The Day I Took to the Skies With Bremont
By Graeme Hughes, Wakefields Jewellers’ Watch Manager
Last week, I enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience: flying with Nick English, co-founder of award-winning British watch makers Bremont Chronometers.
Bremont’s founders – brothers Nick & Giles English – are accomplished pilots, passionate about flying old aircraft. The Bremont brand is the result of their shared ambition to make beautifully engineered pilot’s watches.
Their focus on this dream was sharpened by the tragedy of their father Euan’s death in a flying accident as he was practicing for a display.
The English brothers love flying. It’s in their blood and the history of air flight is a topic they hold dear. Incredibly, they have succeeded in forging a respected British aviation watch brand, steeped in history, yet also incredibly innovative, with one foot firmly in the future.
So you can imagine that it was an incredible thrill to be invited to join them in the air. As a big fan of the brand and what it stands for, I was beyond excited to meet the brothers.
Ready for lift-off!
On arrival at North Weald airfield in Essex, I met the rest of the invited group, which included the heads of the watch departments at Selfridges and Harrods and a number of watch managers from independent jewellers.
I learned that we would be flying in a 1953 Max Holste MH.1521 Broussard, a six-seat utility monoplane, designed by Max Holste for the French Army. Nick and Giles were there and we discovered that Nick would be piloting the plane.
When it was time to take our seats and the engine started to roar into action, I was struck by the incredible noise. I have flown in a water plane in Canada before, so it wasn’t my first time in the air in a small aircraft, but this was ear splitting by comparison.
As we took to the air, I felt reassured that we were in safe hands. Nick demonstrated his piloting skill with a very smooth take-off. He also seemed to relish introducing us to the experience of G-force and weightlessness as he dipped and dived through some controlled manoeuvres.
I’m not ashamed to admit screaming like a girl (I wasn’t alone!). Exhilaration overcame nerves though, and I really enjoyed the breathtaking views as we circled the countryside surrounding the airfield.
Learning about Bremont
Back on terra firma, there were other amazing highlights of the day. Having passed on the chance to fly in a Yakovlev Yak 52 (nicknamed the “Yak” because of it’s capacity to make passengers go rather green), my standout moment was learning about the Bremont story first-hand. It was a joy to hear about how the determination of two brothers led to the making of a widely respected watch brand.
Bremont was founded on the admirable belief that if you want something in life, you go out and get it. Bremont watches are the embodiment of this sheer human spirit. Whether it is by land, sea or air, there is a watch in the collection that will complement your resolve and help you to achieve your goals.
The team at Bremont believes passionately in their British brand. With this in mind, the head office at Henley-on-Thames is expanding to make room for machines that can manufacture watch components in house.
Bremont has a strong desire to “pay it forward”. It supports the Walking with the Wounded Foundation, which has HRH Prince Harry as Patron. The organisation funds the re-education of wounded servicemen and women, helping them find long-term employment upon leaving the Armed Forces.
Another charitable endeavour is to donate proceeds from the sale of the Bremont Wright Flyer to benefit restoration of the historic family home of the inventors of flight, Orville and Wilbur Wright. The Wright family estate is being set up as a museum for future generations to enjoy.
My day with Bremont was an uplifting experience in more ways that one! It was inspiring to hear the Bremont story in Nick and Giles’ own words and their enthusiasm was infectious. It was a real treat to see and handle limited edition pieces like The Wright Flyer and Terra Nova.
Everything about the Bremont brand exudes quality and integrity. It is mind-blowing that it has taken the English brothers just 14 years to achieve the dream of putting British watch making on the world map.
With high standards and lofty ambitions, it’s no wonder they feel at home in the sky!