Based in Switzerland and exclusively producing COSC-certified chronometers, Brellum takes a more premium approach compared to many other small-scale independent brands, and the company is responsible for a total output of just 299 pieces per year. At the beginning of 2023, Brellum introduced a new GMT pilot’s chronograph to its lineup, and while that inaugural model was produced as a limited edition of 23 examples and fitted with a crisp white dial, Brellum has created a new version of this highly popular timepiece as its follow-up release for the year. Officially known as the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer, this latest addition to the catalog will also be a small-batch limited edition of just 23 pieces, but rather than featuring a white dial like the original model, this latest version of the brand’s GMT pilot’s chronograph embraces a unique blue colorway that is intended to be reminiscent of summer skies. 

In terms of its overall design and functionality, the new Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer is essentially the blue version of the white dial Pilot LE.21 GMT Chronometer watch that was released earlier this year. Crafted from 316L stainless steel, the case features largely brushed surfaces with high-polished bevels running down the length of the lugs and a thin smooth bezel that also receives a matching high-polished finish. In terms of its dimensions and proportions, the on-paper specs for the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer can definitely be a bit misleading, and the watch ultimately wears quite a bit smaller than the numbers alone might indicate. The watch itself measures 41.8mm in diameter by 15.9mm thick, with 22mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug profile of approximately 51.8mm. However, these on-paper dimensions only tell half of the story, and there are a number of clever details about the design of the case that help to mitigate what might otherwise be a rather chunky presence on the wrist. 

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Although the case diameter is 41.8mm, the outer diameter of the crystal is only 37.8mm, and the dial itself is even a few millimeters smaller due to the way that the walls of the box-shaped sapphire crystal account for part of its total footprint. The dial-to-case ratio of a watch can have a dramatic impact on its perceived size, and the smaller ratio present on the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer immediately makes it wear a bit more compact than you otherwise might expect. Similarly, while the 51.8mm lug-to-lug measurement is undeniably a bit large, the prominent bevels on the lugs combined with the downward shape of their curvature help to minimize their visual presence while also letting them hug the top surface of your wrist. Additionally, since there aren’t any type of crown guards or protrusions surrounding the signed winding crown or the duo of pump-style chronograph pushers on the 3 o’clock side of the case, the front profile of the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer is about as compact as you can get from a chronograph with these on-paper dimensions and proportions.    

Further mitigating the perceived size of the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer are the duo of box-shaped sapphire crystals (with anti-reflective treatment on the underside surfaces) that are fitted to both the dial side of the watch and its screw-on display caseback. While a thickness of 15.9mm normally makes for a rather chunky experience, a significant portion of that overall height is occupied by the two crystals, and without the box-shaped sapphire crystals, the actual metal components of the case measure a total of just 11.7mm thick. With that in mind, it’s important to note that this isn’t an instance where flat crystals could have been used to achieve a significantly thinner overall profile. The spaces under the pair of box-shaped sapphire crystals are used to house the hands and rotor of the movement, but since this additional visual thickness is occupied by the crystals rather than the middle case, the entire watch benefits from a thinner appearance, and it avoids the “slab side” profile that is often characteristic of many self-winding chronographs.

Secured by six small screws and featuring deep, crisp engravings, the box-shaped sapphire crystal caseback might just be one of my favorite features about the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer, and while neither the winding crown nor chronograph pushers screw down to the middle case, the watch still offers a healthy 100 meters of water resistance. Additionally, just like the inaugural version of the brand’s GMT pilot’s chronograph that was launched earlier this year and fitted with a white dial, the new Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer also comes with both a stainless steel five-link bracelet (stock images in the gallery below) and a nubuck leather strap that is fitted with a deployant-style folding clasp. Featuring a double push-button release for the clasp and molded ends to create an integrated appearance with the case, the strap that comes with the new Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer appears to be identical to the style found in the previous white dial model, although it now appears in a unique shade of blue to match the dial of the watch.

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While Brellum states that the blue colorway is intended to be “reminiscent of the endless summer skies,” I personally find it to be a bit darker and with slightly more gray tones than what most people would typically associate with a blue summer sky. That said, I actually prefer this particular shade of blue compared to the lighter and brighter hue of a traditional sky blue, as it represents less of a novelty color and ultimately offers far superior long-term aesthetic versatility. Aside from the new color, the matte blue dial fitted to the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer follows the same design as the inaugural white dial model, with a trio of registers in a 6-9-12 layout, along with a date window placed within the sub-dial at 6 o’clock. The 24-hour scale for the secondary time zone is printed along the periphery of the dial rather than appearing on the external bezel, and the brand’s logo and chronometer-certification text occupy the available space at 3 o’clock in order to help provide a sense of visual balance.

Just like its white dial predecessor, the new blue dial version of Brellum’s GMT pilot’s chronograph also features small red accents for the “GMT” text on its dial, along with on the tips of both its GMT-hand and chronograph seconds hand. The rest of the hands are brushed with luminous accents, and blue-emission Super-LumiNova also appears on the applied Arabic numeral hour markers and printed indexes at the cardinal points to help provide easy access to the time in low-light settings. With that in mind, since there isn’t any lume on the chronograph seconds hand or GMT hand, access to a secondary time zone or measurement of small intervals of elapsed time may be slightly more difficult in extremely dark settings. However, the dial of the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer is already somewhat densely packed due to the watch’s numerous features, and additional luminous elements would likely only make for an even busier overall appearance.

Powering the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer is the brand’s Cal. BR-754 automatic chronograph GMT movement, which is based upon the core architecture of the familiar Valjoux 7754. Running at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 46 hours, the Brellum BR-754 offers a 12-hour chronograph, a date display, and GMT functionality, along with independent adjustment of both the date and 24-hour hand through the winding crown (rather than by using additional push-pieces located on the side of the case). As a COSC-certified chronometer, Brellum’s Cal. BR-754 movement is guaranteed to keep time within -4/+6 seconds per day, and since it is a premium version of this core movement design, it also benefits from more ornate finishing consisting of perlage, blued screws, and Geneva stripes, plus a skeletonized 4N gold-plated rotor that features an airplane motif and includes each watch’s individual limited-edition number out of 23 examples.

As a well-executed timepiece powered by a premium version of a known-quantity mechanical movement, there is very little smoke and mirrors when it comes to determining what exactly you are getting for your money with the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer, and the model strikes a nice balance of delivering top-tier features at a price that still comes in below what a similar watch would cost you from one of the big-name brands. With an official retail price of $3,490 USD, the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer is far from being the least expensive automatic chronograph currently available, although it’s important to remember that you are also getting a proper COSC chronometer-certified movement, along with the added functionality of a GMT complication. Additionally, once you also factor in this model’s clever case construction that uses box-shaped sapphire crystals to help mitigate its perceived thickness, plus the limited 23-example production run for this particular blue colorway, the new Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer ultimately represents a rather compelling option for someone in the market for a feature-packed automatic chronograph. For more information on the Brellum Pilot LE.2 GMT Chronometer, please visit the brand’s website

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