View Full Version : BREMONT People #1 - 'Disaster Man' Jim Stuart-Black

04-18-2011, 12:45 PM

As the United Nations disaster assessment team leader and director of special operations for New Zealand’s Fire Service, Jim Stuart Black is no stranger to danger.

Recently Jim lead a team of over 300 members on a search and rescue mission during the NZ Christchurch earthquake (6.3 magnitude) before flying immediately over to Tsunami struck Japan searching for survivors in devastated costal towns.

As a result of the mission in Japan, Jim and his translator were exposed to radiation. They discovered this while flying back to base using a handheld detection device. Luckily this was only a low amount and they were then decontaminated as soon as they got back.

Having moved from the UK to New Zealand 8 years ago, for his recent efforts Jim has now been heralded as an ‘unsung hero’ in New Zealand and has become the face of urban search and rescue for his courageous efforts.

For someone who has to deal with disaster and danger everyday, Jim wears a Bremont ALT1-Z. We caught up with Jim recently to ask him about his watch and how he came to wearing it on those missions.

What was your first exposure to Bremont as a brand and what first attracted you to the watches?

“I had been looking for a watch to be worn when in suits / uniform that would be both smart yet at the same robust enough for the occasional wearing in the field. I've killed a couple of expensive watches over the years so I spent quite some time my research before visiting family in the UK. Bremont came through as something of a leader in the area of making field proven yet at the same time visually striking watches. Watches have always been my equivalent to jewellery so I was keen to get something that was firstly fit for purpose whilst at the same time attractive - something you guys do by the bucket load with your watches!”

Can you explain why you choose an ALT1-Z over the other models. Was it a close call between that model and another one?

“I was really keen to have a dual time zone watch to help me when I'm working overseas trying to meet report deadlines for various branches of the United Nations or my own government. If I know that I'm going to be donkey deep in the field, I usually take a G Shock for the dual time zone and shear aggressive impacts they seem to be able to withstand. Having just taken my Bremont through the two hardest missions I've done, I can say with confidence that the G Shock will be for painting and building tasks at home only”.

Jim wearing his Bremont ALT1-Z below:


What would you consider to be the best feature or function of the watch when using it?

“Hmmm it would have to be a combination of the dual time capability and the fact it can take a massive beating! The only reason I don't take it diving is because I can't adjust the strap for my wet / dry suit otherwise it would be be on my wrist for everything now”.

Mark out of 5 the following features of your watch. 1 being poor, 5 being excellent...

- Scratch resistant / hardened case = 5
- Hardened sapphire crystal = 3 - 4
- Being Waterproof = 5
- Accuracy of time (COSC regulated for accuracy) = 5

Where did you buy your Bremont from and how long did you take before deciding to buy one? (I take it there are no authorised resellers in NZ so did you have to travel far?)

“I bought it from a watch shop in Canary Wharf, London, (I can't recall their name although I noticed on my last trip they don't stock them any more) in May 2008. Having done my research it really was a case of walking in to the shop and sealing the deal!”

Prior to owning a Bremont watch did you own any other watches from other brands? Do you for example have a less expensive watch you use on more dangerous missions which you don't have to worry about damaging..?

“Historically I've gone on missions with the G Shock. I killed an Omega a few years ago and my Mont Blanc has never really recovered from another mission and can't get wet anymore. I really didn't plan on deploying with my Bremont and had an oh shit moment when I was pulling myself in to a confined space and caught my wrist (by that I mean watch) on a piece of re-enforcing bar sticking out of a lump of concrete. It was too late to turn back and I couldn't risk taking it off so I just grimaced and kept on going fearing the worst. It was the same in Japan...I was busy getting decontaminated in a refreshing -15 degrees when the guy decontaminating me from the radiation shouted through his respirator that my watch had to go. It would be reasonable to say that I told him were to stick his recommendation and set about scrubbing it in a bucket of warm soapy water. Thankfully it came out clean! "

Given that you didn't plan on wearing your Bremont on your two missions, have you changed your mind about taking it for future missions?

“Hell yeah! Short of going somewhere with a really high personal security risk i.e. mugging likely, I will always deploy with Bremont firmly on my wrist”.

Do you have plans to buy another Bremont at some point in the future? If so which one(s) do you have your eye on..?

“I would love to but expect it will be some time as I have a toddler and a new born so they have a hand on my wallet! I really love the Supermarine range so will see what my bank manager (aka wife) says in a couple of years ;o)”

The Bremont Supermarine


Is there anything you would change or improve about your watch?

“My only niggle, is that the leather strap died after about 7 months. I wore it (also by mistake) in Samoa while responding the 2009 earthquake and tsunami with the United Nations. I think the humidity and sea salt just got too much for it. The fabric / leather combination strap is great though”.

Has anyone ever commented or admired your watch?

“I have had more comments about my Bremont than either my Omega or Mont Blanc ever did. It looks fantastic on the wrist and whether I'm in a three piece suit (you can take the man out of the UK but you can't take the UK out of a man) or in uniform or rescue gear, the watch is forever getting noticed”.


We'd like to wish Jim and his Bremont all the best for the future!

This interview 2011 alt1tude.bremont.com

Further reading on Jim's brave efforts can be found at:



04-18-2011, 02:07 PM
Very cool, good to a Bremont living the that type of world and not the desk diving my pieces get subjected to great interview. Think the BCS1 must have been through similar given it condition. Really nice interview

Simon C
04-21-2011, 11:35 AM
brilliant............to see a 'True Professional' sporting a great tool watch!