July 17, 2018
by John Kim
The first instructions during our breathing exercise with Mark Healey – a world renowned freediver, big-wave surfer, and ocean environmentalist – were “Breathe in and fill your butt with air.” The breathing exercises were a quick intro to some of Mark’s breathing techniques that he uses to prep himself for a free dive. Truth be told, it would most likely help me during the daily grind and work schedule to release some stress and to literally “take a breather.” And, while I wasn’t able to experience freediving in the warm California waters off Santa Monica Pier, I was able to get my hands on the new Bremont Supermarine Waterman during its quaint launch event at Shutters on the Beach.
Bremont’s new Limited Edition Waterman extends the lineup of their already well received and distinctly designed dive watches with a few updates and is limited to 300 pieces. The Waterman is released in collaboration with Mark Healey, and will have a percentage of its sales proceeds contributed towards Sustainable Coastline Hawaii; a local grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about plastics in our oceans (about 8 million metric tons) through beach clean-ups, ocean plastic recycling, educational programs, and waste diversion services among other things.
The Waterman’s DNA comes from the S501 Supermarine, with its 43mm case diameter, 60-click unidirectional sapphire bezel, COSC-certified chronometer movement, anti-shock movement mount, and sapphire crystal caseback, all rated to 500m of water resistance. Where it differs is the BE-93-2AE automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve, GMT complication (shared with the new Endurance and MBIII), inset white crosshatched dial, blue and white sapphire bezel, blue dial markers, blue rubber and kevlar straps, and a two-tone black-to-blue GMT hand. I’m guessing you’ve realized the water theme of this watch.
Aside from the movement, most of the changes are cosmetic, but in my opinion, drastically give it a differentiating characteristic from its Supermarine brethren. One of the subtle changes, whether intentional or not, was the blue and white bezel. The color combination wasn’t what piqued my interest, but the fact that they used white for the first 20 minutes instead of blue. While this may have been purely design focused, I hear it could make sense from a diver’s perspective because, if you’re diving deep and long enough, requiring you to go through decompression, the white markers would be very visible versus the aesthetic trend of coloring the first 20 minutes red or yellow, or some other bright color. Reason being, most colors will eventually look blue-green based on diving depth. Having the first 20 minutes “colored” white would give it a high contrast from the deep blue, making it more legible for decompression.
Here’s a fun fact: freedivers rarely need decompression or get “the bends” because they take one deep breath to dive, and the time spent at deep depths are seconds compared to hours and minutes when scuba diving.
The screw-down 2 o’clock crown and single sided crown guard are visually pleasing and the threading of the crown is smooth. A 43mm case is a daunting size for most and with someone having a smaller wrist, it could be a deal breaker. But after trying it on, I felt that the wearability was an acceptable fit and it didn’t feel as large as something like the 42mm Bell & Ross BR-03 models. That being said, this is not a “cuffable” watch, as it is a real tool watch, tall and chunky, which I personally like, but it could prove to be an issue when trying to pair it with a button-up suit ensemble.
The dial has a subtle texture and color that keeps you engaged and the blue colored markers along with the chapter ring and black hands give the watch high legibility points. The date at 3 o’clock is unobtrusive, crisp, and blends in well with the overall aesthetic of the watch. I’m personally a fan of date windows out of pure functionality, but dive watch die hards, may prefer a more sterile dial.
If you watch the Bremont Waterman video, you’ll hear Mark Healey say, “The Bremont Waterman is literally the only thing that stays on my body from down below the surface of the ocean all the way through the rest of my life.” Now, I don’t know if Mark wears his watch everyday and I know it’s a marketing/promotional video, but when I was inspecting his personal watch, with the Temple Island blue rubber strap, you could see a few nicks and scratches here and there, and I’d like to imagine they weren’t of the desk diving kind. One large patch of scuffing looked like he had scraped it up against some rough coral.
Having gotten to speak with Mark, Giles, and Nick, during the launch, it’s very apparent that the passion and fervor for the Bremont brand isn’t an act and is quite positively honest and I also like that some of the proceeds of this watch are going to a grassroots charity that personally holds a place in Mark’s heart, from his home in Hawaii. Bremont has continually had a way of including personal stories in their collections, and it makes it easy to want to be a part of this brand’s culture and history, so that you can also embed your own story into a timepiece.
The 300-piece Limited Edition Bremont Supermarine Waterman will be available August 1st at a price of $5,995. bremont.com