One reason that I’m hesitant to call the AC I a sport watch is the lack of luminant – but I don’t think it is a deal breaker. With the high level of dial contrast, even though the hour markers and hands aren’t painted with luminant, the dial of the AC I is actually legible, in more lighting situations than watches with luminant. Rarely are people in total darkness with charged luminant dials. So while there is some lost functionality in that the dial doesn’t have luminant, its high-contrast design makes it legible the vast majority of the time.
Let’s be honest about the fact that the dial design, albeit elegant, is extremely conservative and a bit old-school. As stated above, the design sensibility of the dial feels like a combination of IWC and A. Lange & Söhne – both excellent brands to be associated with. Though, the combination of refined elegance and activity is a skill that Bremont has been able to hone on its own – even if other brands are similarly inspired when it comes to the aesthetic look of their dials. When it comes down to it, what each of them is designing is originally inspired by boat instruments and clocks.
Inside the Bremont AC I is a movement the brand calls their caliber BE-36AE. This base Swiss ETA automatic movement offers the time and date, and is COSC Chronometer certified for accuracy. The movement operates at 4Hz with two days of power reserve. It is nicely decorated, has a custom Bremont rotor, and is displayed through the caseback. Don’t forget that Bremont designed the case to have a gel-style holding ring for the movement, which is intended to absorb shock and vibration that could damage or affect performance of the movement.
The watch world has a lot of elegant sport watches. These models make up the most popular segment of luxury timepieces sold today. The funny thing is that it is difficult to make a new elegant sport watch, as they often need to mature into existence. This is true of such famed watches like the Omega Speedmaster and Rolex Submariner (among others). These watches needed to first be good sport watches, and then later (with time) acquire the designation of being elegant. With the AC I, Bremont is able to fast track it to elegance by offering their take on an existing refined look, which is the dial style of ship deck clocks as married to their popular case design. What a watch like the AC I lacks in originality it makes up for in design cohesion and aesthetic familiarity.
Bremont’s decision to marry a conservative but useful dial design with a sporty case and strap – along with a less than common assortment of anti-shock systems makes the AC I watch more than something nice looking, but something that exists among a small list of competitors – especially for the price. Bremont tends to get a lot of flak for what is seen as high prices. My experience with the brand tells me that they offer quality akin to brands that charge a lot more, so I’ve always felt they are a good value. It really depends on what you are comparing them to. Compare a Bremont to a Victorinox Swiss Army watch and it will seem expensive. Compare it to an IWC and the price seems fair. In my opinion, with Bremont’s clientele, quality, and ability to offer an exclusive object, they are more akin to IWC than Victorinox Swiss Army (which is a brand I also very much like, but at lower prices).
Bremont also made a more exclusive limited edition version of the AC I with “Bermuda” on the dial as opposed to other language. This is going to be the hotel model if you like the look of this watch, but have a connection to Bermuda (which is a great place to love if you are so inclined). More so, without taxes, buying watches in Bermuda is cheaper than most places in the world – including the United States.
Depending on how you look at it, the Bremont AC I is an ideal preppy sport watch, or modern sport watch inspired by the timeless gentlemanly elegance of sailboat racing. The look is ideal for someone who is a bit more on the mature side, but really does like to accumulate calluses on their hands on a regular basis. Throw a leather or alligator strap on it and you have a more than appropriate evening or casual watch, or keep it on the rubber strap and get it dirty and wet.
The AC I isn’t a cheap watch, but given the effort put into it, you wouldn’t be correct calling it overly expensive. For the size of the brand, the overall design, and the components, I would say that the cost is far from bargain territory, but isn’t exploitative of the consumer. I think Bremont needs to make more of these and perhaps eventually turn it into a whole Bermuda collection (which makes sense for the brand since the beautiful island nation is still technically controlled by England). Price for the limited edition of 535 pieces Bremont AC I watch is $4,695 USD. bremont.com
>Model: AC I
>Price: $4,695 USD
>Size: 43mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Conservative fellow who likes watches and requires something suitable to wear for sport and activity purposes.
>Best characteristic of watch: Surprises you as being a capable sport watch even though the dial theme isn’t what people associate with sport watches these days. Good use of durability features and very legible dial.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Still a bit thick for a classy watch – though that is a minor issue. Might be interesting with luminant on the dial. A screw-down crown might make owners even more bold about getting it dirty.