There is a reason timepieces from brands like Rolex, Tag Heuer, and Omega consistently sell so well. They are legible, well built, and conservative. It is a simple formula which has done well for those outfitting "nice watches" to legions of men for ages. Interestingly enough, this category of watches is judged differently depending on who you are and how you are feeling. My own opinion on such watches has varied from "boring" to "just what the doctor ordered." Funny how that goes... now I know why people in the know have watch collections, rather than just "a watch."
So here is my review of a very "nice watch." This English chap comes from Britain's own Bremont and is their most simple model to date. They call the BC Solo collection their entry-level range of watches. I guess that is technically true as they are Bremont's most modestly priced watches, but this is anything but an entry-level timepiece. What endears me most to the collection are the quirks and unique points that set it apart from others like it. In my opinion it is a few key details that really sell the BC Solo watch - details that most other brands of this size would never include.
At 43mm wide the BC Solo has that familiar Bremont Trip-Tick case that I am now very well familiar with. Very elegant in shape, it is comprised of brushed steel upper and bottom section with a middle barrel done in what I believe is PVD black coated aluminum. The shapeliness of this case and its impressive curves and proportions make me really wonder why there are still boring watch cases out there offered by other brands. My kudos to all designers who understand how important it is for even a modest looking watch to have a good case design. There must be complete synergy between the case, dial, and strap. Bremont is a brand that tends to do that well.
The black colored middle section of the case with its engraved horizontal rings adds a little pizazz to the design. It is amazing what a little color contrasting on the case can do when it comes to style. At 43mm wide the steel case shared among several Bremont pieces has always proven to be comfortable and well made. Little details such as the middle case ring, lug design, and integration of the Bremont propeller logo in the crown are some of those unique points which I indicated above help the BC Solo stand out from the crowd.
While the movement inside the watch is the same modified Swiss ETA 2836 (that Bremont calls their BE-36AE) which is used in other Bremont pieces, this is the most simple dial execution to date from the brand - though it isn't without its unique and charming details. For use in the BC Solo the movement has the day of the week ring removed and offers just the time and date. More on the dial shortly.
Presentation of the movement is very impressive, and it is visible through a rear-mounted sapphire caseback window. Decoration is complete with perlage and blued steel screws, along with a handsome custom Bremont automatic rotor (which looks to be in brass). Framing the movement is richly engraved text (along with a bit in cursive text) around the caseback of the watch. The effect is classy and masculine. You'll further notice that Bremont has carefully regulated the automatic movement and has had it sent to COSC for Chronometer certification. Further, while not a limited edition, each BC Solo watch is individually numbered.
The Trip-Tick case is thankfully water resistant to 100 meters and has a screw-down crown. Over the dial is a highly domed sapphire crystal that according to Bremont has several layers of AR coating on the front and back of the crystal. This coating is very necessary as the sapphire is so domed it attracts a lot of light which it reflects. While it doesn't effect legibility much, you should know that much of the time the crystal will have bands of light on it when you are looking at it outside. While avoidable with a flat (or flatter) sapphire crystal, Bremont had to balance that fact with an aesthetic decision to use a more domed crystal that helps the entire case look a bit more impressive.
In Bremont's words the dial of the BC Solo was inspired by pilot watches from the 1940s. There is a certain retro charm to the dial, but I would not call this a retro watch. If you need any help in recognizing the pilot nature of the dial, then just look at the red and white triangle used for the 12 o'clock indicator. I've had readers ask me what the origin of these triangles are, and I just don't know. Maybe someone can tell me why what looks like blank traffic signs ended up on watch dials.
Simple and clean, the dial is easy to read but has some welcome details. The best are the applied hour indicators on both the main dial and sloped flange ring. These do just enough to ensure that the dial does not feel flat, but also does not feel busy. All of the hour indicators and the hands have applied SuperLumiNova. Night reading is a breeze thanks to the luminosity. Though one of the quirks of the BC Solo collection is that the dial comes in two variants - which are only modestly different from one another. This version of the BC Solo has the white indicators, while there is also another version with "cream" colored indicators. The indicators on that other model are a bit more brown, and use a different color lume I believe. To be honest the variation between the two models is very slight, but If I recall correctly the contrast stitching on the strap will match the dial appropriately.
As a minimalist dial the BC Solo watch face works well. The selection for the placement and font of the "Automatic" and "Chronometer" text was chosen cleverly. Notice the clean looking sans-serif fonts and wide spacing between the letters. I would have had the hands a bit longer personally, but legibility is still very good. Bremont needed a watch like the BC Solo, and it works very well on its own as well as on the wrist.
Matched to the watch is a supple leather strap with Bremont signed buckle. While I have never seen one, according to Bremont's website the BC Solo is apparently available with a titanium bracelet. The leather strap is nicely padded and I love how the strap ends curve to match the shape of the case. Another little detail which helps separate a watch like this from the rest. Overall the Bremont BC Solo is a comfortable watch to pick up and strap-on. It goes with a lot of outfits and won't let you down. It might not be the watch for everyday, but it is easily a contender for being an "old faithful" member of your collection. Price is $3,950.
Thanks to Bremont for the review unit. Opinions are 100% independent.