|Nick English’s BSA|
The #watchnerd popped in to see the newly opened Bremont Boutique in Mayfair, central London last night. The grand opening had occurred the day before, and from all accounts, appears to have been well-attended. I just missed seeing Giles and Nick but did get to meet David and Irena, who are running the store. Nick English has kindly loaned them his bike for a bit – so the first thing to greet visitors is a WWII-era BSA, which looks rather good against the dark wood of the walls. I also noted that Giles had donated his EP120 to the window display. I guess this is the price of success for Bremont: none of the sold out EP120 or P-51 watches are available. A blue-dialled version of the new World Timer was also in the window, and the store is stocked with the majority of the other non-LE models. I understand from David that there will be a great deal more watches in store (including some prototypes) in due course.
|The 37mm SOLO with gold bezel|
One unusual watch that is on display is the gold-bezel version of the recently announced 37mm SOLO watch. To be honest, I’d read quite a bit about the white-dialled 43mm and 37mm SOLO watches, and was beginning to wonder whether these were slightly (dare I say it) over-hyped. Everyone else seems to have got their hands on them and I was probably the last to see these watches. I must admit to feeling just a little bit sceptical, but as soon as I saw them, I realised that Bremont had done it once again. The watch is superb. I didn’t expect that the bezel and applied gold indices would work so well on what is effectively a simple three-handed aviation-inspired piece. We’ve always associated Bremont with a simple elegance, but also a certain gritty toughness. This piece is beautifully proportioned, with a lovely balance between the more feminine qualitites of the gold and the sturdiness of the stainless steel sections. The gold hands appear to be highly legible, but also give a bit more interest to the white dial.
I hadn’t realised that the watch would not have the treated mid-section but the version I saw had a stainless steel barrel that looks (and feels) quite different to the ALT1 or even BC-S2 watches. The gold crown also contrasts well with the steel. Irena was also wearing a stainless version with applied gold indices. This looked stunning on its (prototype) leather strap – a soft, lighter brown version of the strap on the gold SOLO. It would look fantastic in 22mm, and I hope Bremont move it into production. The 20mm straps feel far softer and more forgiving that the “vintage” leather straps released with the P-51 watch.
At the back of the boutique is a bar and a seating area. The former is well-stocked, and it was especially pleasing to see one of my favourite (English) gins on the backbar – Sipsmith. It looks as though Bremont have raided their Henley offices for furniture and fittings: the well-loved armchairs are there along with a rather comfy sofa. It’d be nice to be able to pop in and take a load off one’s feet, and perhaps enjoy the books on the shelves (mostly aviation-related). Bremont have a massive display of accessories too – straps, cufflinks, even leather folders. A great place to take your watch(es) and try out new ideas for bracelets, leather and canvas. There are Bremont details everywhere: aircraft gauges, books, propellors, photos and the most amazing display of dials (but you may need to ask to see that, as it’s unfortunately hidden from view!). The whole store is *very* Bremont.