After looking at new territories, like regatta, with the replica watches dedicated to the America’s Cup (Bremont is the official Timekeeper), or antique cars, with the Bremont x Jaguar editions, the brand now goes back to what made them famous, military, vintage-oriented pilot replica watches. Paying tribute to the de Havilland Dh-88 Gomet, Grosvenor House, the aircraft that broke the England to Australia flight record in 1934, the Bremont DH-88 Comet Limited Edition is the latest of the collection. And not only Nick and Giles English (the founders) incorporated a part of this soul in this replica watch, but they literally put something from the aircraft in the replica watch… And that’s rather cool.
We’re not going to go deep into the storytelling behind this replica watch. First, this is not our thing, we prefer to look at the product for what it is (and really, it’s a very nice product) and Nick and Giles English (the founders of Bremont) are much more talented than us to do so, as you can see on the dedicated page on their website. Briefly though, the Bremont DH-88 Comet Replica Limited Edition is a tribute to a famous aircraft, the de Havilland Dh-88 Gomet, Grosvenor House, which broke the England to Australia flight record in 1934, doing it in only 70 hours and 55 minutes, for the MacRobertson Air Race. Yes, it can sound rather long, considering today’s standards (the BA0015, from London to Sydney, takes 22h30, including one stop in Singapore) but at that time, in 1934, it was just astonishing. Beyond being a race for the fastest flight, it also encouraged the operation of a fast and safe commercial air route to Australia. To compete, Sir Geoffrey de Havilland proposed to design and build a new aircraft capable of victory, the DH-88 Comet. This twin-engine aircraft constructed of spruce plywood prove to be more than suitable and finally, pilots Charles W A Scott and Tom Campbell Black achieved their race from London, UK, to Melbourne, Australia, in just under 3 days. This is this accomplishment that the Bremont DH-88 Comet Limited Edition is paying tribute to.
With this heritage in mind, Bremont men's replica developed a replica watch that could easily be worn for such intercontinental flights – so you won’t be surprised to know that the Bremont DH-88 Comet Limited Edition is a Chronometer certified Chronograph with GMT function. The 282 pieces in stainless steel and 82 pieces in 18k pink gold have a generously sized 43mm x 16.2mm case. The lugs are short and curved, the surfaces are polished and the crowns, one for setting / winding, the other to actuate the inner 24-hour scale, are showing a vintage diamond shape (inspired by antique pilot replica watches). The case also has nice contrast, with a central barrel black DLC coated.
The dial shows strong legibility and high contrast, with its large Arabic numerals on a black face and contrasting white sub-counters. However, it is not void of a certain elegance, as the face remains rather clean and the hands, even if legible, are thin and harmonious. The layout is classical: hours and minutes on the central axis, small second at 9 (in black too, so not disturbing the legibility), 30-minute counter at 12, 12-hour counter at 6 and finally, a GMT hand with a 24-hour scale on the rotating inner bezel – which can be turned via the crown at 8.
Inside this case ticks the calibre BE-54AE, an automatic COSC certified chronograph based on a 7750 with additional GMT function. The main interest of this “workhorse” is not in the mechanics (known to be precise and ultra-reliable) but in the decoration of the rotor, which features some of the spruce plywood used in the original 1934 de Havilland Comet ‘Grosvenor House’. That was what we meant when saying that Bremont not only incorporates a part of the soul of the aircraft but also adds a part of the aircraft itself. This is not the first time that Bremont does so, and still, this is rather cool.