March 7, 2017
by James Stacey
We’re freshly back from a quick trip to England where we attended Bremont’s first alt-Baselworld event. Dubbed “Basel-on-Thames,” this was our chance to see Bremont’s latest releases amid the glittering backdrop of their iconic hometown. From the Bremont Townhouse in central London to their headquarters in the sprawling British countryside of nearby Henley, Bremont had the home field advantage, and it’s easy to see why the Swiss like to keep the big shows in their own backyard. While we covered the entire new line as it was announced earlier this week, as promised, here is a closer look at the Bremont’s latest addition to the Supermarine family, the S300 and S301 divers.
The biggest news here is that the new Bremont Supermarine Type 300 range uses a 40mm case, where the longstanding S500 and S2000 models were 43mm and 45mm, respectively. Named after the first Spitfire prototype, the S300 (and S301) are water resistant to 300m and feature a total thickness of just 13mm (much slimmer than the S500).
Being Bremont, the cases are done in hardened steel and bear the recognizable profile of Bremont’s multi-piece Trip-Tick design. All three iterations use domed anti-reflective sapphire crystals and are finished with a solid steel case back that is decorated with a portrait of an early Supermarine aircraft. Available in two versions, the S300 comes in blue or black with a dial sporting mixed Arabic markers and red accents. The black S300 has a matte dial and bezel insert with a gilt scale and a crown with a gold-tone accent.
The blue S300 has a radiant sunburst dial with white accents and a polished ceramic bezel insert. It’s worth mentioning that the S300/S301 seen in these photos are prototypes, so small details may change or be refined before final production. This includes the color of the blue bezel, which should be closer to that of the dial for the production version of the watch.
All three iterations feature a date at three and are powered by Bremont’s BE-92AE automatic movement. This COSC-certified Swiss caliber is based on a lightly modified ETA 2892 (the same movement that Omega used for their 1120 caliber). The BE-92AE is a 4Hz movement with 21 jewels, a Nivaflex 1 mainspring, Glucydur balance, Anachron balance spring, and a power reserve of 38-plus hours.
If you want your vintage appeal in a somewhat stronger flavour, the S301 should do the trick. With faux-aged Super-LumiNova (just as we saw on Bremont’s ALT1-ZT/51 and P-51) and a traditional Sub-like use of dots and hashes for the markers, the S301 is a nod to the early dive watches of the ’50s and ’60s. Any of the three versions can be had on your choice of a two-stitch calf leather strap, a striped heavy-duty NATO, or Bremont’s steel bracelet.
Aesthetically, the S300/S301 represents a considerable departure from the format Bremont established with their S500. Gone is the lumed sapphire bezel, the 2 o’clock crown and guard, the HEV, the lollipop hour hand, and the lovely center dial detailing. While certainly a more simplified design, the S300/S301 still manages to feel like a Bremont. Legibility is strong and the sunburst blue dial packs a punch. Furthermore, that 40mm sizing feels great, especially on the leather strap. With 20mm lugs preventing the use of most pre-existing Bremont straps (most of their watches feature 22mm lugs), the S300/S301 will accommodate a wide variety of straps and Bremont will undoubtedly produce more OEM options in the future.
Compared to the Bremont with which I am most familiar, the 43mm SOLO, the S300 and S301 wear smaller (duh), sit about as high, but position more centrally on my 7-inch wrist, thanks to a shorter lug-to-lug length. If you’ve tried a Bremont and decided that you wanted something a bit smaller, the S300/S301 (or the new AIRCO, also 40mm) offer a strong appeal. Of the three available strap options, I’d opt for the leather. The NATO is very soft and comfortable, but great NATO straps are also readily available for much less money than a good leather strap. The bracelet will be the default option for some dive watch buyers, but I’ve never been a big fan of bracelets, especially when paired with smaller case sizes. Bremont’s bracelet is heavy but not overly chunky, with solid end-links and a push-button fold-over clasp.
If you dig the look of the S300/S301, then I’d entirely recommend seeing all three in person – the press images did not do them justice. As we arguably enter the zenith of popularity for vintage-inspired dive watches, the S300/S301 offers an entirely different spin on a dive watch from Bremont while still including a number of the signature elements that helped put this brand on the map. Priced at $4,095 USD on a strap or $4,695 on a bracelet, the S300 and S301 should be with retailers in the second half of this year. bremont.com