As far as complications are concerned, the GMT with its myriad variations is easily my favorite. For general flexibility and usefulness, it’s hard to beat the potential of a GMT chronograph, especially for a watch with toolish intentions. Bremont knows a thing or two about all of these factors, having spent the better part of the last decade producing tough, wearable watches, including more than a couple GMT chronographs. From the original ALT1-Z, to the globetrotting ALT1-WT Worldtimer, and now with the Bremont ALT1-ZT, Bremont has explored several avenues for applying their straightforward military-inspired designs and crafting an ideal multi-role sports watch.
The ZT, along with its newly-announced ZT/51 counterpart, is an updated spin on Bremont’s ALT-1 ZULU, a model announced back in 2007 as part of their original launch collection. As with all of Bremont’s core line up, the Bremont ALT1-ZT uses a 43mm hardened steel case that is comprised of an upper bezel and lugs segment, a black aluminum middle barrel, and a display case back. Thickness is 16.4mm cresting the top of the slightly domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal and lug to lug is a wearable 50mm.
While the functionality is identical to its crew-cut older brother, the ALT1-Z, the Bremont ALT1-ZT is a new direction in terms of the dial design and overall aesthetic. Gone are the direct military vibe, the altitude indication-inspired sub dial, and the bold arabic numerals. For the Bremont ALT1-ZT, we find a more subtle look and feel, with smaller applied trapezoidal markers, a matte-black dial, and crisp white markings. Accenting is red and limited to the seconds sub dial, the luminous marker on the chronograph seconds hand, and the arrow-shaped head of the GMT hand. The layout and design provides maximum legibility without being shouty and feels decidedly low-profile for Bremont, especially when compared to the ALT1-Z or even the detail-driven ALT1-WT.
While general legibility is great, the lume on the Bremont ALT1-ZT is a bit of a compromise. Much like on the Solo, Bremont has selected a lume that is true white in full light and glows blue in low light – likely Super-Luminova BGW9 or similar. While this selection ensures a nice white marker and hand set, when compared to something like the green C3 Super-Luminova, the blue is not as bright and doesn’t last as long. Given the sporting intention of a watch like the Bremont ALT1-ZT, I would prefer C3, despite the fact that the markers and hands would appear off-white in well-lit conditions.
In keeping with its sporty promise, the Bremont ALT1-ZT offers a large time display, a full 12-hour chronograph, and an independently set 24-hour GMT or “Zulu” hand. Derived from aviation, Zulu Time is another name for UTC or Coordinated Universal Time, the standard for global 24-hour timekeeping. Unlike GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), UTC does not refer to a timezone. In many ways, if a GMT watch measures 24 hours, it’s more accurately called a UTC watch. Side note to preempt the comments: UTC was selected as the abbreviation for Coordinated Universal Time (as opposed to CUT) as UTC does not favor any one language over another and maintains the UT acronym for Universal Time. I trust I have digressed far enough.
The Bremont ALT1-ZT does Zulu Time very well, offering a jumping set hand via the first position on the crown. Should you require the ability to track a third timezone, simply set the UTC/GMT hand to GMT time (the timezone, that is – see why this can be confusing?) and then rotate the 24-hour internal bezel to reflect the offset of a new timezone. You will now have the Bremont ALT1-ZT set to show home time, GMT (aka UTC +0), and another timezone of your choosing. The internal bezel is controlled via the buttery smooth Roto-Click crown on the left case flank and each half-position audibly clicks when rotating the crown. The action, while heavy, is smooth and progressive and the click is nothing short of satisfying and unlike anything I’ve experienced from other brands.
The Bremont ALT1-ZT uses Bremont’s expression of the ETA 7754, called the BE-54AE. Essentially a decorated and COSC-certified 7750 with a 24-hour UTC hand, the BE-54AE is rock solid. Ticking at 4Hz and offering 42 hours of power reserve, few movements have the history and success of the 7750, and I think it’s a good fit for the intentions of the Bremont ALT1-ZT: tough, capable, and not overly fancy.
The included leather strap is quite comfortable and the Bremont ALT1-ZT arrives in a lovely leather folio case with room for additional accessories. The leather strap comes with a dual-side deployant push button clasp and total weight is 138g. If your wrist is boney like mine, I recommend flipping the strap upside down (so the tail points to the six o’clock side of the case) to allow the chunky deployant clasp to sit more squarely in place. Truth be told, I didn’t wear the stock strap for much of my time with the Bremont ALT1-ZT, preferring a more casual and perhaps true-to-form NATO strap. The 50mm lug-to-lug and the rather tall 16.4mm thickness felt much more wearable on a NATO and the look was ideal…
Regardless of the strap choice, the Bremont ALT1-ZT, unsurprisingly, wears like a thicker version of my SOLO, with a very similar feel to the S500 Supermarine. The short lugs ensure a comfortable fit, and the 43mm width has become the signature Bremont size and, while it’s certainly large, it’s far from cumbersome or unwearable. If you like the layout and functionality of of the Bremont ALT1-ZT but want something a little more romantic, Bremont recently announced the ALT1-ZT/51, which borrows some vintage styling from their long sold-out P-51 Limited Edition.
For either the Bremont ALT1-ZT or the ZT/51, pricing is $5,895 USD on a leather strap, and while there is a litany of competitors at this price point, I believe Bremont continues to provide a strong case for their products. With an in-house automatic chronograph movement unheard of at this price point, the 7750 is a known quantity, and if “in-house” is that important to you, consider the hardened steel trip-tick case and the excellent sapphire crystal which boasts a hardened anti-reflective coating – further ensuring Bremont’s ability to make a tough, useful, sport-ready watch. I really like the Bremont ALT1-ZT and the ZT/51. Aside from being great designs and excellent watches, the Bremont ALT1-ZT shows that Bremont isn’t tied down to their past success and that they will continue to iterate and evolve as needed. bremont.com
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes. Happily.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone wanting a subtle, well-made and feature-packed everyday watch.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Blue lume is not amazingly bright.
>Best characteristic of watch: The legible and detailed dial design.