They are the first official British timing partner to the America’s Cup since 1851. To celebrate, Bremont have created a special edition series of timepieces to celebrate its involvement. This series of watches have been inspired by the legendary J-Class yachts of the 30s. For this reason, we felt it was only appropriate to sit down and talk to a gentleman as passionate about the ocean as he is about his watches, my good friend, Sam Laurie – and his Bremont AC 1, the first of the Limited Editions dedicated to the America’s Cup.
As an avid waterman, he spent his early years working for a number of distinguished families, racing and operating the most advanced super-yachts around the world. His adventures began on ADIX, the 64 metre 3-masted schooner, where he was part of the successful transatlantic record attempt in 2002 and extensive Pacific programme visiting the most remote tribes and atolls. He was part of the management team at G.L. Watson that oversaw the world’s largest private yacht restoration project, NAHLIN, which was re-commissioned in 2010. As the Owner’s Representatives and Design Authority, Sam worked closely with the some of the most prestigious names in yachting, design and engineering for 5 years in Germany. Sam is currently Creative Director at One Menagerie, an independent creative marketing agency based in London where he and his team drive business transformation for both iconic international brands as well as the next generation of tomorrow’s challenger brands. He also happens to own a Bremont AC 1.
Sam, when did you first get into watches?
I bought my first mechanical watch after the Transatlantic record attempt in 2002. It doesn’t get as much use now as it did then, but it has great significant meaning to me.
What was it about watches that intrigued you?
My design philosophy has always been such that I embrace precision, style and innovation. The inside of a watch is precision built on a very small scale. Although sailing is a passion rather than a profession these days, watch brands have always been associated with the events I have participated in; Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge to Rolex Sydney Hobart.
What is it about Bremont that attracted you?
It has to be Giles and Nick English and their story. They founded Bremont with flying and sailing in their blood. They are also based in Henley, where I grew up, so I have seen them go from strength to strength over the years.
Why is the Americas Cup so close to the heart of sailors as an event?
It is the world’s oldest sporting trophy.
Why the Bremont AC 1 from the range?
The design influence from J Class yachts of the 1930’s. Having raced on some of these yachts over the years, it’s a fitting piece to commemorate original Big Class yacht racing. It’s an elegant watch that transitions nicely from formal to informal. I particularly appreciate the Bremont triptik case.
What is your favourite feature of the Bremont AC 1?
The classic design aesthetic. The detailing is stunning. The elegant blued hands, the effect created on the dial, the red dot at 12 o’clock and the ‘London’ at 6 o’clock.
What’s inside the watch Sam?
The mark of London and British craftsmanship. The Bremont AC 1 is chronometer rated with a top execution automatic movement. I appreciate you can see the anti-shock movement mount through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back.
How does the Bremont AC 1 fit into your lifestyle Sam?
It’s an everyday piece for smart and casual.
If a friend, who wasn’t into watches wanted to know why they should, what three reasons would you give?
They would have to appreciate they had a piece of engineering marvel on their wrists. They would have to appreciate that this is a piece of art that will tell a story for generations to come. They would be wearing a reflection of their lifestyle passions on their wrist.
Does it get much wrist time?
Probably 2-3 days per week.
Do you wear it as sea?
Yes, sometimes. I have a Suunto for performance racing. It probably gets more time on the water than my Omega, Panerai and Rolex.
What is more important to you when buying a watch, brand heritage, accuracy or aesthetic?
Precision is always the most important value for me, followed quickly by design.
What, if anything has you got your eye on next?
We are currently working with our client, Hawaii-born Mark Healey, the world class Professional Waterman and Big Wave Surfer. I’d love to own a watch that we could create on a collaborative basis with a major watch brand. So it doesn’t exist yet!
What three words would you use to describe the watch?
Classic. Sporty. Original