The Real Story Behind The Bremont Wright Flyer In-House Made BWC/01 “London” Watch Movement

The Real Story Behind The Bremont Wright Flyer In-House Made BWC/01 “London” Watch Movement

The Real Story Behind The Bremont Wright Flyer In-House Made BWC/01 "London" Watch Movement Watch Releases

A few days ago on July 23, 2014, Bremont admittedly botched the launch of what is an exciting new product for them - the Wright Flyer that aBlogtoWatch covered here. What happened? Confused facts and efforts by who Bremont claims is a person with an agenda against the brand cast an unfortunate negative light on the release. In addition to the Bremont Wright Flyer being a limited edition timepiece done in collaboration with the Wright family (whose ancestors invented manned-flight in 1903), the Wright Flyer watch was to contain Bremont's first "in-house movement." Nothing about the Wright brothers or aviation relationship was at issue, but rather the details about the movement inside of the watch. Bremont not only left out necessary pricing information, but they also failed to mention crucial details about the origins and development partners of the the BWC/01 automatic movement that was signed "London."

Bremont claims that someone was trying to sabotage the release. When Bremont released news about the Bremont Wright Flyer watch and BWC/01 movement that was purportedly made and developed by them, someone immediately began to compare the movement to those made by Swiss La Joux-Perret. Watch companies often work with specialized companies to produce new movements, so what was the big deal? The issue was that the language used by Bremont was confusing enough that people believed Bremont was suggesting the movement was designed and produced entirely by them in England. The press release says "the BWC/01, designed and developed in Britain." They however claim that someone who acquired documents about the movement in advance played up information that was not true and attempted to stir a hornets' nest.

The Real Story Behind The Bremont Wright Flyer In-House Made BWC/01 "London" Watch Movement Watch Releases
The Bremont Wright Flyer, Bremont's First Watch Equipped With What The Brand Referred To As Their First In-House Caliber, The BWC/01

A few years ago, a situation occurred that should have once-and-for-all set the rules for how new movements should be released. TAG Heuer released its new "in-house made and developed" Calibre 1887 automatic chronograph movement. Within hours, watch lovers online were comparing the Calibre 1887 to movements made by Seiko in Japan. It looked like TAG Heuer's new in-house "Swiss Made" movement was Japanese. TAG Heuer's CEO responded swiftly by explaining that it was a mistake, and that the 1887 movement was in-fact entirely produced by TAG Heuer, but that they had purchased the plans for the base movement from Seiko, made some changes, and produced the movement in Switzerland.

So, while the TAG Heuer Calibre 1887 was technically produced by them, it was not really developed by them. TAG Heuer was heavily criticized for the launch of the 1887 movement because the perception was that they were lying to the consumer – a consumer base so well-organized and educated that very little falsity can get by them for any length of time.

Years later, and the watch industry has not forgotten the important lessons that came out of the Calibre 1887 series of events. We believed that anyone releasing a "new" movement would not make the same mistake. Unfortunately, it happened to Bremont and aBlogtoWatch reached out to communicate with the brand after-the-fact to get the full story.

aBlogtoWatch spoke with Nick English, co-founder of Bremont, last night. Bremont has been working on the production of a fully in-house made movement for years, but producing all the parts necessary to make an entire movement is extremely expensive and complicated for even the biggest brands. We learned that the BWC/01 is a major step in the direction of making in-house movements, but that the project is not done yet.

According to Bremont, someone revealed stolen and confidential details about the BWC/01 movement before the launch of the movement and the Wright Flyer watch. Apparently, the primary motivation behind stealing, then revealing the movement details was to highlight basic similarities between the BWC/01 and another movement manufactured by Swiss movement maker La Joux-Perret under the caliber name 6901. Stolen details or not, the fact remains, and Nick confirmed to us, that Bremont did in fact work with La Joux-Perret on the development of their new movement.

The discussion on the Internet after the launch, was a confusing scenario that caused many people to prematurely judge the situation. In an exhaustive phone conversation with Bremont we discussed the key details of the brand's first in-house developed movement and feel like we understand the situation. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Bremont released a product with a movement produced by them and La Joux-Perret and they should have been more clear about that in their press release.

The Real Story Behind The Bremont Wright Flyer In-House Made BWC/01 "London" Watch Movement Watch Releases
A Detailed Look At The BWC/01 Movement Through The Sapphire Caseback Of The Bremont Wright Flyer Watch

As Nick told us, "We have worked with La Joux-Perret on the movements of some of our previous watches and so was natrual to seek their expertise again. We sat down with La Joux-Perret and said 'We'd like to develop a movement with you,' in an effort to create a new movement that is unique to Bremont." According to Bremont, the result was a close collaboration between the engineers of the brand and La Joux-Perret, and that certain key parts of the movement are purchased from La Joux-Perret while some elements are produced by Bremont in-house. Nick English confirmed that Bremont intended to make the Wright Flyer their first model equipped with a movement that is totally unique to Bremont and produced in part by them. The issue, was that much of the press release language was vague enough to allow people to believe Bremont had designed and produced the BWC/01 movement all by themselves. This assertion was false and Bremont is knowingly guilty of producing a confusing and misleading press release - though we believe their intent was not to deceive when taking the press release into consideration as whole.

Bremont should have been more clear about the circumstances behind the BWC/01 movement. As judgmental as watch lovers are, the only thing they will exclusively not put up with is being lied to or feeling like they were being lied to. Bremont should have been much more straight-forward and confident about their relationship with La Joux-Perret. What is the lesson here? That any and all communicative ambiguities by a company may be taken and expanded to do maximum damage by people with malice or strong emotions who feel as though they have been wronged. The watch industry in 2014, especially with the speed of Internet communication, should be mindful that the withholding of pertinent facts will be deemed to be tantamount to a lie.

Bremont should have indicated that they worked with La Joux-Perret, a prestigious Swiss company, on the development of a unique and exclusive movement for Bremont that would be partially produced by Bremont in London. Failure to disclose the partnership was the major issue, a side-effect of luxury brands today wishing to appear that they do everything in-house. Even huge companies such as Patek Philippe and Rolex use outside suppliers for certain movement parts and watch components.

The BWC/01 movement is part of a greater goal behind Bremont's larger aspiration – or as Nick put it, the brand's "holy grail" – which is to be able to produce a movement in the foreseeable future that is entirely manufactured in the UK. The role of the BWC/01 movement in this immensely challenging undertaking is to serve as the first step down this long road that would ultimately lead the brand to its first fully British manufactured caliber. Those with their hands firmly planted on the pulse of the watch industry will know that producing a brand new, fully in-house conceived and manufactured movement is a borderline impossible feat even for the largest and most powerful brands in the industry. Regardless of the "heft" of a company and its financial abilities, establishing a movement manufacturing facility takes several years and necessitates vast financial investments that are unattainable for the absolute majority of watch brands on the market today.

The Real Story Behind The Bremont Wright Flyer In-House Made BWC/01 "London" Watch Movement Watch Releases
The Founding Brothers Of Bremont, Giles English (Left) And Nick English (Right)

Again, to overcome these issues, Bremont reached out to La Joux-Perret in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, a high-end movement manufacturer that is also home for Arnold & Son. Given that Bremont has collaborated with La Joux-Perret before – specifically for their Codebreaker and HMS Victory pieces – it was natural for Bremont to approach La Joux-Perret (LJP) and ask them to co-operate with the engineers of Bremont in developing a new movement that was to be unique for the British brand.

The relationship with La Joux-Perret came to fruition with the BWC/01, which as a design, remains exclusive to Bremont. Nick English confirmed that the movement is built around a successful going-train configuration by La Joux-Perret that is used in other base movements of the manufacturer. The going train is the arrangement of wheels and pinions that transfers the energy of the mainspring to the escapement. The primary reason for this decision, beyond optimizing the cost of the development and production of the new movement, is linked to the reliability and durability of this crucial movement part.

Several major and smaller manufacturers have used for their new in-house movements tried and tested going-train layouts, "lifted" from other comparable movements that have been on the market for decades. This is quite common, and watch lovers know this. From a more technical point of view, changing the layout of these parts offers little-to-no actual benefit to the wearer, beyond updated and different aesthetics. All of this is OK, but the issue remains that Bremont should have been more straight-forward in communicating these facts.

Once again, whether or not there was a theft of movement schematics from Bremont many people quickly spotted the similarity between the BWC/01 caliber and a movement used by Arnold & Son in their DSTB watch. The movements in both the Bremont and the Arnold & Son watches are built around the same base La Joux-Perret mechanism with the same going train configuration. Furthermore, there are some considerable differences between the two movements that Bremont points out.

The Real Story Behind The Bremont Wright Flyer In-House Made BWC/01 "London" Watch Movement Watch Releases
The Arnold & Son DSTB Watch With The Same Base Movement And Going Train Configuration Found In The BWC/01 Movement Of Bremont

First, the DSTB watch features a dead seconds complication with a ticking seconds hand and an off-centered subdial for the indication of the time, which is a considerable modification over the seconds sub-dial and central hour and minute hands of the Wright Flyer. More importantly, as we have noted in our original article about the piece, the Bremont BWC/01 movement is in part manufactured in the UK at the Henley-on-Thames Bremont manufacture location. Currently, Bremont makes their own bridges and mainplates, and plans on gradually extending their operations to involve the crafting of other key components in the near future.

Nick English told us that it is an ongoing process that requires several millions of dollars worth investment and is extremely important to Bremont as they strive to become a more vertically integrated manufacturer. Ultimately, Bremont wishes to make a movement from scratch to finish in the UK, consequently bringing watch manufacturing of this level back to this once-prospering watch making region.

So, is the BWC/01 a movement that is completely manufactured in-house by Bremont? No, and technically speaking, Bremont didn't say it was. Nevertheless, the language was admittedly not clear and the relationship with La Joux-Perret should have been stated with clarity. When anyone is asked to spend $5,000 - $10,000 (or more as is the case with the Bremont Wright Flyer watches) on a product, they should be given accurate and straight-forward information. It is common for manufacturers of all kinds to obfuscate information and want to appear as though they did everything themselves. We understand that, but given the incredibly close and detail-oriented nature of the watch industry no new product release should be done without considering "what people are going to find out."

The Real Story Behind The Bremont Wright Flyer In-House Made BWC/01 "London" Watch Movement Watch Releases
The Bremont Wright Flyer Watch And Its BWC/01 Movement

In the aBlogtoWatch article debuting the Bremont Wright Flyer, James Stacey wrote "the movement is signed "London" and many of its components are manufactured at Bremont HQ in Henley-on-Thames, England." This remains true and we hope that Bremont will be more careful moving forward in regard to how they communicate about their novel products and accomplishments moving forward. The goal of producing a fully British movement is interesting, and if anyone can help design one that can be produced in any volume (as opposed to the lovely one-of-a-kind creations by Roger Smith) it is perhaps Bremont.

The truth is that Bremont is not alone in being unclear about its "in-house movements" and who they work with. What is unique to Bremont is how closely followed they are by the watch collector community, and that they serve as a role model for many upcoming brands who would love to achieve the success of Bremont. As a role model, they admit to making a mistake in the launch of the BWC/01 movement and we hope that moving forward they will have a better grasp of how to go about what is honestly a rather complex and delicate type of product launch. We look forward to seeing one of the Wright Flyer watches soon and hearing more about Bremont's developing in-house production capabilities. bremont.com

What do you think?
  • Interesting (5)
  • Thumbs up (2)
  • Classy (2)
  • I love it! (1)
  • I want it! (1)
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  • Seriously, I hope they can rebound from this quickly and permanently. And also, as they learn and develop process for making and presenting movements on their own, that they also learn and develop strategy for pricing them appropriately.

  • TomasinaCovell

    BS, good spin attempt, even carry water for them.  But this is all smoke and oakum for the rubes that don’t understand the mentality of watch boutique hustlers.  A watch of that design would never necessitate the work of an actual in-house movement at all, and they are just blowing smoke because everyone knows developing a movement was never a reality, why would they?  They story lacks gravitas, and it’s laughably unbelievable.

  • DavidJGreenspun

    Interesting that the author refers to La Joux-Perret, as a “prestigious Swiss company”, when they are in fact owned by Japanese Citizen Watch Company. Interesting to note, La Joux-Perret was branded as such following the arrest of its disgraced founder, Jean-Pierre Jaquet after his involvement in the “Ulysses Affair” (for robbery, receiving stolen goods, and counterfeiting Rolex watches).

  • Aytunc

    I dont understand the part of “somebody stole the plans and leaked out to make a smear campaign” 

    what a crock of BS. No one needs advanced plans, serious watch enthusiasts know most of the movements and you can’t pull a BS like this on the age of internet and enthusiast forums. They lied on their press release, thinking that they can get away BS like that and got caught. Simple as that, they could have said “Mea Culpa” and lots of other things but this positive spin attempt isn’t convincing and a little below ABTW frankly.

  • AlbertP

    I was reading at hondikee about this movement days ago, it don’t look good for this brand…
    http://www.hodinkee.com/blog/introducing-the-bremont-wright-flyer

  • Aytunc Yes I agree that watch lovers “would have found out” sooner or later. I don’t think they are trying to give it a positive spin nor are we. The simple truth is that despite the omissions in the press release we like what Bremont is doing and are trying to explain what happened and focus on the positive elements of the brand.

  • DavidJGreenspun All of that is true. However, Citizen does not really involve itself in the day-to-day operations of La Joux-Perret at all. Further, the movements are good as is their current reputation. Few important brands have squeaky clean pasts.

  • TomasinaCovell It is funny that you mention that because when we initially read the press release we thought it was odd that mention of the BWC/01 movement was at the end. I agree that the Wright Flyer didn’t need more than the Wright Brothers connection and the integration of the new movement should have just focused on the in-house made parts. I am frankly starting to get a little irritated by “in-house” and all the various definitions people apply to it.

  • JasonLevine

    This cover up is very unfortunate. Bremont is still focusing on the wrong things with these terribly overpriced, overhyped historic models. Also Bremont could have gone the way of Nomos and stated most of the parts were manufactured in London but the movement was not there own design. Bremont started out beloved by the watch community but the slow pace of the forums show that the brand is trying to reach way too high way too fast. I guess they are doing well by duping idiot millionaire celebrities to buy these ridiculous models.

  • DavidJGreenspun

    aBlogtoWatch DavidJGreenspun Exactly my point, Ariel.  The industry is replete with muddled transparency and contaminated pedigree.  Our global supply chain has created a Frankenstein reality we continue to call a Champion Sire.  Ebauche here, design influence there, hairspring from another source, and profits funneling back to a different continent.  Few brands have squeaky clean pasts, and even fewer are 100% “in-house”.  It’s become an economic near-impossibility to completely create a quality timepiece within the vacuum of a single house.

    Not that Bremont shouldn’t be held to task for their misleading claim.  But with so much of the industry outsourcing key components (just to remain competitive), maybe a journalistic spotlight should be focused on the idea that what is unspoken is equally ambiguous.  

    The watch industry is not alone in this practice.  Just look to the “American Made” car industry.  Clearly 7 of 10 “American Made” cars would surprise you as not so American. http://time.com/money/2945725/american-made-cars-ford-toyota/

    Quality, finish, craftsmanship, and accuracy need to become the true measure of a fine timepiece.  The Origin of Manufacture is quickly becoming its own ambiguity.

  • Twinbarrel

    Disappointed.
    I looked up to this brand and followed their development with genuine admiration.

  • BigMike213
  • GBD

    I sincerely hope Bremont can put his behind them and move on, and most of all I hope they actually learned something here. Time and again these kinds of incidents happen, leaving me to wonder if the Swiss just have consistently garbage PR efforts, or if they’re trying to be intentionally deceptive with their marketing. Probably a bit of both.

  • gojiB

    David/Ariel, an excellent article clarifying what happened in this case. Having said that, nothing changes the fact that Bremont did try to deceive or conceal the origins of the movement. However, this coupled with the fact that here you have a watch maker who seems to be interested in making more and more watches as limited releases, one with a piece of this, and a piece of that, a tribute to boeing and what not, it’s a little silly and they’re going totally in the direction of Hublot… however, Hublot is bloody successful at it and i totally get it’s appeal though it’s not my cup of tea… Bremont is trying to focus on it’s ‘English’ness but with very little association to anything ‘English’… Anyways, hope they fully develop the movement with LJP, stop doing limited editions with a piece of Beckham’s boot next…. and bring those prices a notch down.. and i can actually see them being a little successful..

  • TheHorophile

    The worst thing about this is Bremont trying to point the finger at a boogie man who’s supposedly out to get them. The way I see it, it wasn’t a poorly written or vague press release,  just straight-up deception to give themselves credibility they don’t deserve- and ultimately jack up prices. They tried to make it sound like they had somehow resurrected the English watchmaking industry. Whatever…

  • bnabod

    this is rather ridiculous. CW did something better they at least bought or merged with the company that made what they now call their in house movement. So now they get to justifiably say “in house” and that is fair. Bremont, I never got, they are overpriced across their range and in this case with a movement from LJP  trying to be the new hip brand with a piece of code machine, the whisker of a Nepalese snow leopard….or some fancy rotor……

  • Subarashii

    Having attended a Bremont event last month, the deceptively written
    press release and “it’s not our fault” defense doesn’t really surprise
    me.  Overhyped, and overpriced watches – particularly amusing was one LE
    that you could only get if you actually ejected from a fighter jet
    (distinguished by color or something). However, their fan base is highly
    enthusiastic and will likely defend them to the end.  To each his own…

  • somethingnottaken

    First: I’d like to commend Bremont on their plans to setup in house manufacturing in the UK. I don’t care much whether or not movements are produced in house; however, England has a long tradition of quality and innovation in watch making, and I’m happy to see Bremont and Christopher Ward working toward reviving this tradition.
    Second: Anyone familiar with the La Joux-Perret movement could have noticed that the BWC/01 was suspciously similar. Nor is it a stretch that such a person would inform the online community: it’s what happened when TAG Heuer released their Calibre 1887. So there’s no reason to believe the above claims of stolen documents and nefarious motives must be true.
    To make such claims about the whistle blowers, without providing supporting evidence, only compounds Bremont’s public relations error. If the evidence must be kept private (for example due to potential legal action) it would  have been wise to keep the accusations private too.
    Besides, what difference do the whistle blowers motives make to the potential consumers, the watch community, or me? What matters to me, and I suspect most others, is that Bremont released a misleading press release. Accusing the whistle blowers of nefarious actions and motives (and especially doing so without presenting supporting evidence) comes across as a cynical attempt at distraction.
    The best response Bremont could have made probably would’ve been:  appologizing for the misleading press release and explaining it away as an unfortunate miscommunication between their engineering and marketing departments.

  • TomasinaCovell

    aBlogtoWatch TomasinaCovell I’ll buy that for a dollar!  🙂  I did like the rotor design, and some of it’s attributes in general are pleasing… if not somewhat toy-like or like the phrase “Jumped The Shark”, the whole experience seems like jumping the shark.  It’s a novelty watch, not horology, and I’m sure if they stay in bidness they’ll be bound to do the Three Stooges at some point.

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  • Chronic

    My comment is on the craft and style of the post. The author is overly fond of the expression “moving forward” ; in fact he uses it twice in one sentence! On top of that, the article sounds as though it was written in haste, almost as a first draft.  It badly needs editing.

  • d4nimal

    Here’s the first thing – Their website STILL says that the movement was “designed and developed in Britain.”  When I say that I designed something, omitting the fact that 5 of my friends helped me shouldn’t lead to a discussion about how technically I never said that I did it 100% by myself.  Idiocy – and it is insulting to our intelligences to even have to discuss that being a legitimate out.  The fact that they did just that reveals two possibilities – 1) They were intentionally trying to mislead consumers OR 2) They are naive idiots, in which case the watch industry is not the place to be acting all puffed up like you created the wheel again but you actually borrowed your friend’s.  Nice wheel but it’s not your wheel.  In either case, you’re either a liar or you were not ready to be here – or both.

    There is an army of people fiercely enthusiastic about mechanical watches, and they are intelligent and educated.  People spend a mindblowing amount of time cataloging miniscule changes from one iteration to the next – look at the Rolex lines, for instance.  You honestly think someone needed to steal your movement plans for this to get out? The watch was released literally on the same page as the Arnold and Son which uses the same base.  We are not that stupid – but Bremont is insinuating that we are.

    For Bremont now, nothing but a full apology with none of this “people are out to get us” will do, and even then it’s not like I’m really considering buying one in the future now.  Perhaps the smart move would be to get out of the serious enthusiast arena entirely and focus on more novelty “limited editions” housing snippets of Amelia Earhart’s bra.  No one who is buying those watches cares what movement you used.

    I love this site and read it daily, but trying to “focus on the
    positives” is doing a disservice to both the integrity of the site as
    well as its readers.

  • somethingnottaken

    d4nimal I agree with all but the last sentence – Ariel and ABTW have to be careful what they say/publish in order to avoid getting sued by Bremont.

  • d4nimal On behalf of the team I apologize if you feel that we are doing a disservice to anyone – our goal is quite the contrary. Part of what we try to do is consult with the industry on how do to, and how not to do things. We’ve discussed the situation with Bremont and advised them on how to best remedy a situation which can cast doubt on their integrity. Of course it is up to them to make a decision on how to react. My opinion is that Bremont should release a totally new press release document focused on just the movement. I further believe that Bremont is currently considering how to better describe the BWC/01 movement but given that they are a company they aren’t like to just go on their website and change words around as discussions need to be had. 

    I think this served as a sort of wake-up call to them in regard to how seriously the community takes each word a brand that many people like say. 

    In our coverage we have mentioned the bad (without holding back) and also mentioned the positives. The funny thing is that Bremont is upset that we even discussed it, and some of our audience is upset that we didn’t lash out more. So that puts us in the middle between two parties who aren’t super happy and when you take the middle road it is often the fact that it is still going to look like you are not taking a firm position. 

    So when readers feel like we are “doing a disservice” by all means please inform us of it and we will do our best to refine our message or meaning.

  • Chronic It is true that we wanted to get this up quickly because we felt it was important to the community. The post was written by David and myself so the mixture of styles is perhaps what you are seeing. When we have a bit more time to focus on content – as we normally do – we often have a more extensive editing process. Thank you for keeping us on our editorial toes.

  • DavidJGreenspun aBlogtoWatch A few years ago I wrote about the Dubois-Depraz manufacture that produces modules, and is generally held with a lot of confidence. I mentioned some of the brands that they produce parts for and added that the Swiss watch industry as a whole should be proud of all the great companies that work together like a sort of extended family. In fact the industry at large was founded on a lot of companies working together to produce a final product, not everyone producing all the parts. 

    I am not sure when it was but at some point brands began to market the “total independence” of manufacturing. At least one company threaten to sue Dubois-Depraz if they did not force me to remove mention of their name from the article which I wrote here on aBlogtoWatch – simply indicating something true that no one should be shy about. 

    I am a fan of painting the Swiss watch industry as just that, a connected industry of high-quality suppliers that contribute to the larger concept of “Swiss Made.” Unfortunately a lot of brands continue to disagree and feel that they are better off claiming all the laurels of “novelty” for themselves. We will continue to praise the industry overall and make it clear when we have enough information about the many small companies that help put together the industry overall.

  • gojiB On top of all that there is the serious matter of “in-house” made and how you define that. The term is way too loose and I think it needs to be properly defined.

  • In Da House

    For Bremont now, nothing but a full apology with none of this “people are out to get us” will do!
    This is correct.
    Bremont think they can get away with this but they can not. They have been caught out by so many people now on the forums and blogs. The movement is so clearly not designed by them or designed in England. It’s Swiss and A&S use the same base parts or is that just another company out to get them. I suppose it’s also part of the plot that A blog to Watch put the A&S watch on the blog at the same time to make them look stupid and a laughing stock. Which it has done in a big way.

  • d4nimal

    aBlogtoWatch 
    Those are fair points and well-received.  I think part of Bremont’s appeal is that its owners are presented as being down to earth, real guys’ guys.  It tarnishes that image to release circuitous, defensive, and vague letters that sound like they were conceived in an office by a PR consultant who should have been fired by now.

  • In Da House The irony of course is that the Arnold & Son article which published around same time whch contained the similar movement was totally a coincidence as it was scheduled to post long before we even wrote the article about the Wright Flyer!

  • I like the idea that this event could be a not-so-subtle warning to watch brands to be more forthcoming with their “advances” in tech. What I continually get annoyed with however is the fake outrage these type of things produce. The good that this article can do for the industry far outweighs the damage. Bremont should atone and write a very technical article containing the relationship. Other companies who manage to keep up the in-house facade, should also consider to clear up these claims in their own respective press releases. Ablogtowatch should keep on doing what it has always done and provide up-to-date news obviously avoiding marketing falsities wherever possible, and the rest of you… relax.

  • In Da House

    Sadly irony will be lost on Bremont. You and Hodinkee have both done an excellent job of reporting this and in the process shown you will not be misled by watch companies big or very small! This is what journalists should do and it gives the readers confidence in what you say. Well done is all that remains to be said.

  • Twinbarrel

    Each day I read ABTW among a handful other blogs to stay current on the affairs of this ‘hobby’ of mine and alongside built a sizeable collection of timepieces. There is so much choice out there for a collector and even more material being blogged and written for magazines by fellow enthusiasts like Ariel to help ensure this information is just. I admire Ariel’s quick approach to Bremont in an effort to clear the air for bremont, collectors, enthusiasts, readers and satisfying a personal interest. ABTW’s position is to remain neutral until facts have officially revealed itself and for more than this reason I respect Ariel. Thank you for not just writing this article but more so to actually approaching the brothers as a true foundation to the article.

  • aBlogtoWatch 
    <rant>
    We as watch enthusiasts and owners need to be less obsessed with “in-house caliber” (IHC) and more concerned with what the movement is – its features and design elements, materials, accuracy, reliability, finish, etc. Where it is made by and whom is interesting of course, but unless you are buying a vintage watch, the “heritage” of a movement seems pretty irrelevant to me. Modern movements need  to stand on their own merits.
    If Bremont had said their new movement is unique to Bremont and was developed in England and with their manufacturing partner LJP in Switzerland all would have been well.
    Much as I like Nick & Giles English and Bremont as a brand, their statement in the video clearly intends to give the watch buying public with the idea that Bremont alone designed and developed the movement (while acknowledging that the manufacture of it is only partially performed in the UK).
    They went a bit too far and got caught doing it. All on them (and screw the “thief” attempt to divert the issue). But everyone makes mistakes and I’m sure they will learn from this one. 
    And the greater damage is that it tarnishes their very credible efforts in moving to producing fully UK designed and developed movements. Notice that I did not say where the movements should be produced. 
    Nations with a historical manufacturing capability (such as the UK and the US) have become more so knowledge based economies with manufacturing moving to places with lower labor rates. Assuming that quality standards are maintained, where a piece of metal is made is not all that important in the greater scheme of things. 
    Before anyone disagrees with this statement, you’d better look into parts being made in Asia (OK, we are talking about China) which go into “Swiss” watches. Notice that the Swiss FHS 
    (http://www.fhs.ch) which pressures the Swiss government to legally define what “Swiss Made” means in relation to watches, does not go for 100% Swiss made. Parts come from all over in this global economy. And labor sourcing often follows labor rates. As they say, do the math.
    So to me, where a part is made does not matter so much. Where the control aspects are located do matter to me. Where is it designed matters as some countries are still better known for “we give you good price” that “we give you best quality”. Where the quality standards are defined and enforced matter to me. Where it is encased and regulated matter to me. It shouldn’t be that way assuming international quality standards are meet, but in the real world it does still matter.
    Do “Muricans” really care that some car engines come from Canada and in some cases that final assembly of “American” cars is also done there? Do I care if some German watch brands still get their balance springs from Swiss Nivarox? Do I care if a steel watch case (assuming is well machined and finished) comes from China?
    So I don’t care that the new Bremont movement is largely made (and  perhaps enginered) in Switzerland. But I do care about a brand fudging on the truth as that destroys their credibility in my eyes. 
    </rant>

  • antjay

    Unless the mysterious  ”  person with an agenda against the brand ” wrote the original press release , Bremont has nothing to complain about . They have released a clearly ( or perhaps unclearly ) misleading press release and now find themselves red faced and red handed .

  • P Oktori

    Very interesting story, and thumbs up to Ariel here for being sensitive to the main issues. I think we’ll see another such issue appear some time soon. Movements and designs are still copied left and right in the watch industry. 

    Just a small note from a fellow editor: there is a lot of unnecessary repetition in the write-up.

  • DangerussArt

    Here’s my take. Is it honestly that big of a deal?  If one was going to buy the watch, would you not now? It’s not like the movement is sh1t now, that its source is more readily known. If anything, I’d have more faith in the thing now that I know a reputable “engine builder” is behind it rather than be an early adopter of an unproven new manufacture.

    Within the watch industry, loads of firms subcontract co-supply and share methodology when it benefits them with or without full disclosure. Our cars are many times more costly, carry our families and other precious cargo, yet are comprised of parts from likely hundreds of suppliers. No one is demanding full disclosure of all sources for that. So why is this such a big deal?

    So they kept some sliver of truth from you?  Oh my goodness!  Ever buy a shirt made in Bangladesh, eat sausage, dine out, buy gasoline, use an investment firm? Oh how the secretive non-disclosed truths of those industries must make life unbearable for those that are getting this worked up about a watch movement.
    So despite the apparent “sins”, Bremont has still produced a uniquely styled, configured movement that is unique to Bremont in its finished form.  Industries of all sorts incorporate semi-finished goods and parts into their final product with nary a word to the consumer. And we’re all fine. 

    So withing this hobby there seem to be far too many obsessive types who must make their superior knowledge of minutia known to the world.  I’s be willing to bet that the first to raise a flag about this “heinous” offence has no interest in the brand, the watch or harming anyone, but merely to exhibit some self congratulating “Look what I know – see how important I am?” foolishness.
    I’m not a Bremont fan-boy or rabid defender of the brand.  I can always count on the watch hobby to make me feel normal in the face of all this pedantic “outrage”.

  • antjay

    DangerussArt I own shirts labelled as made in Bangladesh and have no problem with this , I would be most p’ed of if I discovered that my “made in London ” shirts that I payed a premium for were made somewhere else .
    It’s a trust thing , and once destroyed , trust is very hard to rebuild .

  • somethingnottaken

    aBlogtoWatch DavidJGreenspun I’m not sure of this, but I think the focus on vertical integration was a side effect of Nicolas Hayek’s efforts to wean Swiss watch makers from dependence on ETA movements.

  • In Da House

    In the late 1990s, Nick & Giles were flying across France in their 1930’s biplane. The weather was closing in. A rough-running engine forced them to make an emergency landing. Keen to avoid the French authorities, the brothers were more than happy to accept the gracious help of the farmer whose field they had landed in. They stayed in his home, the aircraft took cover in the barn. It transpired their host had flown aircraft during the war, as well as being a gifted engineer. Half-restored wall clocks lay everywhere, together with numerous engine parts. The farmer still even wore his own father’s wristwatch. The brothers promised that his warm hospitality would never be forgotten. His name? Antoine Bremont.
    Is this the truth or just another made up tale? It seems strange that Antoine Bremont never appears anywhere other than the hallowed pages of the Bremont website. Lucky they found the only clock making pilot in France.

  • DangerussArt

    antjay DangerussArt

    Agreed, but the London > Bangladesh differential is vastly different than Bremont >  La Joux-Perret, The movement isn’t crap just because it’s not fully Bremont.  I’ll admit that the stratospheric price escaped me there for a bit. I’m sure the Arnold & Son piece isn’t cheap either.

    The trust thing. It’s important and then again probably not. I’d bet like most brands the number they sell to WIS is a fraction of those sold to people who just think it’s a neat watch,

  • somethingnottaken

    MarkCarson aBlogtoWatch The Swatch System 51 suggests that it’s possible for a highly automated facility to produce movements in Switzerland (and by extension any other high wage country) at a competitive cost. 
    Additionally expertise in precision manufacturing of small parts can be fount outside the watch industry – for example Christopher Ward mentioned that they went to medical equipment manufacturers and others for pieces of their new movement. Local expertise in precision manufacturing can be found many in countries and regions which lack expertise in manufacturing watch movements.

  • P Oktori

    DangerussArt antjay Mmm, possibly, and I do think they did a great job on designing the wheel, but if my Bangladesh-made shirt was actually launched as a British achievement, and sold for a good amount of money that would allow you to choose from a range of truly British-made ones, then wouldn’t you be even a little peeved? (although I would probably prefer the Bangladeshi one myself; spent way too many days on Bond street not to be utterly disappointed with British tailoring…) Would you expect car lovers to simply accept that the Mini Cooper was running on a Fiat engine (if it were)? A watch is partly mechanical, so it’s not just about design, but about the manufacture too. At least for some people. 

    I wasn’t shocked when I heard the news at all, but I do find these announcements irritating, seeing as there is so little creativity in the watch world as a whole. Maybe I should make another plain hour/minute dress watch, put an ebauche ETA inside, stick some ugly name across the dial and call it a “new watch” too… 😉

  • In Da House

    Since 2006, IWC has unveiled a series of Pilot’s Watch special editions in honour of the outstanding books and life’s work of the French author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
    There seems to be a touch of Déjà vu here, another Antoine mentioned on the IWC site before the Bremont site is turned on. Not to mention the striking resemblance between the IWC site and the newly constructed Bremont site at that time.

  • gyang333

    This was not written by Ariel. Admittedly it’s written in a similar voice to Ariel’s.

  • kwcross

    If anything, this story proves how fickle this industry really is.  If, years from now, they do achieve the status of an in-house manufacturer, I would certainly have pause in spending big money on a watch, made by a SMB, which is always 1 misleading press release away from going south (servicing would be a nightmare, if they suddenly went kaput, after you spent whatever thousands of $$ with them).  IMO, I think it is best to stick to the established brands, if an in-house movement is of great importance. Just a thought.

  • Twinbarrel

    As a collector and hobbyist of fine mechanical timepieces I spend much time looking at and educating myself on every detail of a watch in order to appreciate its beauty and justify its value the market places on a vintage watch or a design house on its new watch release. Some watches represent the value of very nice cars or a home, but instead of driving friends and family across nations in luxury or provide living space in a nice (next) home, the money is chosen to be spent on a fine timepiece that I must rely on for its value (for various reasons) as much as I would depend on a car manufacturer or builders specifications. You need to get what you pay for and discrepancies in a car or home are no harder to find in timepieces if you are looking for it. If I would only care for the exterior or looks of a watch, you would be correct and might as well shop for a quartz timepiece. It’s the origin, complications and general intricacies of movements that I care to value. To each his own. Yes. But I feel at the right place here at ABTW and don’t wish to be fooled by anyone. There’s too much of this going on already after point of retail.

  • gyang333

    Thank you for publishing this although I’m disappointed Bremont was not pressed harder on the Arnold & Son movement. So yes it’s highly modified, but the base looks the exact same. I doubt Nick and Giles are big enough suckers to allow LJP to sell part of this Bremont “in-house” movement to a rival brand. Doesn’t that ruin the propiertorship of the movement? Sure there might have been some corporate espionage prior to the release of the movement, but if Bremont wasn’t shady as shit with the press release and their subsequent response/actions, the saboteur wouldn’t have had anything to work with. Bremont’s claims of in-house sunk their own ship. If they weren’t lying/misleading they would not be in this situation. Someone should explain how Christopher Ward manages to do it and sell a watch ~£1200 and Bremont does arguably less and sells for more than 10x that?

  • Twinbarrel

    I stand corrected dear friends. I respect Ariel and his entire team. David has done a great job.

  • gyang333 ABTW has already said that Ariel collaborated with David on this post. While it was “by-lined” by David, this was partly a matter of him being in a time zone better suited to contact Bremont quickly for comment. But as an insider to the ABTW editing process, let me assure you there was a lot of discussion and input by the other editors and contributors of ABTW in the last 24 hours. Ariel and David are both responsible for the end result. Which I think was timely and well balanced and it made Bremont and some readers equally unhappy for opposite reasons. The truth in most situations is found in the middle ground. Cheers.

  • somethingnottaken What makes the Swatch Sistem 51 possible for a reasonable cost is HOW FEW HUMANS are involved in the process. They have what is no doubt the most automated watch production line in the world (and they are proud to say so). So, in effect you are proving my point that the labor costs often drive production to “developing nations” (a term I really don’t like). I agree that greater automation helps to level the playing field in manufacturing but we are not at the point (and probably never will be) where high labor rate countries can compete with low labor rate countries for production of physical items.
    Fun to labor impacts discuss, but in the case of  Bremont, the labor rates of Britain and Switzerland are not really the issue driving things. I think this was clearly a case of not starting from ground zero but rather starting with an existing partner and an existing base movement (at least the going train). I really with Bremont had been more up front and stressed their partnership with LJP (which would have instilled more, not less, trust in my mind). I tend to be suspicious of completely new movements as ETA like reliability usually comes after years (or decades) of refinement. I’m glad that they worked with LJP.

  • Based on reading the above “mea culpa” by Bremont, I get the impression that they were forced out to apologize with mom pinching their ear and they kept looking at the ground and not in the eyes of the person on the other side. 
    Additionally, I got a strong vibe of ARROGANCE in their supposed “apology”…or clarification of “facts”.
    I certainly don’t look down on a watch because it’s not entirely “in-house” and know quite well to get to that level one must have vast resources, which small independents can’t be realistically expected to have in a short time. 
    BUT… to knowingly mislead and then attack when outed…well that’s just tacky and is what I think everyone got so worked up about. 
    There was no contrition. AT ALL.

  • somethingnottaken

    MarkCarson somethingnottaken I agree.
    If the initial announcement had said Bremont partnered with LJP and moved some manufacturing to London as a first step toward establishing in house movement design and manufacturing, it would have recieved warmly by pretty much everyone. At the very least the LJP movement is a nice step up from an ETA/Sellita movement.

    It’s clear from the comments that the initial negative reactions were the result of an initial announcement that seemed to claim more. A quick and appologetic admission that the press release was wrong would’ve quickly quelled most of the criticism. It was the defensive, almost threatening, reaction to that initial criticism that spawned the current firestorm.

  • somethingnottaken

    gyang333 The piece of the Wright Flyer no doubt accounts for most of the price of this particular Bremont. Steel cased regular production Bremonts seem to sell around $5000 and seem to be a reasonable value compared to other watches in that price range. Compared to Christopher Ward the Bremont has a more expensive case and presumably has more hand finishing and decorating throughout.

  • somethingnottaken I could not agree more.

  • In Da House Actually, at this point in time (Sunday), Hoodinkee still has not posted a response from Bremont. I will agree that they are hosting another parallel lively discussion and they expect a statement from Bremont any day now, but strictly speaking from an editorial standpoint, they have yet to say anything on their own. It will be interesting to see ff Bremont has any “movement” on their movement position.

  • davidlee24

    Bravo David Bredan finally someone writes a fair critical article on ABTW! Sick of all the ass kissing to other brands whenever something goes wrong. Great article.

  • DG Cayse

    I have always been very skeptical of marques popping up with “created history” to support their supposed passion.

    It seems my skepticism has been, once again, rewarded.

  • gyang333 I actually did write a lot of it. David and I worked on it together.

  • TomasinaCovell

    Here’s a lovely on-topic sort of article, many comparisons.
    http://www.hardwarezone.com.sg/blog-dangers-kickstarter-watches

  • TomasinaCovell I have backed both the Bradley watch (for the visually impaired) and the Egard William Shatner watch and both have been delivered (and are worn by my daughter who works at BlackPoint Fine Watches). So while there is risk, it is possible to support watch projects which see the light of day.

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  • TomasinaCovell That’s our Kenny! Good piece.

  • In Da House

    FORECASTS
    Until May 2013 all Schofield watches were designed in England and made in Germany, the dial therefore stated ‘Germany’. Since then our watches have been designed and assembled in England. According to the current law all of our watches could have England written on the dial. In spite of this the Signalman and the DLC still retain the Germany label as we feel this to be the most sincere and appropriate description. By contrast our new watch, the Blacklamp Carbon, will have England on the dial. It is almost entirely made in England and we believe the details of its design and manufacture, the effort made and the endeavour warrant the label.
    The Blacklamp Carbon – Made in England
    100% – Watch assembly in England
    92% – Value content of Blacklamp attributed to England
    100% – Watch Design in England
    98% – Value content of associated Blacklamp items attributed to England
    100% – Assembly of associated Blacklamp items in England

  • drmosta

    History for the sake of intrigue as an “important” part of a companies branding is understandable, in my opinion. Because the watch enthusiast will put a value on exclusivity, clear information on an individual piece’s manufacture is critical to the credibility of all brands.
    I find the history on Bremont charming, whether or not it’s genuine. However, sourcing on components goes to the heart of the business transaction I make as a watch buyer and any fiction in that arena is completely unacceptable.

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  • NickDSO

    gyang333 What was not discussed here is that even though the A&S movement is “different” – the Dead Beat seconds complication is more than likely modular.  I would suspect that removing the DBS would result in a “base” movement that’s almost exactly the same… after all, if you remove the DBS you would have a time only movement with a seconds display…which is exactly what Bremont has.

  • Ayreonaut

    The buyer assumes that a price of $25k is justified by Bremont’s development costs.  When he finds out the truth, he’ll feel like he was robbed.  Which he was.

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  • Feller87

    aBlogtoWatch DavidJGreenspun That is a crazy story! almost as crazy as you getting banned from Baselworld by a few paranoid watch companies, whose own insecurity results in them looking more pathetic than if they had accepted the (deserving) criticism stoically.

    I recently read the reddit ama that you did a little while back and it definitely explained why you have pulled back a little in your critiquing style, its still there but less stinging I suppose.

    To address your point, I have nothing against companies who use ETA or other mass produced movements. My one question is when I see a watch with a base movement is “what do you bring to the table?” what extra innovation have you brought to bear that deserves my hard earned money. 

    Even Richard Mille does the same thing on many of their offerings (Very clearly explained in some of your articles on them) albeit at a much higher price point, sourcing their movements from APR&P. In fact if they had to do everything in house they probably wouldn’t be able to exist. They however are a tour de force in the area of innovation with regard to materials, casing, design and functionality.

    What has Bremont brought to the table?

  • Ayreonaut

    At 50% of retail, this limited series would raise $7 million. Even 25% of that figure, $1.75 million, would probably cover the movement development costs, since we’re dealing with moderate modifications to an existing design. I think Bremont could have spread the costs over a greater number of releases, but I’m not the investor.

  • gyang333

    I don’t see much by way of modifications. Sure the rotor is cool. That’s about it. I can’t believe that some are buying their p.o.s. backtracked response.

  • TomasinaCovell

    Chaz_Hen I know, it’s like O.J. Simpson all over again promising to find whomever it may be that really murdered his dear wife and friend.

  • Ivan1998

    Sorry Arial you give Bremont a pass not RGM what a joke.

  • Ivan1998 Well those are two very different situations, but I appreciate that it might appear we are “choosing” who to be easy on. In the case of Bremont we have been very straight forward in our assertion that they made a mistake, and that all they needed to do was be honest from the beginning. Together with the community places like aBlogtoWatch have made it clear to Bremont that something needs to change.

  • Ivan1998

    aBlogtoWatch Ivan1998 This is true A TRUE (modern American watchmaking should not be overlooked). https://www.ablogtowatch.com/disclaimer-company/

  • Ivan1998 aBlogtoWatch I totally agree with you. It is a shame what happened. Makes us all very sad.

  • somethingnottaken

    aBlogtoWatch Ivan1998 Different situations, but it looks like Bremont aren’t alone in making a PR mistakes. You may well have been wronged, but I think mentioning it before you could disclose more about what happened was a PR mistake.

  • somethingnottaken aBlogtoWatch Ivan1998 Yes, this is of course an important consideration. Again, the entire team has discussed this at length and we attempt to make careful decisions in the interest of our readers at all time. Of course each message can have multiple interpreted meanings but in the situation you are referring to it was important to clarify our position in regard to the brand without waiting for a resolution that may never occur. It isn’t a particularly enjoyable thing to have to tell our important audience something, but not everything.

  • Itai
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  • EFed33

    “The funny thing is that Bremont is upset that we even discussed it…”
    If/when the company comes out with an apology it will feel disingenuous. It will seem more like a “we are sorry but only because we were caught”. Own up to the PR mistake and inform the community of the facts about the movement’s origin. Then let the buyer determine if their $20,000+ purchase is worth it or if they can find a better value from a real in-house manufacture. But most important of all, learn from your PR mistake and recognize that it is never a good idea to mislead (intentional or not) the customer.

  • Jorg Bader

    The article speaks several times about going train which in fact should read gear train.

  • In house
  • In house

    Farmer Bremonts field in Franch.

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  • MichaelKonradH

    LOL This just once again PROVES that these brands that just suddenly pop up are worth nothing. Even Bremont’s own video marketing doesn’t make sense : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FZv0f8iS4E it says the brothers are lifelong AVIATION fans so upon having an accident they realized they must do what they love most and…… build watches???? What the heck?? I don’t even think the farmer ‘Antoine Bremont’ actually ever existed. Could be just another part of the ‘story’ invented. For a brand TRYING so HARD to have history…. you think if Antoine Bremont really exists they wouldn’t have photos of him, showing his house, his barn (where the Brothers got their inspiration LOL)??????

    And the dishonesty in this movement…. it’s even worse than when TAG Heuer did it with the 1887. At least TAG came clean about it. So Bremont tried to blame this ‘individual’ for trying to draw attention to the likeness of the movement to LJP…….even though the movement IS taken from LJP?? Come on!!! Bremont is a very GIMMICKY brand. They have no history, they’re not watchmakers. They just partner with established names and put pieces of cloth in their watches and charge EXTORTIONATE prices.

    I’ll give them 1 thing, their marketing is pretty good. But only idiots will buy Bremont when they can buy an Omega, Rolex, Breitling, etc.

    • Mihir

      I don’t anything about Bremont, but going by your pop-up logic, there should be no new watchmakers? thats just silly.

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  • dirtdiver99

    MichaelKonradH While they aren’t as old as Patek Philippe, they aren’t a brand new pop-up. Plenty of us have seen and appreciated Bremont since 2002.

  • MichaelKonradH

    dirtdiver99 In the watch world, even a 30 year old brand is a pop up. Not only that, Bremont is a true case of a pop up brand. Its founder isn’t a watchmaker, unlike Greubel Forsey, etc etc. It lies mostly on gimmicks and good marketing.

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  • kcopen

    Finally a voice of reason

  • Rushwarp

    The problem is not only with Bremont, there are a couple of other independent watchmakers (who I will not name here) who either by vague language or actual fibbing, are faking out clients. I find this most disturbing, as it is the independents who should know better and set the bar high to begin with! Furthermore, with the Internet today it has no use whatsoever, as everyone can track where the movement is coming from, as happened here.

    In addition, it is an affront to independent makers like Kari Voutilainen, Roger Smith, Dufour and others who DO make movements in house from A-Z. It shows a lack of respect for the art of the watchmaker on many levels.

    7 millions investment for a so-so movement like this? How silly of them.
    The machines to make movement parts have gotten down to the lowest prices available today and can do more than ever before. For 7 million you can buy several machines, get a couple of engineers to design a truly English inspired movement and get to work in the UK instead of using this route.

    There are several smaller UK brands who would jump at the possibility to get a UK designed and made movement, and would help in getting the idea economically viable.
    Why haven’t Bremont done that instead of this bla-bla?
    Because they are not really serious about watchmaking at all.

    Rushwarp

  • TomasinaCovell

    MichaelKonradH Bremont’s like in Barry Lyndon where the Prussian captain Potzdorf says, seeing through his disguise “will you give yourself up man?”,  truly a Fredo the watch world.  Shifty traders!

  • cshepley

    P Oktori DangerussArt antjay instead the Mini Cooper is running a Brazilian designed engine.

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  • chrono70

    Even when they tried to come clean (after the fact), they seem so shifty. The founder, says that they were “naive”? Hmmmm. Not buying it at all.  The whole response https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eg81-b-Jko came across as very disingenuous. With their limited editions making all kinds of claims as to unique/exclusive materials uses in the watch, and thus justifying the price….What else are they not being clear about (or are they naive to)? When you charge $20,000+ for a watch, you better not be naive about anything. Glad I found out about this before a shelled out a boat load of money on a Bremont. They may have made a mistake in their launch, but the mistake wasn’t that they could have been more clear, the mistake was that they were deliberately deceptive and they didn’t think they would get caught out. They make some nice looking watches, and were on my next to buy list, but now…Never buying a Bremont. Thank you to whoever busted them.

  • chrono70

    aBlogtoWatch Ivan1998 They didn’t make a mistake. They lied. Unless you call lying making a mistake, which usually only happens when people get caught. I would be willing to guarantee that had no one called them out on it, they wouldn’t have voluntarily owned up to their “mistake”. Makes you wonder what else they are B…S….ing about. And yes, by simply saying they made a mistake, instead of calling it what it really was, you were very easy on them.

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  • Claire Gyrd

    Any information about the movement of the DH-88? Lajoux as well?

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