The Wright Brothers flew into the history books when their in-house made airplane the Kitty Hawk took off, albeit for just 59 seconds, along the sands of a beach in North Carolina on December 17th 1903.
The recently launched Bremont Wright Flyer, the Wright family approved tribute watch from British brand Bremont, has flown into a black cloud of watch media turbulence by claiming that the BWC/01 movement that powers the watch is in-house made. It turns out the movement is, to all intents and purposes, a La Joux-Perret 6091, although undoubtedly the rotor has been designed to Bremont’s own specifications as it features a propeller which includes the initials of the Wright Brothers on either side of the blades.
It was an avid Hodinkee reader who noticed the remarkable similarity between the BWC/01 and the La Joux-Perret 6091, which incidentally is the same movement, with a 50 hour power reserve, that powers Anglo Swiss brand Arnold & Son’s DSTB. Of course it’s no secret that La Joux-Perret is Bremont’s partner in helping to develop their movement, and as Nick English has stated in response to the controversy:
‘‘ This is Bremont’s first progression into developing a complete in-house movement. The movement did not exist until a lot of time, effort and money went into its design and development – both in the UK and with our long term movement partner, La Joux-Perret, in Switzerland. ”
Will this be enough to satisfy those that feel the wool – (or should that be muslin, as the watch’s rotor also contains genuine muslin wing cloth as used on the Kitty Hawk) – has been pulled over their eyes? Probably not, but it should not detract from what is another remarkable achievement for a young brand which less than ten years ago was standing outside in the cold at Baselworld pitching to anyone who would listen.
For this, the latest in a series of critically acclaimed conceptual watches from Bremont, the English Brothers, Nick and Giles, worked closely with the Wright Brothers descendants to arrive at the Bremont Wright Flyer.
“ Our partnership with Bremont on the Limited Edition Wright Flyer watch is a natural fit. Bremont’s dedication to historical themes, particularly in aviation, demonstrated by their iconic limited edition watches, all incorporating genuine historic artefacts, caught our attention immediately. As a top quality watchmaker, the brand is a perfect fit for the Wright brothers’ legacy. ”
Bremont Wright Flyer – Amanda Wright Lane
In addition to working closely with the Wright family, the proceeds of the sale of the 450 piece limited edition watch will go towards helping to bring the Wright Brothers home in Ohio, where the Kitty Hawk was conceived and crafted, back to its former glory. Nick and Giles English view the watch as the holy grail of aviation watches.
The 43mm watch with elegant Arabic numerals, will be available in steel, rose gold and white gold. A running seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock features the date of the historic flight ‘1903’.
While Bremont’s ‘in-house’ movement brouhaha has kicked up some dust among certain watch forums, the historic first flight of the Wright Brothers airplane Kitty Hawk was also the subject of some controversy too – and resulted in a snub to the Smithsonian Institution that lasted two decades.
When the Smithsonian in Washington DC credited the Langley Aerodrome, a 1903 machine that failed to fly, as the ‘first man-carrying aeroplane in the history of the world capable of sustained free flight’, Orville Wright was furious. He considered it an outrageous slight on the brothers’ legacy. In protest, he loaned their American aeronautical achievement to the British Science Museum in 1928 stating that, “I regret more than anyone else that this course of action is necessary”. America’s loss was Great Britain’s gain and subsequently the 1903 Wright Flyer spent two decades exhibited in London.
Prices for the Bremont Wright Flyer Limited Edition will be $25,950 for the model in steel, $39,995 for the one in rose gold and $44,995 for the yellow gold version. More resources about this watch available on DreamChrono, Hodinkee and ABTW.