Tatler Exclusive: Your First Look At The New Bremont Hawking Collection
Don’t let the name fool you: Bremont is an unmistakably British brand. Its founders' surname is "English", for crying out loud. Plus, over the years, the watchmaker has unveiled numerous timepieces that pay tribute to the UK’s latest and greatest.
Just this year, the brand launched a dive watch to celebrate former Gurkha Regiment soldier and British Special Forces Operator Nirmal "Nims" Purja’s breaking of a world record. And, in 2019, it launched the Armed Forces collection, which included three MoD-inspired references for the country’s troops.
And now, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Bremont has worked closely with the late-physicist Stephen Hawking’s family to create a limited-edition timepiece.
“We were so honoured to be approached by Stephen Hawking’s family to work on a watch that commemorates his life,” Nick English, Bremont co-founder, tells Tatler. “He’s a British icon, and his scientific research is just mind-blowing.”
For Nick’s co-founder and brother Giles, this collection is extra special. “Stephen and our father attended the same school, albeit a couple of years apart. And they also both attended Cambridge University, so Nick and I feel a great personal connection to this project.”
Part of the collection's proceeds will go to the Stephen Hawking Foundation, which facilitates cosmological research as well as support for those who live with Motor Neurone Disease, which Hawking was diagnosed with in his early 20s. “This was also something we were very keen to be involved with,” says Nick.
While the line clearly draws inspiration from the brand’s previous designs, each watch (which features a retrograde seconds hand and grand date) comes with a hand-finished 41mm closed case back that's fitted with a circular slab of meteorite, which is surrounded by an etching of stars that depict the night sky in Oxford on 8th January 1942—the date that Hawking was born.
Four wooden discs, which were taken from Hawking’s very own desk, are positioned between the stars, alongside a mathematical equation. “We decided the use of wood from his oak desk was a perfect fit,” says Giles. “The desk was a gift given to his grandmother that had been passed down to him. It’s wonderful to think that he contemplated his theories at this desk, and you can now wear this piece of history on your wrist.”
The title of Hawking’s popular-science book, A Brief History of Time, is also included on the case back, as is each watch’s serial number, which is printed on paper from original copies of a 1979 seminal research journal Hawking co-wrote.
Powered by Bremont’s BE-33AE movement, which comes with 42 hours of power reserve, only 388 pieces are available worldwide: 88 in stainless steel with a black dial; 88 in rose gold with a black dial; and 88 in white gold with a blue dial. These numbers were chosen to pay homage to the year in which A Brief History of Time was published: 1988.
Bremont has also decided, for the very first time, to launch a ladies watch as part of a brand-new collection. Again limited to 88 pieces, the women’s watch is available in stainless steel and comes with a two-tone matte polished bracelet.
Unlike the men’s edition, its dial is made entirely of meteorite and comes with polished nickel hands. Turn the watch over, and an open case back is revealed, showcasing a hand-finished automatic rotor shaped like a swirling black hole. “Designing this women’s watch was a particular challenge as the rotor is so intricate,” says Nick.
The 34mm case comes with a diamond-set bezel and index markers, which is another first for the watchmaker. Bremont has never before used diamonds in any of its collections. The BE-92AV mechanical movement also comes with 42 hours of power reserve.
But why Hawking? “He was one of the world’s greatest physicists and despite his illness he completely defied the odds, not letting anything stop him in providing his pioneering theories,” says Giles. “He also seemed to have a playful approach to life––something we should all remember when things gets too serious!”
See also: Meet Chi Hang Wong, The Collector Who Gives Away His Rolex Watches