Modern overseas vacations would not be possible. Trans-Atlantic flights a pipe dream. Even flying to Space, literally blue-sky thinking.
That is until the Wright brothers in 1903 made the first successful powered flight, in the eponymously named Wright Flyer. On a windswept beach at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA, history was made. The aeronautical age had begun.
Until the fateful day when the Wright Flyer was damaged beyond repair, all because of the force of Nature. A gust of wind took it and turned it over after only 4 successful flights.
It is not the last time we see the Wright Flyer, due to its importance to aviation history and after many years, a piece of the original muslin that was used to cover the wings landed on the Moon via a certain Neil Armstrong in 1969.
And it is this very muslin, from 1903, from the forefathers of powered and manned flight that you will find in a very special watch.
Aptly the launch of the Wright Flyer watch by Bremont was held at one of the former homes of the Wright Flyer itself, the Science Museum London. Wednesday 24th July 2014 was the date that Nick and Giles English unveiled the Limited Edition Wright Flyer to the World.
Aesthetically a very clean piece with good contrast on the dial (on the Stainless Steel version) and the rather unusual step of having the seconds sub-dial at the 9 o’clock position. Period numerals indicate the hours, elongated leaf hands add more interest to the overall look. There is a distinct lack of a date window here which seems a little odd to myself.
Here is the best bit, this watch is powered by Bremont’s first ‘in-house’ movement. Not necessarily one hundred per cent in-house, it does depend on one’s definition. But if you would like more clarity please head over to our friends at aBlogtoWatch to read the truth behind this movement. For all intents and purposes the movement is unique to Bremont even though it has similarities with other movements.
Firstly a number of the parts for the movement are actually made in England by Bremont at their headquarters in Henley-upon-Thames. And if I am not mistaken it is also assembled there, for those more astute about these things, you will have by now noticed there is no ‘SWISS MADE’ on the dial. Instead taking a prominent position on the dial are the words AUTOMATIC and LONDON. This is really aiding in the resurrection and support for the British watchmaking industry.
A little bit about the movement then, taken from Bremont’s press release;
The BWC/01, designed and developed in Britain. Many of its constituent parts have also been crafted at the company’s workshops in Henley-on-Thames. The 25 jewel, 33.4mm movement features a 50+ hour power reserve, Glucydur balance and a hairspring adjusted via a micro-metric screw. Utterly reliable and extremely robust, the BWC/01 is elegant and beautifully finished.
Not bad at all for a first effort, even if they did get some help.
As with almost all of the Bremont limited editions it is the rotor that really sparks interest, and it baffles me why so many brands choose to use such bland and staid designs. Bremont are definitely a class leader in this aspect. This particular rotor takes the form of a propeller not too dissimilar to the Bremont logo, and a riveted crescent in black and gold. Perfectly mirroring the details found on the original Wright Flyer. On each of the blades of the propeller are etched the initials WW and OW, for Wilbur and Orville Wright. A neat touch in my book. Not forgetting the prized and rare muslin that is set within it too.
Another excerpt from the press release shows the willingness and support from both the Wright family and the Bremont brothers. So much so that proceeds from the limited edition line will help to restore the Wright Family home in Dayton, Ohio to its former glory.
This unique project was only made possible by the Wright family’s passion for Bremont’s aviation heritage.
According to family member Amanda Wright Lane:
“Our partnership with Bremont on the Limited Edition Wright Flyer watch is a natural fit. Bremont’s dedication to historical themes, particularly in aviation, demonstrated by their iconic limited edition watches, all incorporating genuine historic artefacts, caught our attention immediately. As a top quality watchmaker, the brand is a perfect fit for the Wright brothers’ legacy. The wing cloth from the 1903 Wright Flyer is considered almost priceless by some, but we felt Bremont’s passion for aviation heritage made them a suitable choice for this rare use of the cloth. The Bremont Wright Flyer is a stunning way to launch our brand in international markets and is sure to become one of the most valuable watches ever made.”
Nick English, Co-Founder of Bremont agreed.
“Giles and I still cannot believe that it’s happened. Holding the original and invaluable muslin used to cover the 1903 Wright Flyer is incredibly emotive. The Wright family has been wonderful to work with and it was inspiring to see their passion for the project. Does the creation of a special aviation-inspired watch really get any better than this? Probably not. The combination of this amazing material and our new BWC/01 movement has resulted in a truly mind-blowing timepiece.”
Available in 3 colour combinations.
Well there you have it! Hopefully we here at Beckertime will get a chance to see these in person very soon!