The world sets its time to GMT and because the Swiss dominate the luxury sector and get the somewhat biased respect of aficionados, we forget that it was great British innovators who lead the way in mechanical watchmaking over the past few centuries. The lever escapement for example was invented by clockmaker Thomas Mudge in 1755, as was the coaxial escapement created by master horologist George Daniels in 1974 — used in Omega watches since 1980.
Although the core businesses of both Daniels and his protégé Roger W Smith were founded on creating unique pieces designed and entirely hand-built by themselves on home soil, there are more accessible UK brands worth noting with enough of their components locally made and assembly done at home for ‘Made in Britain’ to surely still apply. ‘Swiss Made’ carries only a 60% Rule, so if we apply the Rolls-Royce approach to watch making — does a BMW-powered Roller make it any less British? — then using in-house, modified respected Swiss engines to power your watches seems like a clever move, especially that initial set up costs for a new brand would be prohibitively expensive.
Bremont along with others such as Graham and Garrick are putting the country back on the horology map through their individual design approaches. With a marketing payoff line of “tested beyond endurance”, Bremont are not only tested for robustness but also COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) certified chronometers to ensure incredible accuracy and reliability under some pretty extreme conditions. If we look at the range, at the heart of Bremont is a story that is appealing to anyone with a sense of adventure and love of beautifully engineered mechanical devices. Now that is what I call the best of British!