Bremont MBIII: The GMT Complication comes to the MB
The Bremont MBIII with orange barrel
At Baselworld 2104, Bremont introduced four watches: Terra Nova, Boeing 1, Boeing 247, and the MBIII. It makes sense that their offerings are relatively few in quantity. While Bremont is quickly growing, their annual production is for the entire line was 6000 pieces for 2013. This post will take a look at the MBIII, their long awaited GMT addition to their popular MB series.
Along with the U2 series, the MB watches are tested and designed in conjunction with the iconic British aviation company Martin-Baker, and have features not found on other Bremont watches: they feature an aluminum case barrel anodized in various colors, crown operated internal bezel, and an anti-magnetic Faraday cage which protects the movement, as well as special shock resistant features.
Before we talk about the watch itself, it's important to note how normal timepiece naming convention does not apply to the MBIII. Normally, when a company comes out with a watch, then subsequently comes out with a watch with the same name but a higher number, the notion is that the new watch has replaced the old watch. This is not the case with the MBIII as it is designed to run in parallel to the popular MBII. Accordingly, the MBIII no more replaces the MBII than the Omega Planet Ocean GMT would replace the Planet Ocean. So why didn't they call the watch the MB GMT? Perhaps the primary reason is to be consistent with the other watches in the series.
The MBI is the same watch as the MBII except for cosmetic differences. The MBI is a restricted offering and can only be purchased by pilots who have ejected from a Martin-Baker ejection seat. The watches are then specially commissioned so that the serial number matches the pilot's ejection seat number. The MBI visually differentiates itself from the MBII by featuring a red barrel, yellow second hand, yellow 5-minute numbers on the internal chapter ring, and the Martin-Baker logo on the dial.
The MBII features a choice of gray, green, or orange barrels and a black second hand. A few years ago there was a 20-piece limited edition watch produced for a watch forum that featured the yellow MBI elements, though it sported an orange barrel instead of the honor-reserved red. It was called the "MB 1.5". Since the MBIII has a different complication than the other watches in its family, it only makes sense that it has its own roman numeral.
The rare MB 1.5 is 1/2 way in between and MBI & and MBII. It features an orange bezel but the second hand and hour markers of the MBI. The watch was a special edition for the ATG forum.
The Bremont MBII.
The three barrel colors of the Bremont MBII: Gray, Orange, and Green.
As to the style, there is no doubt the watch is an MB. In fact, the MBIII's hands, lume, case, and dial markings are otherwise identical to the MBII. Still, there are enough differences that make me think of it as its own thing. Aside from the functional difference between the two watches, the MBIII looks slightly looks more austere to me. They accomplished this effect by removing the day indicator and replacing the MBII's diver-style 60-minute register with a 24-hour scale which provides more open space on the chapter ring. When I look at it I see a more pure pilot watch. In comparison, the MBII leans towards a sport watch.
Functionally the two watches function and set nearly identically. The GMT hand is operated by turning the crown clockwise in the second position. This is the position that changes the day of the week on the MBII.
As it is with the the MB II, color choice of the barrel is a big part of choosing an MBIII. There are three choices: bronze, gray, and orange. The new bronze color is a design que taken from a Bremont F-22 Military edition squadron watch from 2013. The color of the barrel was inspired by the F-22's distinctive anti-radar canopy. Instead of coming with a colorful NATO as a second strap, the MBIII comes with the Temple Island rubber strap as a second look.
The MBIII also has a different lume signature than the MBII. The lume of the MBII features a green second hand while all lume in the MBIII is a consistent light blue. The MBIII lume also features the addition of the GMT triangle. The triangle is similar to the hour marker, but easy to distinguish as it is significantly smaller and farther away from the dial's center.
Lume shot of the MBII and MBIII (respectively)
The MB collection is one of my favorite watches across all brands. The MBII is also one of my own most worn personal watches over the past several years. I'm drawn to the way it combines the functionality of a tool watch with restrained conservative design. While the connection to Martin-Baker helps make the narrative interesting, I am also drawn to the colored barrels, readable dials, and the finish detail of the case.
The MBII retails for $5,200 and the MBIII retails for $5,995. Below are photos of all three color versions of the MBIII.
The Orange Barrel MBIII
The Gray Barrell MBIII
Bronze Barrel MBIII (prototype)
The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.