- 40mm x 11.9mm
- Hardened stainless steel case
- Sandwich dial with green transmission Super-LumiNova
- 100m water resistance (with screw down crown)
- Modified calibre 11 1/2’’’ BE-95-2AV automatic chronometer, 31 jewels, Glucydur balance, Anachron balance spring, Nivaflex 1 mainspring, 28,800 bph (4Hz), 38-hour power reserve, Bremont molded and skeletonised decorated rotor
- Commissioned by Queen Elizabeth, and the last wristwatch ever to carry her seal
- Limited Edition of 200 pieces
- Date of release – March 2023
- Price upon release – $3695 USD
Just The Facts
Fact 1 – I unabashedly love Bremont’s watches, the company itself, and the people who run it.
Fact 2 – I know the folks at Bremont, and they even flew me to England to hang out with them at their factory, The Wing. They put me up in a classy hotel and paid for my meals.
Fact 3 – I bought this Broadsword Recon Limited Edition at full MSRP with my very own money.
Fact 4 – I have been taught by some of the best ethnographic minds of the 20th century how to weave my subjective biases into an objective account.
The Broadsword Is a Real Bremont
I was a little skeptical of the original Broadsword models released in 2019, which were the first Bremont watches to carry a two-piece case. I was and am a huge fan of Bremont’s three-piece Trip-Tick case, which is an important part of Bremont’s unique design language. At first I thought the two-piece Broadsword case didn’t speak fluent Bremontese. I was wrong.
Despite my initial misgivings, whenever I tried on a Broadsword I really liked it. It wore great, looked great, was tough as nails, and it seemed entirely like a Bremont. But I resisted anyway. Only a watch nerd like me can locate elements of his identity in something as esoteric as the construction of a watch case, and I decided I was a Trip-Tick guy.
Now I’m totally a Broadsword guy, too.
Why? Because of the Recon’s wonderful sandwich dial, which hooked me in photos, and in person has landed me on deck and clubbed me silly. I genuinely love this two-piece case construction from Bremont.
One of the problems I often have with two-piece watch cases this thick is that the sides can be super boring or, as the kids say, “slab sided.” The 40mm Broadsword case is 11.9mm tall, which is the exact same height as Tudor’s Black Bay 58, a watch I don’t buy precisely because the thing is so “slab-sided.” (The new BB54 is better, I hear, but I digress.) The Broadsword case is simply not slab-sided. It’s actually quite elegant and interesting.
For one thing, there are the grooves in the side, like racing stripes kind of, that lend the case a sense of length and, obviously, more interest than a monolithic slab. But there is also the arc of the side of this case which I find entirely graceful, and the super nice large crown, which livens up the whole look and helps the watch case look proportionally correct. Lastly, there are the polished sections of the lugs, which mimic those of the Trip-Tick case, and which give the Broadsword an unmistakable Bremont vibe. From the top, the Broadsword case is actually not that different looking from the Trip-Tick case, which accounts for about 99% of my watch gazing.
The Sandwich Dial
It’s funny how Panerai has taken the sandwich dial as their own, somehow, because in fact not that many Panerais use a sandwich dial and a bunch of other brands also use the technique. With that said, I’ve always wanted a Parnerai with a sandwich dial, but I never have found one that I liked enough to pony up over $6000 for. Bottom line: Panerai’s are too big for me, and when they’re not too big, they’re not really Panerais (see the Due, e.g.).
Additionally, Sly Stallone, who popularized Panerais during the machismo-fest of the 1990s, isn’t exactly the Italian-American role model I’m reaching for as an Italian-American—I’m more of a Sophia Copolla aspirant, actually, but again I digress.
More importantly vis-a-vis Panerai, the Bremont Recon is a tribute to the Dirty Dozen watches that soldiers on the correct side of WWII wore, and we all know who wore Panerais. That’s not just a political thing for me, but an aesthetic one because the Recon speaks the language of democracy and freedom. When I look at it, I don’t think of Fascists—yet another Italian identity I avoid at all costs—but of the good guys, like my Dad, who served in that tragic war for freedom and democracy.
Anyways, when I saw a Bremont with a sandwich dial, I thought I’d died and gone to horological heaven. But two important things to consider: I didn’t think (and still don’t think) the Recon looks anything like a Panerai, and the Recon is—like all Bremonts—full of details that assure the watch carries its own unique identity. In short: it’s very much a Bremont.
Deep Into The Sandwich Dial
It has taken me a little while to get used to the black gloss outlining of the numerical cut-outs in the dial, which isn’t anything I’ve seen any other brand do. It gives the watch a kind of unexpected quality that’s hard to put into words: maybe depth, but more like rugged elegance, actually—which I didn’t expect. The numerical outline is so well executed—we’re talking zero slop—that I have come to think of it as akin to the numerals on Patek Philippe’s totally amazing 5226G Calatrava, which is really a beige and black pilots watch done up like a dresser with lovely white-gold surrounds on the beige numeral indices.
The sandwich features on the cardinal points of the Recon’s subdial are a lovely touch, too, as is the lumed subdial seconds hand, which is something found on Panerais, yes, but, again, so uniquely designed as to suggest nothing of the sort.
As for the date window, I’ll just say that after watching IWC move, recolor, and otherwise fiddle with the date window on the MKxx pilots watches for like two decades to no one’s satisfaction, Bremont nailed it straight away. Proportions, colors, the frame, the location—the Recon’s date window is perfect, so don’t fiddle with it!
A final detail that I love is the puffiness of the beige lume plots along the hour markers of the rehaut, because they look convincingly like old tritium. These plots even add another bit of depth to the dial, and the whole watch face just beams with interest and depth and warmth—and if you can’t tell I love it.
I’ve rambled, but let me be super clear: The Recon represents exceptional dial making—from the unique and perfectly proportioned design to the execution of what is obviously neither a simple paint job nor a simple construction. I know it’s not a stamped masterpiece like Patek’s 5526G and that it lacks white gold surrounds polished by the great-grandchildren of Swiss gnomes, but I sincerely put the Recon’s dial in league with the 5526G as an object possessing exceptional proportional balance, wonderful color, and super high legibility. Like the Patek 5226G, the Recon is a tool watch which transcends that category to become simply beautiful to behold.
Best Beige Ever
Patek Philippe has a great beige shade of lume on the 5226G, but Bremont’s beige lume, which also adorns my Bremont Supermarine S301 dive watch, is really one of the best going. I don’t want to speculate on why that is, because I’m not a color theorist, but Bremont’s beige lume doesn’t look weird, nor does it look like it’s trying to be tritium, and for that reason it has all the charm of actual aged tritium.
Fauxtina is such a divisive topic, but I’ve just always just liked how Bremont’s colorways come together. Just as I didn’t think of the Recon looking like a Panera I also didn’t think of the beige lume looking like it was trying to be something other than just part of the great colorway of this watch. Perhaps what I’m driving at is that we are past the debates about fauxtina, and we can finally just like the color or not like it. Obviously, I like Bremont’s and Patek’s shade of beige, or khaki, or whatever it is.
A Hard-Ass Chronometer
You can’t scratch this metal from Bremont, or if you can, then you have to beat it up harder than I’ve beat up my S301 diver for years. I mean, I really beat on it, and it looks great. It’s so hard that I just don’t even have to think about scratches, and if I do get one, then ok, that’s cool too. But my experience so far with Bremont’s stainless steel is that it just keeps looking new. I like that, a lot.
The movement is made to run at chronometer specs, and it is a robustly modified top grade Swiss third-party movement. Tudor and Oris and a few others are now going on about their $4000 watches with “in-house” movements, but to be honest I don’t care. They’re all more or less the same thing anyways, and a 38-hour power reserve has always seemed like more than enough to me.
And my experience servicing my Bremont S301, which has the same movement as the Recon, was that it came back from service at The Wing running at +1 seconds a day and it has stayed that way for about a year. This Recon is running within the same tight tolerances, and I’ll take it over a far more expensive Omega or a Rolex in-house caliber that attempts to exceed those ratings, and often falls out of tune within a year anyways.
The Military Affiliation is Official
Unlike many Bremont fans, I’m not an Anglophile. I’m one of those Americans who doesn’t really understand why a modern democratic country has held on to its royal family, and I find the pageantry of the British royals mysterious.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t take some account of the fact that Bremont now serves the Royal Military on an official basis, and given the military history of the Dirty Dozen watches that the Broadsword Recon is celebrating, I like that it’s not some random thing, but a legit military watch commissioned by Queen, Elizabeth herself (RIP). This watch is officially the very last watch commissioned by Queen Elizabesth, and future Bremont Broadswords will carry Charles’ seal, not Elizabeth’s.
I don’t know about Charles, honestly. Good guy, I suppose, and handling his late-coming role as King as well as he can, I guess. But Elizabeth, she was cool. Hers was a better century for being a royal. She rode horses and fixed Land Rovers and wore Wellies in the damp fields a lot. And she met with Churchill and helped save our asses from Fascism, so she’s cool. And for that I’m happy about the official HMAF designation on my new watch. But mostly I’m just happy about it because the folks at Bremont are happy about it, and because they fly vintage planes and really mean it when they show their enthusiasm for what is basically the equivalent of my motorcycling fascination. That’d be a stretch if I hadn’t gotten to pilot one of their vintage planes, after which I totally understood Bremont far better than I had before.