The Beauty of Engineering a British Watch

At their UK facilities, Bremont is reclaiming the forgotten tradition of British watchmaking.

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J. W. Sotak

Giles English turns the steel watch case over in his hands, a boyish excitement glinting in his eyes. Beside him, Bremont’s lead technician and their designer eye the sharp circle as it shines in the florescent lighting of the facility. The three men are huddled silently around a simple watch part made entirely in the UK, a feat indicative of the future of British watchmaking and their part in it.

Bremont is known for its Trip-Tick design, the trademark three-piece, hardened-steel case upon which every piece in the core collection is built, and its aviation underpinnings, a nod to the family’s legacy of flying. But what drives Bremont’s founders, brothers Nick and Giles English, is a deep desire to reclaim the forgotten tradition of British watchmaking.

That much was clear when we took a look inside Bremont’s facilities in the United Kingdom to observe their production process. We peered into their new state-of-the-art R&D space at Silverstone Race Track; we looked over the shoulders of Bremont watchmakers at their two-story headquarters location in Henley-on-Thames. We witnessed, for the first time, how the brand ticks.

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At Bremont’s Silverstone facility, raw steel is milled into each of the three parts of the Trip-Tick case.

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A freshly milled case part is inspected by a technician.

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Once milled, the cases move into an automated finishing machine where technicians monitor the initial polishing process.

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Case parts await the next phase in the process at Bremont’s Silverstone facility.

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Once through the initial polishing phase, cases are carefully inspected. A technician checks every case part, finalizing the case finish by hand. Afterward, a computer-guided laser eye measures and records any variance and an ultra-sensitive nib rechecks every case.

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Afterward, a computer-guided laser eye measures and records any variance and an ultra sensitive nib rechecks every case.

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Blank case backs are arranged for laser engraving.

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The laser engraving process takes milliseconds and is done under the close supervision at the Silverstone facility.

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Bremont is working to bring all aspects of their production to Britain. While a gradual process, they have made serious inroads at Silverstone. Here, a template base plate is inspected.

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A fully assembled movement is scrutinized under a microscope.

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A movement is deconstructed for review. While much of the movement is still of Swiss origin, Bremont is making strides to produce more parts in the UK.

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At their Henley-on-Thames facility, watchmakers assemble watches, fitting cases from the various models with movements. Afterward, the watches are wound and tested for accuracy and amplitude.

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The finished products. Bremont makes 12 core chronometer models and a growing number of special editions.

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