Owned and operated by Sébastian Muller, Brellum is an independent Swiss brand that produces small-batch releases with a total output of just 299 watches per year. Although there are countless companies operating within this space these days, Brellum takes a slightly more premium approach, and the brand exclusively produces COSC-certified chronometers at what can still be considered fairly reasonable prices. While Brellum produces a variety of different models, the brand seems to frequently favor chronographs, and the latest model to join the lineup is the Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer, which offers a refined and function-packed take on the classic pilot’s watch.
Crafted from 316L stainless steel, the case of the Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer measures 41.8mm diameter and features a classic round profile with contrasting brushed and polished surfaces. Sitting on top of the case is a thin polished bezel, while large tapered bevels run the length of the lugs and provide a more dynamic overall appearance. At the 3 o’clock location sits a signed winding crown that is flanked by two pump-style pushers, while the reverse side of the case gets fitted with a screw-on display caseback that is secured by six small screws. Both the dial side of the watch and the reverse side of the case are fitted with large box-shaped sapphire crystals, and the dual convex profiles create an overall height of 15.9mm, although the actual thickness of the case itself measures 11.7mm. Additionally, despite being a pilot’s chronograph, the new Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer offers 100 meters of water resistance, meaning that it is more than capable of staining up to daily wear and even most aquatic encounters.
The silvery white dial fitted to the Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer features a domed profile with a trio of recessed registers and a date window at 6 o’clock. Applied Arabic numerals with black-colored luminous material serve as the hour markers, while an additional 24-hour scale surrounds the periphery of the dial and is used to display a secondary time zone. The satin-finished sword-shaped hands feature Super-LumiNova inlays for added low-light visibility, while the tip of both the GMT hand and chronograph seconds hand is finished bright red for added contrast. Although the dial printing is done in black, the “GMT” text within the register at 12 o’clock appears in bright red to match the accents on the hands and add an additional pop of color. While the use of black-colored lume on the hands would have undeniably offered superior legibility, it would have also resulted in a more utilitarian appearance and would have significantly detracted from the model’s refined design and aesthetic versatility.
Powering the Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer is the BR-754 GMT automatic movement, which is essentially Brellum’s version of the tried and true Valjoux 7754. As such, it runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 46 hours. Additionally, just like all Brellum watches, the BR-754 GMT movement inside the new Pilot LE.1 GMT is a COSC-certified chronometer and is guaranteed to offer timekeeping performance within -4/+6 seconds per day. Lastly, as this is a more premium version of the Valjoux 7754, the Brellum BR-754 GMT movement is decorated with perlage, blued screws, and Geneva stripes, along with a 4N gold plated rotor in the shape of an airplane’s turn coordinator that has each watch’s individual limited edition number out of 23 examples.
Included with the Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer is both a five-link stainless steel bracelet with brushed and polished surfaces and an additional black nubuck leather pilot-style strap that is fitted with a matching stainless steel deployant buckle. Since both are included with the purchase of the watch, Brellum also throws in a springbar tool to facilitate swapping back and forth between the two options. I’m an outspoken fan of brands including both strap and bracelet options with watches (rather than forcing you to decide at the time of purchase and buy the other separately), and each of the two included options provides the Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer with its own separate identity.
Brellum is a small-scale brand, and while the Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer is making its debut appearance as a limited run of just 23 examples, it is highly likely that we will eventually see other versions of this new model released in the coming years, in much the same way that Brellum has done with many of its other collections. With an official retail price of $3,450 USD, the Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer costs about twice the price of entry-level Swiss mechanical chronographs, yet it is important to remember that you are also getting a COSC-rated movement at a price that still comes in quite a bit below many of its chronometer-certified counterparts. For more information on the Brellum Pilot LE.1 GMT Chronometer, please visit the brand’s website.