Desert Commando: practice with the Bremont MB Savanna edition | Viewing time
Bremont manufactures watches that not only evoke military history, but are also designed for use in military grade conditions. We recently got our hands dirty with perhaps the ultimate expression of this philosophy, the titanium case. MB Savane edition.
“For a pilot,” recalls British watchmaker Bremont, “weight means everything. With that axiom as a guide, the London-based watchmaker known for his rugged, military-influenced aviation watches finally gave his flyboy fans a version of the MB – his most crooked and prized watch ever. military pilots – in a tough but lightweight titanium case.
For those who don’t know, the ‘MB’ in the name of the watch stands for ‘Martin Baker’, a British aviation company founded in 1929 which today supplies over 70% of the Western world’s air force with technology. combat ejection seat. As one of the early partners of the fledgling Bremont Watch Company, Martin Baker collaborated with its founders, former RAF reserve pilots Nick and Giles English, to produce the first MB watch in 2009. Battery of tests which he suffered prior to being released, including, but not limited to, being strapped to a mannequin’s wrist during an actual ejection seat test. The MB Savanna, like all of the MB series watches from this first model, suffers the same challenge but also adds several other modern improvements.
As mentioned above, the MB Savanna is the first watch in the series with a grade 5 titanium case, a material whose attributes, both practical and aesthetic, are now well known to watch enthusiasts: lighter but harder than steel, heat and corrosion resistant, hypoallergenic. The 43mm case, formed in the three-part “Trip-Tick” construction familiar to Bremont fans, has a smooth anthracite color with a sandy texture and is finished in what the company calls a “tactical” anti-reflective coating. The surface of the case is subtly grainy to the touch and almost entirely matte in its finish, with no polished elements in sight, even in the facets. The domed sapphire crystal is the only surface of the watch that catches light, despite its anti-reflective coating, and the occasional shine can in some cases detract from the attractive “stealth” look of the watch.
The mid-layer of the case, which is water resistant to 100 meters (good to know in case your ejection seat lands you in a lake), features a knurled surface inspired by the components of a Martin Baker ejection seat. The crowns, one at 2 o’clock, the other at 4 o’clock, each have a different function and each appropriately display a different visual element on their upper surface. The first, which is pulled to adjust the hands and pushed to wind the watch, bears the Bremont propeller emblem; the latter, which activates the rotation of the inner “Roto-Click” bezel, a practical timing accessory patented by Bremont, has a “bullseye” look with concentric rings. Their sides share the same knurled texture applied to the middle layer of the case, a pattern that is both visually appealing and a tactile feast for the fingers gripping the crown.
The pale, desert hue of the titanium case echoes the dial, creating a color palette reminiscent of military camouflage tones used in deserts and similar climates, particularly those of parachutes used by pilots ejecting from cockpits. Hence the name of the model “Savanna”, as in African Savanna, which Bremont says was at the suggestion of Andrew Martin, vice president of business development and marketing at Martin Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd., little- son of one of the founders. The dial also houses the other established emblems of the MB collection, including the distinctive hands and numerals and the distinctive counterweight on the seconds hand.
Bordering the dial is a rotating flange in a similarly colored tone, inscribed with a minute scale consisting of black graduations, tone-on-tone-colored numerals at the five-minute markers, and a white triangle with red outline at 12 o’clock. position. Another odd choice in the service of readability is the use of monochrome numbers; they are often lost in bright lighting and unlike hour and minute hands, it seems that no luminous material is applied to them. The inner flange is, however, remarkable for its usefulness: in Bremont’s “Roto-Click” system, the crown at 4 o’clock turns it in both directions in 60 individual clicks. A counterclockwise twist sends the ring forward; one clockwise, vice versa. This is useful if you want to align the 12 hour triangle with the minute hand for timing an interval.
Each hour is marked by a sans-serif number accompanied by a bar index, with the exception of the 3 o’clock position, where said index accompanies a small square date window. This date display itself is noteworthy, with its lightly faceted frame and white numeral on a gray background, ensuring that this small complication does not disturb the monochromatic austerity of the design or strike attention with the other elements. of the well-placed dial which does.
What are these elements? One of them is another inverted triangle, this one in bright red, placed in the center under the Bremont logo printed below 12 o’clock. Another is the red ring and tip at the end of the seconds hand pointer, with a point of light in its center, which circles the dial to reveal at a glance that the watch is working. Yet another, at the opposite end of the seconds hand, is a yellow striped looped counterweight inspired by the pull handle of an airplane ejection seat. Another red circle appears above the inscription “ANTI SHOCK AUTOMATIC” around 6 o’clock.
The caseback, fixed by six polished-headed titanium screws, has a sapphire crystal to showcase the movement, a caliber based on ETA that Bremont nicknamed BE-36AE. Its rotor is another updated design element that is skeletonized and benefits from an advanced ruthenium treatment. As on previous MB watches, the automatic movement is secured by a patented shock-proof fastening system inside the case, which makes it extremely resistant to shocks and impacts. It beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour, stores a 38-hour power reserve and, like all movements installed in basic Bremont watches, is chronometer-certified for precision by the Swiss testing agency COSC. These stopwatch tests are in addition to the extensive regime the watch is put through to gain its wings, so to speak, as a member of the rugged MB family, which includes the aforementioned live ejection seat tests as well as exposure to the sun. salt spray and extreme vibrations, temperatures and altitudes.
The monochrome look of the Bremont MB Savanna continues on the rubber strap, executed in the same khaki color as the case and chosen for its durability and versatility in all types of conditions. The model I reviewed was fairly new – probably one of the first to ship to the US – and its strap was just a little stiff at first, but after a week of wearing it improved in smoothness and comfort, caressing the wrist and – important in the hot summer days when I wore it – keeping it cool. The titanium pin buckle has a lightly engraved Bremont logo engraving. The strap offers two sturdy rubber loops and eight holes for the buckle tongue, and most wearers should easily find a comfortable adjustment for the wrist.
Bremont co-founder Nick English refers to the watch, which was made, finished and extensively tested at the Bremont watch factory in Henley-on-Thames, England, as “an eye-catching military candy and a tribute suitable for arguably the most successful pilot’s watch on the market, widely used by real military squadrons. It also makes a convincing case as a stylish and versatile wrist accessory whether you are heading to a cockpit or a bar. cocktails.
Maker: Bremont Watch Company, The Wing, Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 4GE, United Kingdom
Reference number: MB Savannah
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date display at 3 o’clock
Movement: Bremont BE-36AE automatic caliber, COSC-certified chronometer, 26 jewels, Glucydur balance, Anachron hairspring, frequency = 28,800 vph (4 Hz), power reserve = 38 hours, increased impact resistance of the modified automatic winding bridge, rotor Bremont skeleton with tiered windows and branding.
Case: Grade 5 titanium case, matte finish in a protective tactical coating; Construction of the “Trip-Tick” housing with knurled aluminum body in anthracite color; patented shockproof protective backing; Patented “Roto-Click” bidirectional inner bezel, operated by the crown at 4 o’clock; Case back in grade 5 titanium fixed by six screws with sapphire crystal display window, water resistant to 100 meters (10 ATM)
Dial: Sand-colored metal dial and date disc, index and hands coated with sand-colored Super-LumiNova Grade X1
Bracelet and clasp: “Savanna” rubber strap with pin buckle
Dimensions: Diameter = 43 mm, lug width = 22 mm
Price: $ 5,795
A version of this article first appeared in the November-December 2021 issue of WatchTime.