“Somehow I’ve got to talk Giles and Nick into letting me do an ejection so I can get the watch.” Jimmy Spithill, the superstar Aussie skipper of Oracle Team USA, is sitting across from me all tanned and muscled, clutching an omnipresent can of Red Bull. “After winning the Cup, I want to do an ejection,” Spithill says with as much conviction and seriousness as he does when discussing how to win his second America’s Cup for Larry Ellison’s no-holds barred team. Of course, the watch he’s talking about is Bremont’s MBI, the pilot’s watch available for purchase only by “ejectees,” those who have escaped a doomed aircraft using a Martin-Baker ejection seat.
Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill
The alloy from the initial three is shaped into propeller blades, one for each plane and the timber is in the 1917 SE5a. All of this is visible via a sapphire caseback. With the use of an automatic chronograph movement with GMT function, a screen back, and 100m of water resistance, it is not surprising that this view is 17.2mm thick. Having a case diameter of 43mm, this ought to give the watch plenty of presence and weight on the wrist – especially with the gold instance materials.The situation is assembled with all the newest signature TripTick method, which gives the case band and lugs their signature look in the side and back. It has a sporty double-step bezel plus a large (possibly, a bit too large) knurled crown, and round pushers. All in all, the situation does seem like that of a large, contemporary pilot’s watch with a sporty edge.The dial however, isn’t as quickly legible as you might expect from an aviation watch, as pilot’s watches create a point of being super and simple legible. Each instance material comes with its own dial color — blue for the white gold case, black to the increased gold case, and white to the steel case. At first glance, it is easy to confuse the dial up for this of a moonphase chronograph as a result of index at 6:00 — but that’s in reality the AM/PM index. This indicator has been designed to depict the Spitfire dogfighting in the Battle of Britain in the AM and the Avro Lancaster bomber on a night mission at the PM.
Turns out, Spithill’s dream may not be far fetched. The guy’s an accomplished pilot, a skill he picked up in order to learn the nuances of how wings meet air, sailing in three dimensions. The fact that he’s willing to ditch a perfectly good aircraft in order to qualify for a wristwatch says as much about Spithill’s derring-do as it does his interest in watches. The guy truly loves a good timepiece and he’s quite happy that Bremont Watches Jobs Replica has signed on as an Oracle Team USA sponsor and by extension, the official timekeeper for the next America’s Cup.
The Bremont Watches Kingsman Replica Replica Oracle I and skipper Jimmy Spithill
To kick off the partnership, Bremont produced four new watches themed around the Cup and around Oracle Team USA. I was invited to Bermuda this past weekend not only to check out the watches but also get to know the team, the venue for the race, and take in some on-water drag racing in the Great Sound, where six international teams competed in some preliminary races as part of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.
Groupama Team France in full foil
Scoring a sponsorship of one of the America’s Cup teams was a coup for Bremont, but aligning itself with the Defender of the Cup guarantees their position as Official Timekeeper and ensures that their team will be there until the end. What makes it even more remarkable is that relatively small brand Bremont takes over the role from behemoth TAG Heuer, which was Oracle’s partner two years ago. “Larry [Ellison] really liked what we do,” Bremont co-founder Nick English told me, “He’s a pilot and and a sailor and has seen what we did with our HMS Victory special edition and the Wright Flyer and thought we’d be a good fit.”
Oracle Team USA founder Larry Ellison has a word with his skipper
The watches Bremont Watches Home Replica has created thus far to commemorate the America’s Cup are divided into two “families”, AC and Oracle. The AC1 is a simple three-hander in the minimalist style of a deck watch, with a polished steel case, blue hands and a well-placed date window at 6:00. The ivory dial, with its outer railroad minute track, is subtly textured with a recurring likeness of the Auld Mug (the Cup trophy). The AC2 is similarly styled but comes in a polished rose gold case and is a two-register chronograph with the Auld Mug silhouette confined to the subdials. The AC watches have a sporty nautical aesthetic while remaining resolutely dressy, more suited for the yacht club than the bow of a foiling AC45 catamaran.
The Oracle watches on the other hand beg to get wet. Based on Bremont’s Supermarine 500, they feature rotating bezels and thick water resistant cases. The steel Oracle I, with a white dial is time and date only while the Oracle II, in titanium, adds a GMT hand on a black dial. Both watches come on thick rubber straps in red (Oracle I) or black (Oracle II). Helium release valves are a small, unnecessary disappointment on these watches, but otherwise, it’s no surprise that dive watches make suitable sailing watches, if only to tell the time due to their rugged build and water resistance. And the best part of these is that the Oracle Team USA crew actually wears them in action.
Look closely for red watch straps. The Oracle crew working the lines.
Most sailors are quick to leave their luxury watches, sponsored or not, in their shore bags until after they’re back at the marina. Not so with the Oracle boys. Bremont was smart to fit the Oracle I with a red strap and white dial, because they’re highly visible from a distance and indeed during the weekend’s racing, I could see almost the entire crew wearing the watches, with no regard for the inevitable impacts and trauma they would face during 20 knot tacks, furious winching and sail changes. This is no genteel 12-meter cruising. These guys are wearing crash helmets and body armor. It was refreshing to see and a testament not only to the crew’s love of the watches but also the confidence Bremont has in their toughness.
Bermuda is a beautiful place to host the America’s Cup, though it has had its detractors who say it’s too remote and too expensive for the average sailing fan to attend. But there was no doubt at the kickoff festivities that the locals have embraced the race and the island’s long maritime history (the Bermuda sail rig was invented here to navigate the tricky reefs) and picturesque harbor make for a great backdrop. Oracle Team USA has set up camp for the next few years in the former Royal Navy Dockyard at the tip of the island and converted several of its two-century old barracks into sail lofts and workout facilities. Not a bad place for Spithill and crew to call home for the next couple of years as they shake down their new boats.
Saturday’s weather was uncooperative, with light winds forcing cancellation of the day’s planned two races. That left Sunday to fit in three races, worth double points for the series, and that day dawned with 13 knot winds gusting to 15, and a light chop on the Great Sound. Oracle Team USA got off to a great start, winning the first race but it was the Swedish Artemis team (sponsored by Ulysse Nardin) that took race two, with Emirates Team NZ winning race three. Even after a dramatic collision with a race official boat, Artemis went on to win the weekend. The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is over for 2015, but resumes next summer with races in Portsmouth, England, Chicago and back in Bermuda.
Jimmy Spithill is going to have some stiff competition if he hopes to successfully defend Oracle’s America’s Cup. His nemesis from 2014, Dean Barker, has moved over to SoftBank Team Japan, while French sailing legend Franck Cammas helms Groupama Team France and British Olympic hero (and former Oracle tactician) Sir Ben Ainslie is driving for Land Rover BAR. Last Cup’s Challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand (sponsored by OMEGA), is always tough and Artemis has poured big bucks into its boat development and it has shown in the early races. So Spithill will need to postpone his ejection seat fantasies until he secures the Auld Mug for Mr. Ellison. Then all bets are off.
The America’s Cup
Fireworks at the opening ceremonies
The America’s Cup traditional champagne shower
The Bremont Watches Japan Replica America’s Cup partnership continues through the summer of 2017, when the finals will be contended in Bermuda. The four watches produced to date are only the beginning and I’m told something special is planned for a BaselWorld release, just in time for on-water testing next summer. Stay tuned.
All photos by Gishani Ratnayake for HODINKEE
Read more about Bremont and the America’s Cup right here.