October 17, 2019
by Bilal Khan
Just last week when writing about the just-introduced Bremont H-4 Hercules Limited Edition, I was cautiously optimistic about the trio based on the press photos. Well, having gotten the chance to see all three last night at a Bremont event here in Los Angeles, I can report that they certainly live up in the metal. These admittedly costly GMT watches are some of the best the brand has produced, and I’m not surprised that Bremont collectors were fawning over the pieces. If you’re attracted to the style, then the level of finishing and the impressively done movement that incorporates real birch from Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose could justify the $12,000-$31,000 cost of entry. Considering that there are only going to be 450 pieces made in total (300 in steel, 75 in rose gold, and 75 in platinum), I don’t imagine they’ll sit around very long.
All three versions come in a 43mm-wide case that sits 14.4mm-high on the wrist. The lugs curve nicely on the wrist, though I would say that the H-4 Hercules is on the larger side of a 43mm-wide case. Of course, it is done in the signature Bremont ‘Trip-Tick” case style, which simply means that the case is made with three pieces rather than the standard two-piece case. I do like the crown, a toned-down onion-style screw-down crown that doesn’t go overboard with bulbousness for the sake of some imagined authenticity. It pulls out and turns nicely, not being too hard to grip.
The Bremont H-4 Hercules in steel has a matte black dial with syringe hands done in polished nickel, while the GMT hand is done in rose gold with a stark red tip. The applied hour markers are polished and done in a rose gold outline, and they add some real high-end three-dimensionality to the dial.
Finally, the seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock is equally impressive with just enough guilloché on the dial to bring that subtle visual variation. Between the GMT hand, the hour markers, the seconds sub-dial, and the date window at 6 o’clock, each is done in a “just right” goldilocks zone of embellishment and design. Finally, the 24-hour outer ring is done in black for nighttime and a really subtle and on-theme tan for daytime hours.
The dials of the rose gold and platinum versions vary slightly, each in ways that play on their respective precious metal. The dials are both done in a polished dark brown color with a sunray pattern. The rose gold model has matching rose gold hands, whereas the platinum model has polished nickel hands and what I believe is a platinum GMT hand. They both have a warmer brown and light tan color scheme for the 24-hour outer ring. Finally, the rose gold version has a matching dark brown seconds sub-dial, while the platinum model seconds sub-dial is a lighter tone that matches the color of the daytime section of the 24-hour outer ring.
These are all beautiful watches and, while the stainless steel version is the one that would fit in any hypothetical budget of mine, the platinum is absolutely my favorite.
Finally, turning the Bremont H-4 Hercules over reveals the new Bremont BWC/02 movement that Giles English confirmed will only be used for this collection. That obviously would be clear when you consider that the four-bladed propellor-style rotor is constructed using birchwood extracted from the actual Spruce Goose. The BWC/02 operates at 28,800 vph and has a 50-hour power reserve. I do appreciate how the balance cock, barrel bridge, and train bridge are all done in a Galvanized NAC (Nickel Anthracite Coating) which gives it a darker look reminiscent of the 1940’s era aircraft the watch is inspired by.
At the end of the day, these really are attractive watches with thoughtful and impressive finishes. That said, they are quite expensive, but inherent in the cost is the value of that emotional connection some aviation enthusiasts may have to the Spruce Goose. For this particular niche, once these are gone, I can’t imagine there will be another chance to own a slice of this piece of aviation history. I’d love to see Bremont make a watch identical to the H-4 Hercules, as it would certainly make it more accessible to many people, myself included. That said, this is clearly a watch that Nick and Giles English have a lot of pride in, and it bodes well for what where Bremont is heading.
The Bremont H-4 Hercules in steel (300 pieces) is priced at $11,895 USD; in rose gold (75 pieces), it is priced at $22,495 USD; and in platinum (75 pieces), it is priced at $30,995 USD. You can learn more at bremont.com.