Author: thewatchbloke

Bremont MBII

Bremont MBII

Bremont is a British company that makes excellent watches with some great designs but I’ve always had them down as a bit, I don’t know, gimmicky? By this I’m referring to their limited editions, some with bits of old aeroplanes and ships used in their construction and of course the seemingly limitless special projects for the armed forces. I have nothing against that per se but I didn’t really get it. What I do get is the fact that they are bringing mass production and in house manufacturing of wristwatches back to the UK and that has to be applauded. Whilst not yet at the point where they produce their own movement they do a fantastic amount of their own manufacturing in the UK and an in house movement is well along the development path.

When an opportunity to have a tour around Bremonts head office and assembly/service facility along with their manufacturing facility presented itself even though I didn’t “get it” I jumped at the chance!

Bremont are situated a few miles from where I live and over the past few years I’ve watched them construct their purpose built head office, which they’ve now outgrown. They’ve now commissioned a state of the art production facility in the village where I grew up, this will bring all their production and assembly/servicing under one roof instead of being split across multiple sites as it is at present, and it’s due for completion in 2020 I believe.

After seeing first hand Bremonts facilities and spending a few hours in the company of Nick at their head office and Giles at their case manufacturing facility I must say my perception of the Brand has changed. To see the passion the brothers have for doing what they do and the sheer attention to detail that is shown by all the members of staff I met was an eye opener. I now understand why they create all their special projects and why they are such a core part of their business, as I said previously I thought it was a bit gimmicky but it really fills a niche in the market that no other manufacturer has properly tapped into and I believe the brothers are doing this for the right reasons. Being shown around the assembly and service areas I had a big case of workshop envy, their workshop equipment is currently being completely upgraded and the investment must be massive. Seeing their case making and development facility first hand really blew me away! The accuracy of the machines that are used to produce and finish the cases is jaw dropping and I think Bremont are the only watchmaking company outside of Switzerland to have these German/Japanese machines.

What I also found incredible is the traceability they’re striving for, when all their new systems are up and running, in addition to the usual manufacturing “build sheet” which is basically knowing which tech assembled or serviced your watch and on what date, they will also be able to immediately ascertain from the live online database which machine and at what time the various components were made, the complete records of all the timing tests it had undergone in the factory, the pressure test results, even down to having a log of how tight the various individual movement screws were torqued down to. Jaw dropping stuff. (more…)

Panerai PAM 90

I completed this unusual job (all will be revealed later) over a year ago and have been meaning to post about it ever since, stumbling across the photographs on my hard drive the other day means I’ve now finally got it done! The watch, a Panerai PAM90 was bought for the owner by his wife as a wedding present 11 years ago. It came brand new from a dealer and as such was box fresh! After the intervening years he found he wasn’t wearing the watch as much as he’d like to, so as it was a watch that would never be sold he set about giving it a little makeover. The watch arrived here for me to strip the case and return it to the owner then service the movement. Meanwhile the owner was planning something special with the case! 🙂

Panerai PAM90 (more…)

Seiko 3102-7000 Electronic

This Electronic Seiko from October 1969 came in for some tender loving care recently. Electronic watches had been around for quite a while by the time Seiko released their first Electronic watch, Hamilton, LIP and Bulova were a few of the other major manufacturers from that period. However, Citizen’s X-8 Cosmotron of 1966 is generally accepted as the first commercially successful electronic movement that was regulated by a balance wheel. Seiko responded with the calibre 31xx in 1967 followed by the calibre 37xx in 1969, the 32xx and 33xx in 1972, and the calibre 07 Elnix series in 1973/4. Japanese electronic watch production was short lived due to the rapid development and falling costs of quartz production of which Seiko was first to market with in 1969 with the calibre 35 Astron. The 3102-7000 “Electronic” featured here came in with problems to the running and quick setting of the movement, you can see in the opening photograph the minute and hour hand are out of sync.

Seiko Electronic 3102-7000 (more…)

1915 Laurel

Apologies for the lack of updates (I seem to be saying this everytime I post something!), this is solely due to the volume of work that keeps coming in. I have a huge backlog of work that I think you’d find interesting so I’m making a concerted effort to pull my finger out and get posting again starting with this gorgeous Laurel from (we think) 1915. I say we think because I’m assuming Seikosha was using the same dating system back then as they do today which would mean this was produced in August 1915. This may not be correct but it would fit with what we know about the history of the model, the Laurel was the first wristwatch Seikosha ever produced and production began in 1913 pretty much straight after they had started producing enamel dials in house. The first Seikosha wristwatch with Seiko branding on the dial came in 1924 and was smaller in diameter at 24.5mm. The Laurel is 29.5mm in diameter with a 12 ligne movement which is small by today’s standards but back in those days it was a generous size for a gents watch.

1915 Laurel (more…)

Watch repair blogs

I’m very happy to have had my blog awarded number 8 in the top 15 watch blogs from feedspot! All the more remarkable when I’ve hardly had the time to post any updates this year. Hopefully this will change as soon as possible as I have shedloads of interesting jobs to blog about, watch this space 🙂