Bremont teased that it was going to release something new in the Supermarine collection when it placed a prototype watch on the wrist of explorer Ben Saunders, who recreated a famously deadly walk to the South Pole. The watch turned out to be the Bremont Terra Nova new for 2014, and here is our hands-on look.
I actually got the chance to interview Mr. Ben Saunders back in late 2013 here about the essential gear he was taking with him. That is a pretty interesting story, and it was cool to hear about what explorers “must have” these days on their adventures. You see a few wrist glimpses of him wearing the Bremont Terra Nova watch. For anyone familiar with British Bremont watches, they will immediately recognize this watch as being part of the Supermarine collection (reviewed here). Though oddly enough, the Bremont Terra Nova does not have any mention of Supermarine in the official name – even though it still says “Supermarine” on the dial.
In essence, the Bremont Terra Nova is a Supermarine 500 watch with a different bezel, slightly revised dial, different case material, and new movement with a GMT hand. This is the GMT dive watch people have been asking for from Bremont for a while. Other variations on the Supermarine are the S2000, which has an increased level of water resistance and larger 45mm wide case size. The Bremont Terra Nova and Supermarine 500 have 43mm wide case sizes, that are likely to be more suitable for most wrists.
Unlike the Supermarine 500 watch that is cased in steel, the Bremont Terra Nova is cased in titanium. The grade 5 titanium is brushed and polished so nicely that it looks like steel, but offers the lighter weight and extra durability of titanium. Note that this particular Bremont Terra Nova watch is a prototype, so some refinements and changes might be present in the retail versions that will start to be in stores during the Summer of 2014.
Given that the Bremont Terra Nova is based on the Supermarine 500 (S500), it has a full 500 meters of water resistance and dive watch features such as an automatic helium release valve. Though technically it is not a dive watch given the navigational versus timing bezel. You can see that the bezel has compass readings on it which can be used for directional purposes. Though if you really did want to dive with the Bremont Terra Nova you’d have no problems.
Everything about the Supermarine that I like is still here in the Bremont Terra Nova, including the attractive and comfortable case design as well as the wonderfully legible (and also attractive) dial. Those hands and hour markers are top notch in their design, and they don’t get old. New features to the Bremont Terra Nova dial include the peripheral 24 hour scale for the GMT hand, as well as the embossed “globe” motif in the center of the case.
It has been my experience that Bremont always uses a great amount of luminant on their dials, which makes darkness viewing pretty easy. The most significant change to the dial is the addition of a GMT hand, which adds a second timezone. Travelers love GMT watches, and I have to admit that I find them pretty handy. Really nice GMT dive watches are less common than you might think, and if you like the brawny looks of a dive watch with the added functionality of a GMT hand, the Bremont Terra Nova is likely something that you’ll be closely looking at.
For the GMT hand, Bremont decided to go with a yellow colored hand. That is a good choice amongst the many red and orange-colored GMT hands out there. I find red GMT hands to be the least legible (well, it depends on the dial), and I like orange and yellow ones quite a bit. This yellow hand is large enough to be noticed and doesn’t at all get confused with either the minute or hour hand. I also like that it goes right up to the 24 hour numeral scale.
Inside the Bremont Terra Nova watch is their caliber BE-93-2AE movement, which is a modified Swiss ETA 2893 automatic. It has been COSC Chronometer certified and is safe from magnetism because the watch case has a soft iron core. Durability isn’t an issue here, and Bremont once again delivers an attractive and functional watch that appeals to tool watch lovers.
Attached to the Bremont Terra Nova is the Supermarine rubber strap, but a titanium bracelet is also available. Of course, I would suggest the latter, as I am perpetually a bracelet lover. One thing that is important to be aware of is that the Bremont Terra Nova watch is a limited edition. I don’t know why that is, but it looks like Bremont is not yet willing to add a new GMT watch to their collection in a permanent way. The Bremont Terra Nova will be limited to 300 pieces with a retail price of $5,995. bremont.com