April 24, 2020
by Zach Pina
The ownership club for the Bremont MBI “Martin Baker” pilot watch has always been a pretty exclusive one — to be eligible to purchase it, you’ve got to first eject from a stricken aircraft via a Martin Baker ejection seat. Small hurdle, that. So for the rest of us, there’s the MBII, which passes all the same rigorous torture tests but is readily available for Joe everyday to readily purchase. And new for 2020, Bremont has refreshed this foundational civilian reference with a new dial in a more elegant and wearable case, and is now giving customers the option of customizing various elements on the MBII to yield something a little more personalized.
Model: Martin-Baker MBII
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Case Material: stainless steel
Movement: BE-36AE (ETA 2836 base), chronometer-certified automatic movement with date
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Strap/Bracelet: rubber-backed textile
Price & Availability: starts at $4,995 or $5,595 on a bracelet
However, between the multitude of colorful anodized barrels, case finishes, and strap options on tap in the new configurator, two options are notably absent: the bright yellow “ejection ring” seconds hand and the distinctive red mid-case barrel, which together have long remained the calling card of the MBI and its ejectee.
I personally really like the cleaner visual identity of the MBII, whose redesign goes much deeper than just the omission of the day aperture at 3:00. As one of Bremont’s inaugural launch offerings, the MBII has long remained a best-selling signature of the brand, but conversely it’s also started to feel a little dated and overdue for a refresh, especially in the face of Bremont’s newer, sleeker offerings. So, in addition to a simplified dial and a more precise Roto-Click bezel design, the new generation MBII’s case has also been subtly redesigned — particularly the slimmed-down bezel and the mid-case, which maintains its 43mm footprint as before but now sits more comfortably on the wrist due to some shorter lug-to-lug dimensions. I also appreciate the fact that a proper sword handset is now being used, with the luminous material filling in all of the hour hand, rather than just the triangular tip on the outgoing variant.
Just as before, the new Bremont MBII’s pricing starts at $4,995 USD for variants on the rubber-backed textile strap. Oh, and if you’re planning on ejecting from an aircraft in the near future, rest assured that the MBI will remain unchanged from its current configuration, leaving little doubt as to which version belongs to those with the right stuff, and well, the rest of us. In the meantime, learn more about the MBII watches and configure your own at bremont.com.