The New Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer (Live Pics & Price)
The brand's pilot chronograph is back in a GMT edition.
Following its strategy of crafting fully equipped, seriously built vintage-inspired chronographs at attainable prices, Brellum remains a somewhat exclusive brand – no more than 299 pieces a year, including limited editions. A deliberate choice to remain focused and able to manage direct sales to final customers. Owner Sébastien Muller presented the first model of the brand, the Duobox, followed by the racing-oriented Pandial and, more recently, his take on the pilot’s chronograph. It’s 2023 now, so buckle up, immerse yourself in the cockpit and be ready to cross borders, as the watch returns in GMT format, with the new Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer.
Based on the attributes of the Duobox model, the Brellum Pilot retains most elements of a classic chronograph but adds a few layers of typical pilot’s watch elements. The dial, for instance, is built around large Arabic markers and a triangular marker that reminds of B-Uhr watches – designed primarily to be legible, day and night. First presented with a movement featuring a power reserve indicator – later released in several limited editions – the brand has decided to give it a new complication… and one that makes a lot of sense in a context of a watch for pilots… Of course, we’re talking about the ability to keep track of multiple time zones. And even if you’re not going to navigate through the vast expanse of the skies and cross borders, the GMT complication is one of the most essential functions you can think of.
This new Brellum Pilot GMT retains the characteristic design of all other chronographs of the brand, starting with its so-called Duo-Box architecture. The case is framed by two highly domed box-shaped sapphire crystals. These offer two advantages. First, since some of the height is absorbed by the crystal’s thickness, the case itself feels thinner – it’s 15.9mm in total but 11.7mm without the crystals. Second, as the caseback is also domed, it offers great comfort on the wrist. The watch is well proportioned, with a 41.5mm and a thin, smooth bezel opening on the dial. Lugs are long but well-curved and have a nice polished bevel on the side. As expected from a pilot’s watch, large pushers and crown adorn the right side of a case that has a comfortable 100m water-resistance.
The dial is a slight evolution of what was found in previous editions of the Brellum Pilot, here modified to greet the GMT complications. Presented in opaline white, it offers strong contrast with the black-coated numerals and markers (all with Super-Luminova). Large hands complement the display, but one thing has changed compared to previous editions. The power reserve gauge is gone and replaced by an additional red arrow central 24h hand, reading a 24h scale on the periphery of the dial – thus offering a practical second time zone. And, it can also be used as a navigation tool. After setting the GMT hand to local time, you would point it towards the sun. If you are in the northern hemisphere, the GMT hand will point north; if you are in the southern hemisphere, the GMT hand will point south.
Under the domed sapphire back is a robust movement, presented here in a high-end version. This calibre BR-754 GMT, based on a Valjoux 7754, is not only nicely decorated with its own gold-coated rotor and perlage, Geneva stripes and blue screws, but its precision is also certified by the COSC as a chronometer. This self-winding movement boasts 25 jewels and a 46-hour power reserve.
The Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer is delivered as a complete package, with an integrated black nubuck pilot strap with a folding clasp, but also a 5-link stainless steel bracelet and a set of tools to change the strap and adjust the length. Offered in a limited edition of 23 pieces, exclusively available from www.brellum.swiss, this new Brellum Pilot GMT is priced at CHF 3,150 or EUR 3,520.
This is just thinking out loud. When is someone going to have the courage to make a mechanical chronograph in 36-37mm like they used to back in the day? No worries, I can take the heat.
The concept is really nice overall, but going with three registers to the left would scream for date on the right. And date being black on a white dial is also making it awkward in my opinion.
I like the red gmt hand spicing it up.
I’m perfectly happy with 38/39, and I honestly don’t mind these 42. This watch looks very, very nice.
There’s also the problem of excessive thickness on a smaller case with a modern automatic chrono. I prefer a manual wound watch anyway.
By the way, I think Blancpain has what you’re looking for.
I totally agree with you Joel…my dream watch is the 36mm Blancpain air command….but the price is out of my league.dream…
I am curious at this point about where this will end. A 34mm pilot chronograph? A 32mm dive watch? A 30mm field watch? How about a 26mm dress watch with a 16mm strap for ‘wrist presence’? 46mm dive watches were fashionable only to be ridiculed later. I have a feeling the ‘shrinkage’ trend will play out the same way. There is a good reason why the Sub has changed little in size since the 1950’s.
Guys, we all can wish it was smaller and slimmer but it’s a gmt chronograph based on a valjoux 7750 for goodness sakes. The only makers who I’ve seen squeeze this in a slim 40mm or less is Patek.