Bremont is one of a few watch brands which can be considered undeniably British.
Established in 2002 by brothers Nick and Giles English it has grown into a global premium brand with exclusive models and strong links to historic UK engineering and aviation icons such as the Supermarine Spitfire and Martin Baker Ejector Seats. In March and April 2020 Bremont released company updates and new models which will all be covered in successive articles on the WatchGecko magazine.
The ALT1-C Griffon special edition certified chronometer pays tribute to the restored Spitfire which Giles and Nick’s father flew. The PR Mk XIX was the last of the specialised high-speed photo reconnaissance variants of the aircraft to see service in WW2. It was also one of the few to be powered by the mighty Griffon engine.
The original ALT1-C watch was the first Bremont timepiece and has been a bestseller for the company since its launch in 2007. It is a firm favourite with professional pilots.
Whilst the 2020 Griffon watch retains the core bi-compax DNA of the original ALT1-C, it is an updated model with a look which harks back to vintage military chronometers. The watch is available in a single finish matt stainless case with distinctive cream indices and lume. The mechanical movement and trademark Bremont skeletonised rotor can be seen through the glass case back.
Two strap options complete the package, either vintage leather or a stainless-steel bracelet.
In Giles’ own words, “The ALT1-C has become an iconic part of our history and, whilst it is a timeless classic, we always enjoy revisiting our designs and evolving them. It is lovely to know the Mk XIX Spitfire is a well-loved part of the Rolls-Royce collection today, not only an iconic aircraft but one which also holds personal significance to myself and Nick. The Griffon will certainly feel very much at home in this cockpit or any other for that matter!”
ALT1-C Technical Specification:
MOVEMENT: Calibre 13 1/4''' BE-50AE automatic, 25 jewels, Glucydur balance, Anachron balance spring, Nivaflex 1 mainspring, 28,800bph, 42 hour power reserve. Bremont moulded and decorated rotor. (Modified Valjoux 7750-SO BI AC)
FUNCTIONS: Hour/Minutes, small seconds counter at 9H. Date at 6H. Chronograph centre sweep seconds hand, 30 minutes counter at 3H.
CASE: Hardened stainless steel Bremont Trip-Tick® construction with scratch resistant DLC treated case barrel. Case diameter 43mm, lug width 22mm, case thickness 16mm.
CASE BACK: Stainless steel with integrated flat crystal, 5 stainless steel screws with polished heads.
DIAL: Metal dial with various ground colours. Nickel hands with Super-LumiNova® C1 luminous coating.
CRYSTAL: Double anti-reflective, scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
WATER RESISTANCE: 10 ATM, 100 metres.
RATINGS & CERTIFICATION: Chronometer rated to ISO 3159 standard.
PRICE: £4995 on leather and £5395 on steel.
A personal perspective:
The Griffon slots in neatly to the ALT1-C family which is already available in multiple options. The changes to this special edition are very subtle but do make it stand out and it has a much more “vintage” look when compared for example to the ALT1-C Blue or Polished. The principle changes are the shape of the hands which now match the Cream edition and the loss of the 3 and 9 indices to allow for bigger sub-dials. I think it is fair to say the Griffon is more an evolution of the ALT1-C Cream rather than a brand-new model.
Nevertheless, the changes really work and there is a strong argument that the Griffon is the best looking ALT1-C yet. As a package the watch is more subdued and that gives it a strong contemporary look. So often in watches less is more, and this is a particularly good example of when that philosophy really works.