A bold new aviation-inspired chronograph...
Large brands and manufacturing groups dominate the Swiss watch market, so it is always refreshing to discover a small company making beautiful watches at a relatively affordable price. This genre of modern micro-manufacturer is typified by Brellum Swiss Watchmaking, who only produce 299 high quality watches a year.
In the capable hands of Sébastien Muller, the fourth generation of a family of watchmakers, Brellum has quickly gained a reputation for innovative designs with an exceptional attention to individual detail. We can trace Sébastien’s ancestors first foray into watch design back to 1885, which is not a surprising when you consider Brellum is based in the Jura region of Switzerland – one of the spiritual hearts of horology.
Sébastien gained considerable experience over 25 years in the watch industry working in production for large brands until he felt the drive to create his own watch. With much needed technical support from his equally talented wife Christiane they retreated as a team to their picture postcard wooden chalet in Gstaad to create their first watch. The result was the Brellum Duobox which is the cornerstone of the portfolio today. The brand name was conceived from a B, for Sébastien’s town of birth, Bonfol, and the family name Muller in reverse.
When it came to designing a logo for the new brand, they were inspired by a mythological beast called a Wyvern. The Brellum creation is derived from this dragon like creature which is often seen with a magical carbuncle stone encrusted into its forehead. A stone which, according to legend, could generate its own light.
The Brellum PILOT Power Gauge Chronometer
Inspired by vintage aircraft instrument panels, the new PILOT Power Gauge Chronometer is unmistakably from the world of aviation but cleverly manages to avoid the ubiquitous stark black and white cockpit designs which is so prevalent today. Beneath the domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal, the striking dial has bold metallic numerals and sword hands complimented by recessed counters with perfect legibility. Generous Superluminova coverage accurately conveys information in low light. Along with the three sub-dials synonymous with the Valjoux 7750 base, such as a small sweep second hand at the nine mark, there is a fourth power reserve dial to the right which measures the 46-hour energy store. This gauge ends in a dramatic red segment which is reminiscent of critical aviation dials. The sapphire crystal case back gives visual access to the highly modified 7750 movement which has been enhanced and beautified to a high level. Indeed, within this price bracket, the PILOT may be one of the finest looking watches from the back available today.
The watch is presented with blue, silver, or black sunshine pattern galvanic dials which reflect available light in a myriad of angles. The blue and black models share a dial with red accents, whilst the silver model has blue details and is perhaps the most representative of the classic era when aircraft were manufactured in a polished steel in colour.
The case is purposeful with deeply curved lugs so the watch will sit well on the wrist. The PILOT is available with either a brown or black leather strap with engraved logo or a steel bracelet. Finally, the crown of every Brellum watch is engraved with the magical carbuncle stone which is connected to the Wyvern legend.
Case Material: Stainless Steel 316L
Weight: 110g with leather strap, 170g with steel bracelet
Case back: Numbered case back with sapphire crystal, anti-reflective treatment
Water resistance: 50m / 5ATM
Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
Dial: Domed galvanic sunshine pattern dial, with indexes and Superluminova
Hands: Hours and minutes and chrono counters with Superluminova
Movement: BR-750-PR Chronometer movement (Valjoux base) - COSC certified, 25 jewels, 28'800 A / H, Incabloc, Glucydur balance, Nivarox alloy hairspring
Power Reserve : 46 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph, power gauge indicator
Price: CHF 2’890 on leather strap, CHF 2’990 on stainless steel bracelet
There are a lot of aviation homage watches available today, for all budgets, most based on cockpit dials of aircraft. The Brellum PILOT slots well into this genre but it elevates itself beyond many others as the dial itself actually looks like it had been hewn from left over construction material from a classic aircraft rather than just lifted from a cockpit panel.
The image of the Boeing B29 Superfortress which dominates the PILOT’s webpage is well chosen as the watch, especially the silver model, looks like it could be made from parts of that iconic aircraft. The bespoke rotor visible through the case back even looks like the famous glass domed cockpit of the B29.
The pilots watch market is a cluttered one but the Brellum PILOT Power Gauge really offers something different at a fair price. If you are in the market for such a watch, take a step back from the “big” Swiss brands and give serious thought to this Brellum gem.
You can read more about the Pilot Power Gauge Chronometer on Brellum's website here.