Guest Post: Tested Beyond Endurance Part II - Bremont Supermarine S2000 ¶
The second in Jeff Buchanan-Dorrance's series of reviews for the Baily Blog, this week Jeff profiles the Bremont Supermarine S2000
Like all of you, I have a passion for fine timepieces. I am an active family man and busy CEO living in Halifax. I value astute advice on my purchases and place a premium on personal service, so buy all my watches through Matt Baily in Montreal.
Last week, I shared with you the extraordinary capabilities of the Bremont MB (Martin-Baker) series of timepieces and their committment to building aviation-themed watches capable beyond any challenges you could ever hope to throw at them. Bremont has also made significant inroads into the military aviator community, issuing squadron- and mission-specific timepieces prized by their owners and the military units they honour, as well as collectors of interesting and durable watches.
Bremont is winning fans worldwide with their quality, innovation, and friendly (gasp) and responsive (double gasp) customer service. (Part of me wants to write, "an industry first!") Clearly, they want us all to have an enjoyable experience.
As the emerging British Rockstar of Watchmakers, they are spreading their creative and technical wings and gaining traction in the marketplace--where a used Bremont is a rare bird, I must add. And how do most watch companies flex their muscles? Dive watches: the tried and true showcase for technical prowess.
And we all do love a good, rugged dive watch, don't we? You can't not have a diver of some description for beating around with outside or hitting the beach or lake.
I need to tell you that the team at Matt Baily have been too patient with me and dive watches. Instead of telling me to stop whining about the scratches on my Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver (oh, so fine), Jason gently directed me to Bremont.
(Rolex devotees can dodge the next paragraph by browsing the cool vintage and preowned lineup on the website.)
My watch needs are really very simple when it comes to my family's active outdoor lifestyle. Make it: waterproof, easy to read, scratch-resistant, accurate, and really, really cool (and not a Rolex).
Jason mis-heard me as asking for something that would allow me to glance at the time six or seven thousand feet deep into the frozen blackness of the North Atlantic after being rocket-ejected from an exploding jet fighter...all while not whining about case scratches. And...here is my new Bremont Supermarine S2000.
"Tested Beyond Endurance", indeed. This mighty dive watch takes the shock resistance from their Martin-Baker project and marries it to an anti-magnetic, three-part, sapphire-hard tool steel case and crystal built to withstand bone-crushing pressure in frigid, inky depths that make Almighty Poseidon beg for his momma. Poseidon ordered a Bremont after his Royal Oak and Sea-Dweller pancaked at 300 and 1,200 metres, respectively.
As you can see from the photos, this is a significant watch, at around 45mm. With the downturned lugs and rubber strap, it wears smaller. (A bracelet is available but is not a subtle thing.) It is larger than their original divers but still reasonable for its extreme capabilities; there won't be anyone mistaking it for something to drop at centre ice.
As with their MBII, the finely-brushed surfaces of the hardened case are immaculately finished. The beveled outer edges of the lugs are black polished, which is exceedingly difficult to do with surfaces hardened to 2,000 Vickers. Surfaces like that beg for a scratch or two. A purposeful assault with a massive diamond oughta do it. Try not to hurt yourself.
The centre barrel of the case is matte charcoal and offers a nice colour and textural contrast against those distinctive lugs and case top. The 2 o'clock crown screws tightly down and is guarded by a ramp of polished steel running along the barrel from 4 o'clock. The back is screwed down and features a unique serial number and an engraving of the record-breaking Supermarine float plane that provides the weak thread of heritage tying this deep diver to "aviation".
Their engineers were clearly thinking Thor's Mjölnir, not float plane on this one; there's more than a whiff of Superhero around the Supermarine. Future editions may actually feature an engraving of Thor smiting this plane with Poseidon's watch. I would buy that.
They would have us note that the rings of the centre barrel and the parallel grooves on the strap--mirrored harmoniously in the embossed dial centre--are an homage to the grooves on the surface of this plane's pontoons. Nice details but... Float Plane...?
Internally, the engine of this Bremont icon is ETA but of top quality and a COSC-certified chronometer--suitably modified for a hard life. The movement is suspended within the case within a shock- and vibration-resistant mount which is further surrounded by a soft iron antimagnetic shell and sealed within its 2,000 metre water-resistant case. There is a helium escape valve just in case your "decompression stops" are deep under water versus the local biker bar on the way home from the office; this is a supremely resilient package for both missions.
The 5mm thick sapphire crystal, in Bremont fashion, is gently domed and all but distortion-free and with double-sided, hardened, 9-layer anti-reflective coatings. The insert of the knurled unidirectional rotating bezel is also sapphire. If you examine the crystal in profile, you can see that the bezel crystal was cut from the same blank, as its surface is of an arc continuous with the main crystal. It is a very nice detail that rewards every time you see it.
The bezel itself engages decisively with no play. Bremont has a proprietary ball bearing assembly that they call "roto-click". It is a tight system for a solid watch.
The matte black face of this watch is eminently readable, with applied hour plots and hands generously in-filled with blue-white SuperLuminova. The hands are simple and mission-oriented, being distinctive and easy to read at a glance. The second hand features a red tip to match the subtle red text on the dial. There is a round lume plot on that tip that follows right over a fine white railroad track on the dial. I appreciate that kind of detail. The central vertical ridges add a little interest, too, and are also appreciated.
It's hard, though, to appreciate that chrome window framing the day and date. I can't think of a better way to do it but it seems out-of-synch with the overall design. I can't imagine noticing that faux pas 2,000 metres under the ocean so it doesn't detract from the overall rightness of the design.
The Supermarine comes in a fine leather watch roll, with a suede-covered inner spindle, which opens to reveal a strap tool and ample room to store a pancaked Sea-Dweller or two.
I really love that Bremont is hitting their stride. The Supermarine S2000 is a handsome, well-built, and brutally capable timepiece. Its good looks wouldn't be out of place anywhere, whether you're being fired out of a cannon straight into two kilometres of frigid water or just enjoying a nice evening out. Barring a mishap with a handful of diamonds and a blender, it will keep its good looks for as long as you care to be in love with it.
- Jeff Buchanan-Dorrance