• A Week With the Bremont ALT1-ZT & U-22

    Someone asked me on the first day of BaselWorld 2015 what I thought of the new Bremont releases. My response was that, “all of the new watches are familiar, but either improved upon or more accessible to mainstream consumers”. By saying that, I was pointing out that the Boeing GMT models, the U-22, the ALT1-ZT, and even the Jaguar Models are all derivatives of successful Bremont watches, but the designs have been either updates or made available to civilian or non Lightweight E-Type owners. After spending a week with two of the new releases, the ALT1-ZT and the U-22, I can say with these are both well-implemented additions to their respective collections.

    I’ll start by reviewing the new ALT1-ZT. Now the ALT1-Z has been present in the Bremont line-up since the brand’s inception in 2007. It’s become a staple model, particularly in special military squadron projects. In fact, the USNTPS (United States Navy Test Pilot School) ALT1-Z was the very first military project for Bremont!

    The “Z” stands for “Zulu”, the universal standard timekeeping reference to ensure pilots navigating around the world are using the same 24-hour clock.

    The ZT keeps the same dial layout as the standard Z, but tones down a somewhat busy dial by substituting dial markers for numerals, omitting the “horizon-line” detail on the running seconds register, and moving the 24-hour scale from an inner chapter ring, to the inner Roto-Click bezel.

    Speaking of Roto-Click, the ALT1-Z’s that were manufactured between 2007 and 2012 had a smooth turning crown at 8H, whereas the models built since then have had the Bremont patented Roto-Click technology included, as denoted by the decorated crown.

    I happen to own one of the first ALT1-P watches that were built with Roto-Click bezel, so I have some experience with using it on a daily basis. Unlike the MBII/U2, operating the Roto-click crown on a Bremont chronograph is a bit more difficult for those of us who wear a watch on your left wrist because you have to use the edge of your right thumb to spin the crown. Originally, mine was quite stiff to turn, but over the past few years of breaking it in, it now spins fairly well. With the ZT, there seems to have been some improvement to the Roto-Click system, as it noticeably turns much easier and has more of a robust click than with my own watch.

    Perhaps the most noticeable change with the ZT is the use of a “sword” handset, previously designated only to the SOLO watches, and the ATG S2 SE limited run. In my opinion, these hands look phenomenal, and really separate the ZT from the rest of the chronographs currently available from Bremont. They use a stark white Superluminova coating that appears blue in dark conditions, and glow for an extended time. The chronograph registers also implement the sword hands, but the running seconds hand is accented in red, whereas both minutes and hours are white, and are coated in lume. The Zulu/GMT hand also features a larger and lumed arrow tip when compared to the original ALT1-Z.

    My only critique of the ALT1-ZT is that I wish the rear case featured the newer, more open rear display case. It looks so great on the ALT1-C/PW that I’d love to see it adopted across the chronograph line-up, but I presume this change would be a rather large endeavor. Still, the sapphire crystal on the back of the watch provides a nice view of the COSC certified 7750-based BE-54AE automatic movement with traditional Bremont rotor.

    I wore the ZT on a variety of watches during the week, which all wore as well as you’d expect, but I was quite surprised by how well the watch looked when mounted on my Bremont bracelet. If you prefer to wear your watch on a bracelet, in my opinion, the ZT works better than any other Bremont chronograph, hands down!

    For at least the time being, the ZT is only available in a flat black dial, which is befitting for such a rugged watch. It comes on a black leather strap with deployant, and will list at $6595/£4795 with expectations to ship in June of 2015. If you prefer the original ALT1-Z design, do not fear! As far as I know, there are not plans to discontinue the original “Z” at this time.

    Now, on we go to the new U-22!

    I think there is a lot to like in this iteration of the classic Martin Baker styled watch. Many of you will recognize that the U-22 is the civilian version of the F-22 Raptor released in 2013 to eligible Raptor Pilots. It features the same grey dial, open date window, compass bezel and bronze Tip-Trick barrel as the Raptor, but you don’t have to be a fighter jet pilot to own one!

    Formerly, the F-22 was the only Bremont watch to feature a bronze colored barrel, but due to its popularity, the color was adopted as an option for the MBIII that debuted during the 2014 BaselWorld showcase. Now, bronze serves as the designated barrel color for the U-22. It isn’t super flashy like orange or blue, but looks tough enough to give the watch a definitively masculine vibe.

    As I mentioned earlier, the bezel of the U-22 uses compass markings around the Roto-Click inner bezel instead of the traditional minute markings. Perhaps not super practical for daily wear, but still cool. Red accents for the cardinal directions bring out flashes of color against an otherwise monochromatic dial.

    The open date window is a first for any core Bremont watch, and definitely provides the finishing element for an unabashed fighter pilot timepiece.

    The lume pattern is the exact same as the U2 and U2-Blue, with a bright green Superluminova glow in dark conditions.

    My one concern when I originally viewed the press images was the abundance of grey between the dial and the matching strap. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I admit to having a similar reaction with the U2-Blue! However, as with the Blue iteration, the grey combination of the U-22 looks much better in the flesh than it does in the computer generated press images.

    To be sure, I did mount the black leather strap to get a few comparison photos. In the end, I think Bremont made a good decision to use the grey strap with this watch.

    Aside from the grey leather strap with signed tang buckle, the U-22 will also ship with an alternate black Temple Island strap. Retail for the U-22 is $5695/£3695, and the watches are expected to ship in June of 2015.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. kaiserphoenix's Avatar
      kaiserphoenix -
      When is this watch going to be released??
    1. jwalker9's Avatar
      jwalker9 -
      Expected in June!
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