The Bremont U-22 & ALT1-ZT
Back in 2011, when we first started selling Bremont at Topper Fine Jewelers, the brand's inspiration was consistently derived from founders Nick and Giles English love of vintage aviation. As U.S. Brand Director, Mike Pearson, pointed out to me earlier this year, that's really no longer the case. The focus of Bremont has shifted to an overall love of excellence in engineering. Inspiration now comes from a variety of sources; the Boeing models are inspired by modern jet aircraft, the Jaguar collection takes design cues from the iconic E-type of the 1960s, and the America's Cup collection is inspired by the world of yacht racing. In total there were 13 Bremont models released this year and only two of them, the U-22 and the ALT1-ZT, would have looked in step with the theme of the collection just a few years ago. This post will take a look at these two latest aviation themed models.
The Bremont U-22
First up is the U-22. If I was to describe the watch in two words, they would be "Tactical U-2." The U-22 is in the U-2 collection. This is the sister, and slightly subtler, collection to the MB series. Like the MB models, the U-22 features uniquely designed anti-shock case mount as well as an anodized and knurled middle barrel. The anti-shock system was designed in cooperation with British aviation company, Martin Baker, and enables the watch to be shock resistant to 9000 G's.
While the MB models also feature a Faraday cage that makes the movement highly resistant to magnetism (it is essentially an iron case that surrounds the movement), a few of the U-2 models forgo the cage to provide a view at the decorated movement. Like the U-2/BL that came before it, the U-22 is one of those Faraday forgoing models featuring a display back instead. While the MB series feature a design of the MB ejection cable as the counter weight of the second hand and an anti-shock logo below the hands, the U-22 provides a simpler face.
The U-22 looks "tactical" as it is the most military looking of all the U-2's and the MBs. The barrel color of the watch is a bronze color stylized after an F-22 fighter jet's distinctive anti-radar reflecting canopy. The U-22 differs from the black dialed MB models and instead has a gray dial. The date display is an open aperture showing the number before and after the current date. The shape of the opening will no doubt remind watch lovers of the IWC Mark XVII, but as it is paired with such a different dial color, barrel color, and has a Bremont's signature Trip-Tick® case, it doesn't feel derivative.
Like other MB and U-2 models, the watch features a 43mm case with a 22mm lug width and a height of around 14mm. The U-22 comes on a gray leather strap that flows very well with the barrel and dial. Like the MBIII models, it also ships with a black Temple Island strap as an alternate option.
Another look at the U-22.
The hands of the U-22.
The expanded date window of the U-22.
The chapter ring and six o'clock marker of the U-22.
The bronze colored barrel, gray strap, and crowns of the U-22.
The sapphire caseback and attractive perlage decoration of the U-22's movement.
The U-22 on the Temple Island strap.
Another view of the U-22 on the Temple Island strap.
The buckle view of the U-22 on the black Temple Island strap.
The lume signature of the U-22.
The ALT1-ZT is the latest addition to the ALT1-Z series, Bremont's GMT chronographs that do not feature the world time complication. The ZT is much more austere than the ALT1-Z models that have come before it. While the theme is still connected to aviation, the connection to World War II themed planes is more remote.
Below is a photo of the Alt1-Z/DG which shows several direct design connections to aircraft instrumentation not present on the ZT. For instance, the DG features large Arabic numbers in a font that would look at home on the instrument panel of a P-51 Mustang. The nine o'clock subdial has a two tone color that looks like an attitude indicator, and the six o'clock subdial features crosshairs. The DG also features a lot of data with both a sixty-minute counter on the chapter ring of the bezel and a 24-hour scale on the edge of the dial.
The sportier Bremont ALT1-Z/DG.
The ALT1-ZT forgos many of the above design details and instead has features that look more formal. Instead of high-contrast subdials, the ZT features a black dial whose subdials are also black and only differentiated by texture via a guilloche pattern. The crosshairs, two-tone color subdial, and sixty-minute scale have all been removed, and the twenty-four hour markers are moved from the dial edge to the chapter ring. Instead of large printed Arabic numbers, the dial features raised slightly trapezoidal and square indices. The hands, particularly the hour hand, are much larger and the lume is considerably enhanced. When describing the ZT, U.S. Brand Director, Mike Pearson, said he thought it was their purest pilot watch. While it still feels like a Bremont pilot watch, it doesn't seem specifically grounded in World War II.
The U-22 retails for the $5,695 and the Alt1-Zt retails for $6,595
The dial of the ALT1-ZT.
The hands and subdial of the ALT1-ZT.
The date indicator of the ALT1-ZT.
The red second hand on the nine o'clock subdial of the ALT1-ZT.
The guilloche pattern of the six o'clock subdial of the ALT1-ZT.
A side view of the ALT1-ZT.
The ALT1-ZT on the black leather strap.
The lume signature of the ALT1-ZT.
The display caseback of the ALT1-ZT.
Close up view of the ALT1-ZT caseback, movement, and rotor.The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.