blocks treated with green Super-LumiNova. The chevron black and white hour hand and the yellow and black minutes hand are a nod to the signature ejection pull handles of fighter ejection seats, and their tips are also treated with green SLN. The central seconds hand, in contrast, is bright red.
The Viper joins Bremont’s Martin-Baker collection and is the first model in the MB range to house the ENG300 movement. All MB timepieces have undergone live ejection seat launches.
It’s worth clarifying that although the ENG300 automatic movement is assembled in Bremont’s facilities, the modular calibre was developed by THE+, a Bienne-based manufacture. Bremont secured the rights to use the movement and upgraded it to make it more robust and accurate – within chronometer tolerances, comparable to the ISO3159:2009 Chronometer test.
The automatic ENG352 calibre has a silicon escape wheel and a free-sprung hairspring with inertia weights. It beats at a frequency of 25,200vph or 3.5Hz and delivers a 65-hour power reserve. The movement is further protected y Bremont’s rubberised anti-shock mount developed in 2009 when the brand started testing with Martin-Baker. The openworked tungsten rotor is rhodium-plated, and the movement is decorated with circular graining and engravings.
Availability & Price
The Bremont MB Viper is a limited edition of 300 pieces and retails for EUR 5,975 / GPB 5,495 / USD 5,995. Bremont adds that the timepiece will be individually hand-assembled upon order and is currently arranging client deliveries within 6-8 weeks.
For more information, please visit bremont.com.