BREMONT X MARTIN-BAKER: THE STORY SO FAR

With the recent launch of the new MBII range and online configurator, we’ve put together a timeline taking you through the key milestones that have defined one of Bremont's most iconic partnerships.

MB Break

2007

MARTIN-BAKER REQUESTS A MECHANICAL WATCH
THAT CAN ENDURE LIVE EJECTION TESTING

One of Great Britain’s finest engineering companies, Martin-Baker, approached Bremont to design and build the ultimate aviation watch. The alliance would produce a unique timepiece that will embody all that is meant by ‘Made in Britain’.

 As the inventor of fighter ejection seat technology, and supplier to over 70% of the worlds’ air forces, Martin-Baker has long since been at the pinnacle of British engineering. The goal was to challenge conventional mechanical watch design, by applying the same exacting build standards which determine the integrity of a device that truly defines ‘a matter of life and death’. More than simply putting a logo on a dial, the watch had to withstand the same rigorous testing programme as the ejection seats themselves. The intensive and extensive testing schedule that the watches needed to undergo was a prerequisite, and so determined the necessity for a robust and “over-engineered” watch design.

 

Discover the MB range

 

MB ejection sequence

Warning break

FEBRUARY 2009

THE BREMONT MB IS BORN

Bremont formally announces a partnership with Martin-Baker, a collaboration combining Martin-Baker’s knowledge of testing, materials and design with Bremont’s precision watchmaking skills. A Bremont/Martin-Baker team formed to design and test the first watch, to be called the MBI. Exclusivity of the Bremont MBI is unparalleled in the watch industry, only available for purchase to those who have ejected from a Martin-Baker seat. Each MBI watch is engraved with the individual’s ejection number and most notably features a distinctive red barrel. This rather select group includes US congressmen and senators, CEOs of world leading corporations, and the chiefs of six air forces around the world.

Bremont MBI Ejection Image

 While the MBI is reserved for the few, the MBII is available to all. Its unique case design, distinct coloured barrel, and ground-breaking technical features made it an instant favourite among aviators in the military and civilian worlds alike. An ejection seat may sit dormant for 30 years and yet the day it is used, it must work. Martin-Baker has unique testing facilities to ensure their seats are truly ‘Tested Beyond Endurance’ and will stand the test of time. This was the first time that Martin-Baker had ever ejected a watch on one of its live ejection launches. 

Bremont MB Case Back internals

Both the movement and mechanism of the Bremont MB have been designed to ‘float’ in a controlled manner within the Bremont patented Trip-Tick® case by attaching it to the inner case via a flexible ring. In doing so, shocks to the movement are minimised and shock energy absorbed enabling the watch to survive extreme G forces from live ejection launch testing. Additionally, the inner case that encloses the movement of the Bremont Martin-Baker has the function of an anti-magnetic shield; made from soft iron it has been designed to work as a ‘Faraday-Cage’ making the watch resistant to extreme magnetic fields. Further testing that the prototype watches undergo include being held in an Altitude Test Chamber to simulate taking them up to 100,000 feet for 60 minutes before being rapidly brought down again. The Aircraft Carrier Deck Test simulates the level of salt fog and humidity that an aircraft carrier deck would endure during a 6-month tour; exposure to salt, and then drying for 96 hours, tests the watches against corrosion and the binding of moving parts. Prototype watches are put through extreme vibration testing where, during a 4-hour test, they experience the level of vibration on an aircraft over the course of a 30-year lifespan. Extreme temperature endurance testing ensures the watches still function at temperatures ranging from  -40°C to +40° C whilst tests such as the Multi- Functional Operators Seat simulate a dynamic forward crash at over 18G, moving at 42ft per second. 

 

Discover more about the testing

 

2011

FIRST MBII MILITARY EDITION FOR US NAVY VFA-81 SUNLINERS 

Bremont VFA 81 Military

 

MARCH 2014

MBIII LAUNCHED MBIII Pair

View the MBIII

The MBIII was the first Bremont timepiece to have a non-chronograph GMT movement. Put through the same intensive and extensive testing schedule, the MBIII moves the MB story on with dual time zone functionality and its recognisable bronze aluminium barrel option, in addition to anthracite and the iconic orange. The bronze was specifically inspired by a military project for pilots of the F-22 Raptor, based on the colour of the anti-reflective coating used on their cockpit canopy. True to the original MB design ethos, the MBIII takes certain design cues from the MB seats themselves, featuring characteristics such as the knurled effect on the barrel – a nod to the matching components on the seat – and the yellow and black loop on the second hand which is a direct reference to the ejection pull handle.

 Andrew Martin, eponymously of Martin-Baker, said: “The MBII has won its place as one of the iconic mechanical watches of the 21st century. Our life-saving ejection seats are tested to the absolute limit, so the creation of such a unique timepiece that can withstand the same rigorous testing is a clear demonstration of the quality and craftsmanship involved.”  

2014

FIRST BREMONT MILITARY RAF WATCH BASED ON THE MB IS CREATED:
THE MBII TORNADO GR4

Bremont Tornado GR4

APRIL 2015

JIMMY FALLON PRESENTS AN MBI TO HIS FATHER-IN-LAW LIVE ON THE TONIGHT SHOW

Having passed Bremont’s Mayfair boutique in 2014, the famed American TV Host was intrigued by the original Martin-Baker ejection seat showcased in-store. Having asked about it and learnt of Bremont’s partnership with Martin-Baker, Fallon made the connection that his father-in-law would be eligible for an MBI. In this touching clip Fallon describes how his father-in-law successfully ejected from a US Navy F8U Crusader during a training mission in the 1960s. He then surprises him by presenting a rather special MBI timepiece live on the show.

Bremont Military spoke to the family after this aired and got the full story which can be seen here:

https://www.facebook.com/BremontMilitary/photos/a.669425593068926/989142297763919/?type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/BremontMilitary/photos/a.669425593068926/989142294430586/?type=3&theater

FEBRUARY 2016

BREMONT LAUNCHES THE MBII WHITE

2016 marked the 7,500th life saved by the pioneering British ejection seat technology designed by Martin-Baker as well as the launch of the Bremont MBII White. Responding to a demand for a white dialled version of the timepiece, the MBII White offers a striking new look to the collection. The signature knurled effect on the aluminium barrel is available in orange, green and anthracite.

Andrew Martin of Martin-Baker commented, “We have subjected this new MBII to some exciting tests, and unsurprisingly, the watch has continued to pass with flying colours. It is a watch with a real story and a proper pedigree and we love that.” 

FEBRUARY 2019

BREMONT LAUNCHES LIMITED EDITION MBIII 10th ANNIVERSARY

Bremont mbiii 10TH

2016 marked the 7,500th life saved by the pioneering British ejection seat technology designed by Martin-Baker as well as the launch of the Bremont MBII White. Responding to a demand for a white dialled version of the timepiece, the MBII White offers a striking new look to the collection. The signature knurled effect on the aluminium barrel is available in orange, green and anthracite.

Andrew Martin of Martin-Baker commented, “We have subjected this new MBII to some exciting tests, and unsurprisingly, the watch has continued to pass with flying colours. It is a watch with a real story and a proper pedigree and we love that.”

2019

MBIII WATCH COMMISSION FOR THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF VFA-14:
THE US NAVY'S OLDEST FLYING SQUADRON

Bremont VFA14

 

APRIL 2020

BREMONT UPDATES ICONIC MBII DESIGN AND LAUNCHES
'BUILD YOUR OWN' CONFIGURATOR

Bremont MBII 2020 Line Up

Discover the new MBII

 

As well as refining both original white and black dial MBII models, a new blue dialled version has been added. The new dial design boasts bolder and more readable hands, a more contemporary styling of the numerals and a cleaner look with the removal of the day function. A newly designed case back is inset with a bronze coloured ‘military challenge coin’, historically used to represent membership of a unit/elite group of people or service on a specific tour of duty. Housed inside is a new movement design alteration with a more shock resistant automatic bridge.

Bremont also introduces a new online configurator which enables customers to design their own MBII. The online system has preloaded dial, case, case back, barrel and strap choices to choose from. The barrel colour options are blue, orange, yellow, green, and anthracite as well as military inspired purple, bronze, jet and titanium. The new movement design can be seen through a special open case back version which is a first in the MB collection. There will be over 100 different possible designs in terms of case and dial, and over 1000 factoring in the different straps. Included in this are several new barrel colours to extend beyond those than are presently available ‘off the shelf’; red of course still being reserved solely for MB ejectees. Once configured and ordered online, delivery of a custom MB will be 12-14 weeks.

Andrew Martin reflects on the journey to date, “The Martin-Baker ejection seat design has evolved over the decades from the Mk.1 seat in 1946 to our latest Mk.18 seat in 2020. Each new version of seat builds on the legacy of the last by adopting the latest technology as well as utilising advanced materials, combined with new testing and manufacturing processes. The latest version of the Bremont MB mirrors this evolutionary philosophy.”

Try the MBII Configurator

 

THE MB AND THE MILITARY

Over the years, Bremont's Military & Special Projects Division has created numerous bespoke watches based on the Bremont MB. Its durability and precision, matches with its coloured aluminium barrel make it an ideal candidate for customisation. Some notable instances of the MB in the military include being used for the US NAVY VFA-81 Sunliners, commissioning for the 100th Anniversary of VFA-14 Tophatters as well as being used for several Royal Air Force commissions, among many others.

Discover more

 

Bremont Military Examples

SUBMARINERS, OCEAN ROWERS, ISOLATION EXPERTS

Since lockdown began Bremont has been bringing you the best advice and coping strategies for dealing with isolation through our social media platforms and blog, hearing from our most enduring ambassadors and partners. In this article we hear from friends of the brand 'HMS Oardacious', four Royal Navy Submariners who on the 18th of January 2020, wearing their Bremont Supermarines, became the fastest serving military team to row unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean. Read their story and their best advice for staying motivated through these testing times.
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