A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Discussion of Bremont watches.
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Jwalker9
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A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by Jwalker9 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:32 pm

Hey guys! Some of you may have already seen this posted over at alt1tude, but I thought I'd also share it here for you guys to read. Hope you enjoy it!

A Week With the Bremont Martin Maker III

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In the seven short years since Nick and Giles English first offered their watches to the public, we’ve seen some great pieces come and go, but the staple ingredient to Bremont’s early success has to be the Martin Baker series. Bremont jumped out of the gate in 2009 with an attractive aviation inspired tool-watch that boasted some impressive innards. Every Martin Baker watch features a COSC certified movement suspended in a special rubberized “anti-shock” enclosure and then wrapped in an anti-magnetic faraday cage and finally secured in a water-resistant, hardened steel case. In addition, the external aesthetics feature several unique elements: the trademark “ejection-seat handle” on the base of the second hand, the unmistakable knurled aluminum Trip-Tick center barrel in various colors iterations, and the always appreciated “twin crowns” with patented Roto-Click bezel. When you combine all of these elements, you can appreciate how the MBII has been the best selling Bremont watch to date, and has earned the young brand respect amongst its peers. For that reason, the MBII chassis has been used as the template for countless military (U2, F-22, A-10, etc…) and special edition projects (MB1.5, The Watch Gallery MBII, and the ALT1TUDE SE).

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It would be difficult to significantly improve on a watch that was so well executed in its initial installment, but Bremont fans have had one project in mind for a long time; to build a GMT version of the MBII. Well, I’m happy to say that your requests over the past several years were not in vain! At BaselWorld 2014, Bremont announced four new watches: the Boeing Model 247, Boeing Model 1, the Supermarine Terra Nova and the highly anticipated Martin Baker III with a GMT hand!

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While the first three watches were very warmly received by horology press and retailers, the MBIII was instantly hailed as “The People’s Watch” due to its grassroots origins dreamt up from fans on Alt1tude and other watch forums. Customers were overwhelmingly satisfied to know that Bremont had been listening to the wishes for a MBII-GMT, and in return, it garnered loads of attention, and presumably an equal number of pre-orders! It will be available from Authorized Dealers for a MSRP price of 5995 USD/3,995 GBP.

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The MBIII is to deliver in July 2014 and will come with three different barrel color options: The legendary orange, classic anthracite, and a new bronze that will be unique to the MBIII. - NB: the bronze barrel was first released on a military edition MBII for the F22-Raptor, but is not available to the general public.

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Speaking of the MBII, the new MBIII offers a few notable changes from its predecessor. From the dial perspective, the red triangle that was previously positioned below the Bremont insignia is no longer present. However, the “ANTI-SHOCK” logo and text remain, as does the text below that now reads, “AUTOMATIC GMT” instead of “AUTOMATIC”. The bi-directional rotating inner bezel is now a 24-hour scale instead of minute makers. You will also note that the day window was omitted to allow for the addition of the GMT complication. The movement is the Bremont modified caliber BE-93-2AE, based off of the ETA 2893-2 with GMT complication. It boasts a 42-hour power reserve, which is a slight improvement from the 38-hour reserve on the MBII.

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The one lingering question from potential buyers about the MBIII was how well it functions as a GMT watch compared to its competitors. The archetype to which all GMT’s are measured seems to be the Rolex GMT Master II, which features an independent jumping hour hand to easily adjust travelers to a new local time while maintaining the 4th hand as a Greenwich Mean Time constant and allowing 24-hour bezel rotation for further time reference. While the MBIII does not have this feature, it remains very functional as a GMT watch due to its 24 hour Roto-Click inner bezel, which can be easily adjusted during travel to keep track of a second time zone.

Nick English was recently asked about how the MBIII GMT feature was implemented compared to watches that feature an independently adjustable hour hand and this his reply:
"I think that it’s just a different way of doing it. Look at what’s available out there. From our perspective it is a very robust movement. These are for the military and these are very reliable, tested movements. We’re giving a watch at a particular price point that’s not silly. The movements are as good as we can get, and what we do is protect them as well as possible. We’re very proud of that. We want to produce a watch that’s the best it can be for the price it is. I can say hand in heart that it’s worth the money. Very robust, time tested. It’s also very easy to operate."

After the recent Alt1tude GTG in Greenville SC, I convinced Bremont’s North America Director, Michael Pearson, into letting me borrow the MBIII for another “Week on the Wrist” review. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but suffice it to say; the MBIII is a crowd pleaser!

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Here is a lume shot to give you an idea of the layout, including the new GMT hand. The Superluminova coated hands and numbers give off a nice blue color which keeps a good charge, and is easily legible in the dark.

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Because I’m a strap junkie and always looking for the perfect pairing for watches, I tried the MBIII on various straps throughout the week. First up on Sunday was the standard issue black calf leather strap on buckle. I must say that I think Bremont have done well to improve the calf strap over the past few years, giving the middle section a bit more thickness than in the past. It adds more definition to the strap that isn’t present on my personal Bremont black calf strap. The tang holes are also positioned in a slightly different position to allow for a better tuck through the keepers. It gives a classic look for any occasion and the Ecru stitching complements the bronze barrel very nicely. A very solid standard strap option!

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For Monday, I decided to go ahead and switch to the strap I was most excited about trying, the Bremont Hambleden leather NATO strap in brown! Ever since Bremont launched these back in February, I’ve been ITCHING to try one out! At $185, they aren’t cheap, but they do feature a very nice 22mm Bremont buckle in either DLC or steel finish, which match the metal keepers that are sewn into the soft 2mm thick leather strap. Keeping with the traditional NATO style, the straps are made long enough to tuck back through the keepers. One of my favorite details is the embossed Bremont “prop” logo placed in a few strategic locations.

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For me, this was the winning pairing for the week. What do you reckon?

On Tuesday I went with another one of my favorite straps, the brown Bremont Nubuck, It has an aged appearance and lighter shade than all of the other leather offerings from the brand. No surprise here, but it worked out really well on the MBIII.

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For Wednesday, I strapped on my old faithful Bremont Vintage, with its deep rich brown hue. This strap looks good on EVERYTHING, and its clear to see that it suited the MBIII very well.

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On Thursday I switched over to the Bremont Miltary Canvas strap in Desert Sand. Of all the Bremont Velcro color options, this one has always been my favorite, and I wear it a lot in the Summer, particularly at the beach or pool. I’m sure it will look sporty with the black version as well.

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To wrap up the workweek on Friday, I decided to mount the Bremont Kevlar strap on the MBIII. The texture of the Kevlar really complements the knurling on the center barrel and twin crowns, giving the watch an even more rugged look.

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Final Thoughts

The Good

-Total Package - Everything you could want in an attractive mechanical tool watch, with the added benefit of a 4th hand for GMT reference. It’s exactly what fans have been asking for since the MBII release in 2009. There are no unnecessary frills, just accurate and unabashed utility. The prototype model I wore operated as expected, within COSC specifications, gaining about 2 seconds a day.

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-Bronze=Awesome - The new bronze barrel color really grew on me! At first, I assumed that I would prefer the traditional orange barrel of the MBII, but after a few days on my wrist, I think that the bronze will be the star of the color options. It is potent enough to catch your eye, but not so loud that it would eventually become a burden. Just right!

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-Versatility - I’ve said it before, but the MBIII is another versatile offering that can easily be dressed up or down for any occasion with a simple strap change. I think it looks perfect on a leather NATO like the Hambleden, but in more formal situations, a switch to black leather will complement a suit. However, if you’re spending the week in your bathing suit, a change to a nylon or rubber strap will serve you well and still look great while you get wet.

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The Not So Good

-Triangle? - What happened to the red Martin Baker triangle on the dial? While I honestly didn’t even notice its absence until it was on my wrist, once I realized it was omitted on the MBIII, I wanted it back! The extra red detail would complement the other bits of red on the tip of the second hand and the GMT hand very well.

-The GMT hand is a little subdued and could stand to be a bit flashier in my opinion. The red arrow tip was a safe choice with a good size and lume, but after seeing the Terra Nova’s awesome yellow arrow tip, I’m left wanting something that makes me say, “WOW! This is a GMT!” As it stands, it sits in the background with a quiet presence that complements the rest of the watch, but doesn’t pop like its Supermarine Counter-part. But I can still live with it.

-No independent functioning hour hand. One click out from the 2:00 crown allows you to roll forward to rotate the GMT hand clockwise, or spin backward to advance the date. Two clicks out moves the hour, minute, and GMT hands in unison to hack the time. The Roto-Click bi-directional inner bezel allows you to manipulate time zones pretty easily, but some customers will still expect an independent hour hand at the MBIII’s price point. Perhaps Bremont will make a change when they begin making their own in-house GMT movement?

The Verdict

The Martin Baker watches from Bremont are still the quintessential offering from the brand. Back at Basel, fans were thrilled to learn that a long-awaited GMT version of the MB range was finally being released, and when they eventually land at retailers in July, I have no doubt that they will sell very well.

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But for customers who already own an MBII, is there a reason to ditch the MBII to add an MBIII to the arsenal? If you have a strong interest in the functional aspect of a GMT watch, the answer is Yes. If you aren’t a frequent traveler or don’t interact on a consistent basis with people on the other half of the world, you’d probably be served just as well with the MBII.

For folks who don’t yet own an MB based watch or who only want one watch to serve all purposes, this is a GREAT choice! With its unique aesthetics, GMT functionality and anti-shock, anti-magnetic, and water resistant case technologies, you’d be hard pressed to find a tougher alternative; After all, these watches were built and tested to withstand fighter jet ejections at 12-20 x gravitational force!!

I can confidently recommend the MBIII, as well as the MBII to anyone interested in purchasing a well made, chronometer grade automatic watch. If you have any specific questions related to the MBIII, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer them!

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Thanks for reading!

Jeremy

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aikiman44
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by aikiman44 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:59 pm

Thanks for a great write up of a cool Bremont. I also dig that bronze barrel.
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craniotes
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by craniotes » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:04 pm

I have to say that when I saw it in person I was surprised to see just how big a difference the bronze barrel made in terms of appearance. Honestly, it was a toss up between this and the Terra Nova, but in the end, the titanium S500 case won out for me.

Anyway, that was an absolutely fantastic write up – thanks for taking the time to post it here. :thumbsup:

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Jwalker9
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by Jwalker9 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:25 pm

Thanks for the feedback, guys!

Drew: will be a nice change going from DLC to Steel for you!

Jay and AC: to be honest, before wearing the MBIII BZ, i thought it would be my last choice in terms of barrel colors (1-orange, 2-anthracite, 3-bronze), but as I said, i grew VERY fond of it and now it would be a total toss-up between bronze and orange.

I think you'll enjoy the Terra Nova though. That yellow GMT tip is HOT! Love my blue S500 and have invested in a steel bracelet, or I'd also be more seriously looking into one.

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dukerules
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by dukerules » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:27 pm

Jeremy,
that is a amazing, comprehensive review of an outstanding piece. Thanks for posting. I definitely think the bronze barrel is my favorite in the MB line.

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rockmastermike
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by rockmastermike » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:35 pm

Well done, great review, Jeremy - I had always liked the bronze when I saw F22 pictures online and looks even better in person!

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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by CGSshorty » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:43 pm

I love the bronze barrel. That alone would make me buy it over the MBII.
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jimyritz
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by jimyritz » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:44 pm

Awesome write up and review-- Thanks Jeremy..
Love all the pics w/the different straps.. :thumbsup:

Would the Temple Island strap fit it as that is what I wear today on my Alt1-C?

I had the MBII (orange) and should have never sold it..The MBIII with bronze barrel is calling my name...Beautiful watch... :thumbsup:

Couple thoughts:
* I agree on the red triangle, wish it was there...
* Like how the GMT has only the date...

However, at this point just not sure about the price at nearly $6K, just a bit high...

Thanks again...
Mike

p.s. that Metal dialed Solo always stands out to me...
very cool :thumbsup:
Last edited by jimyritz on Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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mfxr
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by mfxr » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:45 pm

Nice writeup, thanks.
The bronze barrel does look good.

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lilhoody
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by lilhoody » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:47 pm

dukerules wrote:Jeremy,
that is a amazing, comprehensive review of an outstanding piece. Thanks for posting. I definitely think the bronze barrel is my favorite in the MB line.
IMO the bronze fad will pass. When it does these watches will look like two tone Submariners...a gaudy thing of faux paux of days past.

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Jwalker9
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by Jwalker9 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:02 pm

jimyritz wrote:p.s. that Metal dialed Solo always stands out to me...
very cool :thumbsup:
Thanks man, I totally agree that the Solo is freaking gorgeous and under appreciated .

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Jwalker9
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by Jwalker9 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:03 pm

Thanks Rahul and RMM! :salute: So glad you guys were able to come and check it out in person at the GTG.

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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by 1watchaholic » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:19 pm

Jwalker9 wrote:
jimyritz wrote:p.s. that Metal dialed Solo always stands out to me...
very cool :thumbsup:
Thanks man, I totally agree that the Solo is freaking gorgeous and under appreciated .

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Ahhhhh! The elusive White Solo! Simple, beautiful...one day mine! :pray:
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Joe C
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by Joe C » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:24 pm

Looks like another winner from Bremont... Thanks for the write up Jeremy.
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Jwalker9
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Re: A Week With the Bremont MBIII

Post by Jwalker9 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:37 pm

My pleasure, Joe!

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