Of all the watches that have been introduced since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the new MBII from Bremont may be the most relevant to our current shelter-in-place mindset. That’s because the timepiece—a next-generation version of a pilot’s watch the British watchmaker introduced in 2009 to honor Martin-Baker, the legendary British manufacturer of ejection seats—can be customized online from the comfort of your home.
The updated model includes bigger hands, redesigned numerals and a less cluttered dial thanks to the removal of the day indication. The caseback now features a bronze-colored “military challenge coin,” used in the past to signify membership in an elite unit or group of people on a specific tour of duty. It comes on a choice of Chalgrove high-performance rubber and leather straps that offer improved moisture resistance.
Customers are invited to build their own version of the watch on the Bremont site, which offers preloaded selections for the dial, case, case back, barrel and strap. The barrel comes in a choice of blue, orange, yellow, green, anthracite, military-inspired purple, bronze, jet and titanium. When all the dial and strap colors are taken into account, there are more than 1,000 possible combinations. Red is the only barrel color strictly reserved for those who’ve ejected from a Martin-Baker seat, the conceit that spawned the original Bremont MBI timepiece just over 10 years ago. A special open case back version offers a glimpse of the new movement—a modified caliber 11 1/4” BE-36AE automatic chronometer—a first in the MB collection.
Once the watch has been configured and the order placed, Bremont delivers it within 12 to 14 weeks.
Bremont and Martin Baker began their relationship in 2007, when the aviation company approached the watchmaker about creating the definitive aviation watch. The idea was to create a timepiece that went through the same rigorous testing that the company’s ejection seats withstand. The MBI was introduced in 2009—and to this day remains solely available to Martin-Baker ejectees.
The MBII, on the other hand, is available to all. The new version retails for $4,995 on a strap and $5,595 on a bracelet. For customized versions that feature additional features such as a DLC case or an open case back, additional costs apply.