I’m trying hard to figure out Bremont’s latest move. On the surface, I understand that after taking on hedge fund money and bringing on ex-Tudor executive Davide Cerrato as CEO, there was probably double pressure to do something new. That pressure would’ve come from Cerrato wanting to make his mark and the investors wanting to make some money. I get that, but Bremont’s introduction the new Bremont Terra Nova collection and a completely redesigned Bremont Supermarine line, along with a new logo and brand font, seem like the blunt force method of achieving those goals. I don’t think I’m alone in struggling to connect the dots between the old Bremont and this new Bremont, and trace how those who make decisions got to a place that they thought such an approach was a good idea.

Bremont touts this sudden shift as an “evolution from the world of aviation to a new brand architecture embodying Land, Sea and Air.” Never minding the needlessly capitalized features of the Earth or the lack of an Oxford comma, using the phrase “evolution” is a stretch. Evolution implies a gradual change that builds upon past elements. But the Terra Nova and Supermarine dispose of all of what made Bremont Bremont. These are sudden transformations at best, but even that seems generous (even the beast in Beauty & the Beast still echoed his primal form when he transformed into a man). More accurate, I think is to say that the Supermarine has been replaced and the Terra Nova has been introduced. There is no evolution here. Just a hard turn in a new direction, a turn so hard everything flew out the windows.

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Except, I should clarify, not everything was lost in the careening maneuver: the brand still offers almost all of its old models. They just don’t appear on the home page, instead having been crowded into a tab called “Bremont Icons”. I’d be willing to wager they’ll completely disappear soon enough, though. What’s more, the so-called evolution completely ignores the Altitude line (as it’s now called), leaving aviation-inspired models like the Fury and the MB Viper untouched, holding onto the rear fender for dear life as they know that, inevitably, evolution will come for them, too. Why go to the trouble of a major rebrand, completely replacing your best-selling collection and introducing an entire new line, and only go two-thirds of the way? Even the logos on the Altitude line haven’t been changed!

The New Bremont Terra Nova Collection

Bremont did not hold back with its new Terra Nova collection. Lots of brands will slow roll the introduction with one or two models, but Bremont I think did this properly and gave us four new models, fully rounding out the collection right from the start. The Terra Nova includes the flagship 40.5 Turning Bezel Power Reserve, the 40.5 Date, the Chronograph, and the 38. There’s something here for everyone if you like the look, and while I think the dials are exceptional at a glance, the case and bracelet leave me wanting a lot more, to say nothing of the entire collections total disconnect from any semblance of Bremont DNA whatsoever.

The unifying element of the Terra Nova is its angular tonneau case. The general criticism of this case so far has been that it’s not befitting a brand of this purported standing, nor of a watch costing a minimum of $2,850. To be sure, this kind of case is almost exclusively seen in affordable microbrands. There’s always an opportunity for such perceptions to be changed, but I’m not sure if Bremont is going to be the one to do that. The cases, which range from 38 to 42.5 (as indicated in the model names) are fully brushed, save for the 38 and 40.5 Date, which feature polished fixed bezels. The Turning Bezel Power Reserve (a name that is surely the result of countless hours of focus group testing) features a solid steel compass bezel, while the Chronograph features the same style but in steel with a ceramic insert. (There is a rather easy method of using a compass bezel for orienteering, which I can’t remember, but you can look up if you’re so inclined.) The watches all have 100m water resistance, sapphire crystals, and crowns that seem quite substantial, reinforcing the field operation vibe of the watch. While the Terra Nova 38 only comes on bracelet or leather, the other three models add a NATO option. The bracelet is a new design for the brand and in general, with curving links that echo the curves of the case. It has quick-release tabs for easy changes and a butterfly clasp, but my gripe with it is how the curved links start before the end of the lugs. It’s a weird design and I’m not sure what the calculus was there.

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What the Bremont Terra Nova models all have in common with their dials is the use of big, bold molded Super-Lumi-Nova for their Arabic indices. These solid blocks of lume shine more brightly and evenly than typical printed lume. Every model is available in brown, except the Chronograph, which is only offered in black. Additional colors include white for the Terra Nova 38, green for the Terra Nova 40.5 Date, and blue for the Terra Nova 40.5 Turning Bezel Power Reserve. The TBPR (that works) has a running second at 9 and a power reserve at 6, while the Chronograph has sunken subdials for a running seconds and a 30-minute totalizer.

I genuinely like the look of these dials and I think they make sense with the whole Terra Nova “Land” mission that Bremont is working at. That said, the dial text could use some editing. First, you’ve got the new logo and brand font — fine, whatever. But then at 6 o’clock, you’ve got the collection name, “Automatic,” and “London” all in the same size. Why are we elevating the movement type to the level of the collection? And why is London, a town over an hour’s drive from Bremont’s manufacturing facility The Wing, on there at all? My two cents: lower this block of text down, reduce the font on “Automatic” and “London,” and change “London” to “England.” As it is, I can’t say the dial text would prevent me from purchasing one of these watches, but it’s another element that looks very much like a watch priced well under $1,000.

Finally, we arrive at the movements. The various Terra Novas all use rebranded automatic movements running at 28,800 vph. It’s possible that the TBPR uses some modification of the “in-house” ENG300, but the price doesn’t reflect that, and it may also be a Sellita of some sort like the others. The power reserve is quoted at 38 hours for the Terra Nova 38 and 40.5 Date models, 41 hours for the TBPR, and 56 hours for the Chronograph. The movements are all concealed behind solid casebacks with a globe decoration.

The Redesigned Bremont Supermarine 300M

Introducing a new line is far less precarious than completely redesigning an old one. There’s nothing to “honor” and no existing customer to offend. Then again, if you replace instead of redesign, then that’s not a problem. That’s what Bremont has done with the Supermarine. Gone are the signature Trip-Tick cases, the lovely if slightly bulbous lugs, and the matte bezels. The new Supermarine feels familiar but still very much its own thing. The case geometry reminds me of Atelier Wen, the bracelet of the Breitling Rouleaux bracelet. On the whole, though, this appears to be an attractive watch, even if it is definitely only a Supermarine in name.

The new Supermarine 300M have a new 40mm case made from 904L stainless steel (the good stuff that Rolex uses) that is predominantly brushed with a thin polished chamfer running lug to lug. The case takes on a more generic overall form than the original, with lugs that completely forget the sweeping curves of the original Supermarine and flow into the case which bulges at the middle with flanks. The 3 o’clock flank acts as a crown guard for the screw-down crown. Instead of ceramic bezels, the inserts are anodized aluminum and seem nicely executed, even if they sacrifice the matte finish and durability of the old ones. The bezel inserts all match the dial color and feature a single lume pip at 12. The watches have sapphire crystals and are water resistant to 300m, as the name implies.

The bracelet itself features a double-barrel link design that’s quite attractive and includes quick-release pins and a micro-adjustment mechanism. From live pictures I’ve seen and renders offered here, though, the meeting point of the case and the bracelet is not well executed; it’s the same issue as with the Terra Nova bracelet, with the second link starting too early, but here, there’s another issue. The endlink itself features straight brushing which clashes with the circular brushing of the cases. This is something. I’d expect from a Kickstarter brand using catalog parts, not from a brand asking $3,400+ for a dive watch on a bracelet.  I hate to say it, but you may be better off buying the Supermarine on the optional color-matched rubber or leather.

The Bremont Supermarine 300M is offered in date and no-date dials, with the date version inexplicably costing $250 more. While the non-date is offered in blue or green, the date is offered in black or brown, the latter of which has a two-tone rose gold and steel case and is priced to reflect that. The dials feature a gradient that sees the color diminish into black at the edges. All the dials get applied indices with Super-LumiNova fill, matched by a sword handset. On the date models, the indices are round with tapered batons at the cardinal hours; on the no-dates, the indices are those same tapered batons with Arabic numerals at the cardinals. A chapter ring encircles the dials with contrasting print at 15-30-45-60.

The Supermarines are powered by what Bremont only describes as an “automatic movement 50H power reserve.” This could be any number of movements, and I’m not going to even speculate. It’s lazy and shady of a brand to not provide any other details about the movement. In any case, it’s hidden behind a caseback with the same design as the Terra Nova models.

Nick and Giles English are still involved in Bremont, but it’s clear to me that the spirit with which they imbued the brand upon its founding has left. These new releases, while objectively perhaps not bad, reek of the consequences of taking on large amounts of capital — do not be mistaken, the capital investment is the pivot point here. These releases, albeit mostly inoffensive when viewed out of context, expand the Bremont catalog in an abrupt way at odds with the established ethos of the brand, replace a consumer favorite with something that only shares its predecessors name, and after all that, don’t even finish the job. I’ve spoken to friends, Bremont ADs, Bremont watch owners, and people involved in watch media. The most generous amongst them are simply neutral. Those few who actually like these new models invariably were either not fans of the brand before or had no feeling one way or another.  I get the sense that dealers feel this is a hard pill to swallow and existing customers feel betrayed in a way. Where this move leaves Bremont is anyone’s guess. At the end of it all, my best rationalization for these steps is that Bremont management have made conscious decision to focus on less unique watches with broader appeal, forsaking its existing narrow customer base in bid for the dollars of the larger watch market. A gamble like this has the potential to sink or buoy any brand and judging by the initial response, I fear Bremont is taking on water instead of bailing it out.

The Bremont Terra Nova40.5 Turning Bezel Power Reserve is priced at $3,950 USD on leather or NATO and $4,250 USD on the bracelet. The Bremont Terra Nova 42.5 Chronograph is priced at $5,400 USD on leather or a NATO and $5,700 USD on the bracelet. The Bremont Terra Nova 40.5 Date is at $3,100 USD on leather or a NATO and $3,400 USD on the bracelet. The Bremont Terra Nova 38 is priced at $2,850 USD on leather and $3,150 USD on leather. The Bremont Supermarine 300M is priced at $3,400 USD on leather or rubber and $3,650 USD on the bracelet. The Bremont Supermarine 300M Date is priced at $3,650 USD on leather or a NATO and $3,950 USD on the bracelet, while the two-tone version is priced at $5,100 USD on leather and $6,250 USD on the bracelet.

For more information, please visit the Bremont website.  

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