Since its founding in 2002, independent brand Bremont has been keen to embrace its British roots. This Anglophilia has taken many forms over the past two decades, from celebrations of the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, and the British Army, to specialty models inspired by notable Brits ranging from physicist Stephen Hawking to Ronnie Wood, guitarist for the Rolling Stones. Bremont also has a history of partnerships with British automotive and luxury brands, including Rolls-Royce and the Williams Racing Formula 1 team. With this kind of patriotic legacy, a partnership with high-profile UK-based watch customizer Bamford Watch Department seems inevitable, and in 2022, these two British watchmaking power players join forces for the first time. The result is a striking new take on Bremont’s flagship Supermarine S500 dive watch, combining a bold new colorway with a wealth of nuanced custom touches. The new limited edition Bremont S500 Bamford Special Edition delivers an eye-catching new vision for the Supermarine series, combining an eclectic mix of visual ideas into an aggressive and stylish package.
The 43mm DLC-coated stainless steel case of the Bremont S500 Bamford Special Edition follows the Supermarine line’s rounded take on dive watch cues with an aggressive blacked-out twist. Like other models in the series, the S500 Bamford Special Edition uses the brand’s signature Trip-Tick multi-part case construction, which allows for dramatic case geometry when viewed from the side. From the sides, the single-piece lug assembly seems to flare outward from the main case body in images, leaving a stark overhang above the cylindrical main case body. While the S500 Bamford Special Edition’s all-black treatment makes this multi-part assembly less strikingly visible than many of its stablemates, the grooved surface of the main case body still breaks up the profile of the watch effectively in images, and should slightly mitigate the hefty 16.5mm overall thickness on the wrist. The Supermarine line’s unique 2 o’clock crown and single sloping attached crown guard also make an appearance here, with a brightly polished guard that helps this unique attached element stand out from its brushed surroundings. Likewise, the flowing, sharply downturned rounded lugs add organically tapered polished chamfers both above and below the lug sides, both visually narrowing these elements in images and bringing a sense of contrast and variety to the all-black design. The only true break from the monochrome black treatment comes at 9 o’clock, however, when the brand includes a flush-mounted automatic helium escape valve in bare stainless steel. Bremont adds a further custom touch to this model through its ceramic bezel insert, which features an intriguing raised polished dive scale to further add to the feeling of texture overall. The brand tops the solid caseback with an engraving depicting the classic Supermarine S6B Schneider Trophy seaplane (Bremont was unable to provide an image of this caseback prior to press time), and rates the watch for a superb 500 meters of water resistance.
While the case of the Bremont S500 Bamford Special Edition keeps much of the line’s existing visual DNA intact, the dial takes a dynamic clean-slate approach with impressive results. The main dial surface is a true matte black in images, featuring a finely grained texture without a hint of reflectivity. Bremont matches this flat texture with the broad alpha handset, and the gently sloping outer chapter ring with its cleanly restrained minutes scale in gray. This leaves a clean visual canvas to build upon, and Bremont takes full advantage of this restrained base layer to experiment with wild color and layering. The brand opts for a sandwich dial layout to add a sense of visual depth in images, and uses an eclectic California dial mix of Roman numerals, stencil-style Arabic numerals, and dive indices for hour markers. Coupled with a vivid electric blue lume fill, this idiosyncratic dial layout takes on a confident, rebellious energy in images that harmonizes well with the all-black case treatment. Each hour index also features a narrow glossy black surround, giving these sandwich cutouts sharply defined and eye-catching edges. Bremont tops this design with matching blue lume for the main handset, along with a uniquely striped pale ice blue needle seconds hand meant to evoke a military cockpit-instrument feel. Given the bold use of color and layered California dial design, Bremont wisely opts for a no-date dial treatment to keep the overall look clean and symmetrical.
Inside the Bremont S500 Bamford Special Edition beats the ETA 2836-2 based BE-36AE automatic movement. Despite its humble origins, Bremont includes an array of high-end updates to the design, including a modern Gluycdur balance with an Anachron balance spring, a Nivaflex mainspring, and a reworked winding bridge for markedly improved shock resistance. Bremont claims these updated elements help the BE-36AE surpass the stringent ISO 3159 standard for chronometer accuracy. The BE-36AE’s power reserve, however, remains a subpar 38 hours at a 28,800 bph beat rate. To complete the package, Bremont pairs the watch with a rugged black sailcloth strap featuring vibrant dial-matching blue contrast stitching.
With a boldly distinctive dial treatment, a host of custom case touches, and a sharp ultramodern colorway, the new Bremont S500 Bamford Special Edition combines two of the biggest names in the modern British watch community into a dynamic new vision. Only 250 examples of the Bremont S500 Bamford Special Edition will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Bremont S500 Bamford Special Edition stands at $4,995 as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.