New Watch Wednesday: Bremont Meets Jaguar, and Bamford Goes Superhero
Bremont and Bamford Watch Department couldn't be much more different. The former is a British watchmaker inspired by vintage aviation that creates watches fit for Kingsmen, while the latter takes modern Rolexes and gives them custom blacked-out treatments. But this week each has released a pair of watches that involved collaborating with non-watch brands to bring customers a taste of nostalgia.
Bremont Jaguar MKI and MKII
Continuing its network of British partnerships that includes Norton motorcycles and Martin Baker ejection seats, Bremont has unveiled two new Jaguar-branded watches. The MKI is a time-only watch that looks like a speedometer on a vintage Jaguar, while the MKII has some of the same details on the dial but with the added functionality of a two-register chronograph. Both utilize 43mm stainless steel cases that exhibit Bremont's proprietary three-part construction, making them extremely sturdy, if a little bulky.
The first Jaguar watch from Bremont came back in August 2014, and it was only available to the six lucky purchasers of the new Jaguar Lightweight E-Types. The MKI is nearly identical to this watch, except that there's a newly added date window down at 6 o'clock. If I'm one of those E-Type owners who shelled out (an undisclosed price) for one of the special watches, I'm probably pretty annoyed by this move. If I'm any other Jag fan (and, sadly, I am), this is good news.
Powering the MKII is a relatively common (though good-quality) chronograph movement finished to Bremont's specs and topped off with the Jaguar steering wheel winding rotor. Inside the MKI, however, there is a more interesting movement. The BWC/01 was originally marketed as Bremont's first in-house movement, before the brand set the record straight and explained that it was actually designed in collaboration with movement developer La Joux-Perret. Still, while some components are manufactured outside Britain, it's assembled in Henley-on-Thames at Bremont headquarters.
Price: $10,950 (MKI) and $6,550 (MKII)
Bamford Watch Department The Phantom and Flash Gordon
Before the Rolex purists start crying "blasphemy!" I'll go ahead and say these watches aren't for everyone. George Bamford's Bamford Watch Department (BWD) has once again collaborated with Darren Romanelli, a Los Angeles-based fashion and art fixture better known as DRx, to create a pair of matte black watches inspired by comic book characters The Phantom and Flash Gordon. The former is a blacked-out Submariner with the crackling Phantom skull logo on the dial and a purple second hand, and the latter an Explorer II with skeletonized hands, red accents, and a silhouette of Gordon at the center. Like I said, they're not for everyone.
Each watch comes packaged in a matching presentation box with a metal authenticity card (because plastic or paper is for ordinary collectors) and the Phantom watch even comes with two handmade rings taken right from the comics. Each is limited to only 15 pieces and you can either get them directly from BWD or head over to Dover Street Market in New York, London, or Tokyo and pick up some Visvim moccasins and a Comme des Garçons cardigan, the de facto uniform of the young, modern superhero, to go with your new watch.
The word "important" is overused in the watch industry, but these are genuinely important, and for a good reason: They remind us that if you forget to have fun with your watches and take them too seriously, it's all a waste.
Price: $24,800 (Phantom) and $25,575 (Flash Gordon)