THE ‘TRIP-TICK’ OR THREE-PIECE CASE
In designing the case for Bremont back when the first cases were being prototyped, we wanted the cases to have their own unique DNA and a design that would separate the brand from others.
The vast majority of watches in the market place have a simple two-piece case construction. The case has the lugs integrated and a case back then screws on. The key benefit of this design is simplicity and cost of manufacture, but by using one piece of metal to machine the case and its lugs, you are restricted with the form the case can take. Most watch brand cases therefore look rather similar, especially from the side, and it is often left to the dial to differentiate one brand from another.
In the design of the Bremont case we wanted the ability to combined materials but also design something that had a real aerospace and engineered feel to it. We wanted the lugs to appear to ‘melt’ over the case bezel in a beautifully elegant yet robust way and take inspiration from the leading edge of a wing section.
We quickly realised that to achieve this the case would have to be made up of three pieces – the case bezel, a separate case middle and then the case back. The main thing here was that the middle would have to be machined independently of the case bezel. The next challenge was obviously making it. The bezel had to be machined by a CNC mill-turning machine with multiple-axis’ to allow all of the planes to be achieved. It was much harder to achieve than we initially thought, I think this is the case with many things in life. We went to multiple suppliers with only one willing to take on the challenge. Making a handful of cases was one thing, making several hundred at a time was something very different. We had to find a supplier who really understood what we were trying to achieve as a brand. It has become all the more apparent since we have started making our own cases, quite how difficult the process actually is. We will talk about the actual case manufacture in more detail at a later date, but what you quickly realise with watches and especially their cases, is that they not only need to be perfect on a mechanical and engineering level, but also on a level of finish and aesthetics. The watch has to work and look great! Again, finishing one or a handful of cases by hand is one thing, finishing several thousand takes a very different approach.
The different watches in the Bremont range use different three-piece case construction depending on the model. If you look at the Bremont MB range, the middle barrel is made from aluminium or titanium (depending on the model), whereas on the ALT1 ranges, for example, a DLC or PVD’d steel barrel is used. It also makes the use of precious metals more interesting, and with certain limited editions, the possibilities are endless. The Bremont Victory’s middle barrel was made from huge brass nails that were on the ship at the Battle of Trafalgar and the metal was smelted down in Birmingham, by a very talented blacksmith and made into the middle section of the watch. This would not have been possible on a two-piece case. The same could be said of the Bremont MBI watch that has a red middle barrel and is only available to pilots who have ejected from a fighter aircraft using a Martin-Baker ejection seat. Over 7,500 lives have been saved to date by the British aviation and engineering company, Martin-Baker- an incredible statistic. The end result for all of Bremont’s watches is a look and feel that is totally unique to the British brand.