Article by Justin Mastine-Frost
Of the many new bits of hardware launched by Bremont earlier this week, their new Bremont Airco Mach 3 may have just snuck by undetected. Based off the previous year’s Airco Mach 1 and 2 releases, Bremont has added a 3rd example to the line in what will easily be the most sellable of the pack. Featuring a matte blue opaline dial, and ditching the Arabic numerals in favor of applied baton indices, the new piece is more reminiscent of some of the more recent (and quite cool) Seiko Presage models than any sort of pilot’s watch, albeit offered in Bremont’s much more rugged Trip-Tick multi-piece 40mm case. The brand is quick to wax poetic about “Harking back to the older classic pilot’s watches in terms of design,” and its dial being “the signature military RAF blue,” which unfortunately comes across a bit put-on.
The AC 1 case’s mainly steel substance is also entirely polished, which adds a tasteful and decorative component to the watch. Bremont S500 Replica even made the event a bit thinner for specific models like the AC I. The caseback feels somewhat thinner or it may just be an optical illusion. A more expansive sapphire crystal display back offers a view of this base ETA mechanical motion, but also the red-color strips which make up the special shock-absorption system meant to protect the movement in the event the case is dropped or subjected to harsh shock or vibrations.At 100 meters water resistant and with no screw-down crown, the AC I isn’t as durable as a dedicated Bremont dip watch — but it’s durable enough. With its comfy blue rubber strap, I did not have any problems wearing the AC 1 over a wetsuit while spending time swimming at the beach. I even took the AC 1 a couple feet underwater. I am able to state that legibility was excellent given the high-contrast face. I was told that the gasket system in the crown ought to be enough to keep the watch dry in the depths people encounter during recreational diving.The issue I had been asking myself while sporting the Bremont AC I is if I had suddenly just discovered a gentlemen’s game watch once I was believing that I was wearing a gentleman’s watch. You see, the very simple but captivating lines on the dial of this watch aren’t what I normally catch for as someone who likes sportier, more aggressive designs. Here, we have a terrace clock-style dial with serif font Arabic hour numerals, blue-colored steel palms (properly-sized might I add) and a textured silvery dial using a pattern generated from replicating images of the ‘Auld Mug’ trophy cup that is presented to the winner of the America’s Cup.
Marketing jargon aside, the new Mach 3 was a smart move on Bremont’s part that we can’t really argue with. Blue dials are still an easy sell these days (as are white dials, which were also added to the Mach 1 and Mach 2 lines for 2018), and even the switch to baton indices makes the Airco less polarizing than its siblings. Regardless of trying to pass it off as a pilot’s watch, the Mach 3 will no doubt do well for the brand among those looking for a piece that’s smaller and dressier than its siblings.
At a technical level, the newest Airco is very much business as usual. Powered by the BE-92AE automatic chronometer caliber – a modified ETA 2892 – the one detail that remains a surprise is its rather modest power reserve. In an age when basic time-only or time+date calibers from a wide range of brands are cracking into 60–70+ hours of power reserve, the fact that the Mach 3 is only delivering 38 hours comes as a bit of a surprise.
To be fair, Bremont’s watches generally speak more to daily wear in terms of their design and construction, which could account for this being less of a priority when compared to the engineering that the brand has put into shock resistance, case hardening, and other details that have been winning the brand fans over the years. Price for the Bremont Airco Mach 3 is $3,895. bremont.com