Bremont Terra Nova 42.5 Chronograph

I’m trying hard to figure out Bremont’s latest move. On the surface, I understand that after taking on hedge fund money and bringing on ex-Tudor executive Davide Cerrato as CEO, there was probably double pressure to do something new. That pressure would’ve come from Cerrato wanting to make his mark and the investors wanting to make some money. I get that, but Bremont’s introduction the new Bremont Terra Nova collection and a completely redesigned Bremont Supermarine line, along with a new logo and brand font, seem like the blunt force method of achieving those goals. I don’t think I’m alone in struggling to connect the dots between the old Bremont and this new Bremont, and trace how those who make decisions got to a place that they thought such an approach was a good idea.
Bremont touts this sudden shift as an “evolution from the world of aviation to a new brand architecture embodying Land, Sea and Air.” Never minding the needlessly capitalized features of the Earth or the lack of an Oxford comma, using the phrase “evolution” is a stretch. Evolution implies a gradual change that builds upon past elements. But the Bremont Terra Nova and Supermarine dispose of all of what made Bremont Bremont. These are sudden transformations at best, but even that seems generous (even the beast in Beauty & the Beast still echoed his primal form when he transformed into a man). More accurate, I think is to say that the Supermarine has been replaced and the Terra Nova has been introduced. There is no evolution here. Just a hard turn in a new direction, a turn so hard everything flew out the windows.
Except, I should clarify, not everything was lost in the careening maneuver: the brand still offers almost all of its old models. They just don’t appear on the home page, instead having been crowded into a tab called “Bremont Icons”. I’d be willing to wager they’ll completely disappear soon enough, though. What’s more, the so-called evolution completely ignores the Altitude line (as it’s now called), leaving aviation-inspired models like the Fury and the MB Viper untouched, holding onto the rear fender for dear life as they know that, inevitably, evolution will come for them, too. Why go to the trouble of a major rebrand, completely replacing your best-selling collection and introducing an entire new line, and only go two-thirds of the way? Even the logos on the Altitude line haven’t been changed!
Bremont did not hold back with its new Terra Nova collection. Lots of brands will slow roll the introduction with one or two models, but Bremont I think did this properly and gave us four new models, fully rounding out the collection right from the start. The Terra Nova includes the flagship 40.5 Turning Bezel Power Reserve, the 40.5 Date, the Chronograph, and the 38. There’s something here for everyone if you like the look, and while I think the dials are exceptional at a glance, the case and bracelet leave me wanting a lot more, to say nothing of the entire collections total disconnect from any semblance of Bremont DNA whatsoever.
The unifying element of the Bremont Terra Nova is its angular tonneau case. The general criticism of this case so far has been that it’s not befitting a brand of this purported standing, nor of a watch costing a minimum of $2,850. To be sure, this kind of case is almost exclusively seen in affordable microbrands. There’s always an opportunity for such perceptions to be changed, but I’m not sure if Bremont is going to be the one to do that. The cases, which range from 38 to 42.5 (as indicated in the model names) are fully brushed, save for the 38 and 40.5 Date, which feature polished fixed bezels. The Turning Bezel Power Reserve (a name that is surely the result of countless hours of focus group testing) features a solid steel compass bezel, while the Chronograph features the same style but in steel with a ceramic insert. (There is a rather easy method of using a compass bezel for orienteering, which I can’t remember, but you can look up if you’re so inclined.) The Bremont Terra Nova watches all have 100m water resistance, sapphire crystals, and crowns that seem quite substantial, reinforcing the field operation vibe of the watch. While the Terra Nova 38 only comes on bracelet or leather, the other three models add a NATO option. The bracelet is a new design for the brand and in general, with curving links that echo the curves of the case. It has quick-release tabs for easy changes and a butterfly clasp, but my gripe with it is how the curved links start before the end of the lugs. It’s a weird design and I’m not sure what the calculus was there.
What the Bremont Terra Nova models all have in common with their dials is the use of big, bold molded Super-Lumi-Nova for their Arabic indices. These solid blocks of lume shine more brightly and evenly than typical printed lume. Every model is available in brown, except the Chronograph, which is only offered in black. Additional colors include white for the Terra Nova 38, green for the Terra Nova 40.5 Date, and blue for the Terra Nova 40.5 Turning Bezel Power Reserve. The TBPR (that works) has a running second at 9 and a power reserve at 6, while the Chronograph has sunken subdials for a running seconds and a 30-minute totalizer.
I genuinely like the look of these dials and I think they make sense with the whole Terra Nova “Land” mission that Bremont is working at. That said, the dial text could use some editing. First, you’ve got the new logo and brand font — fine, whatever. But then at 6 o’clock, you’ve got the collection name, “Automatic,” and “London” all in the same size. Why are we elevating the movement type to the level of the collection? And why is London, a town over an hour’s drive from Bremont’s manufacturing facility The Wing, on there at all? My two cents: lower this block of text down, reduce the font on “Automatic” and “London,” and change “London” to “England.” As it is, I can’t say the dial text would prevent me from purchasing one of these watches, but it’s another element that looks very much like a watch priced well under $1,000.
Finally, we arrive at the movements. The various Bremont Terra Nova all use rebranded automatic movements running at 28,800 vph. It’s possible that the TBPR uses some modification of the “in-house” ENG300, but the price doesn’t reflect that, and it may also be a Sellita of some sort like the others. The power reserve is quoted at 38 hours for the Terra Nova 38 and 40.5 Date models, 41 hours for the TBPR, and 56 hours for the Chronograph. The movements are all concealed behind solid casebacks with a globe decoration.