A French timepiece production company, Bernard Richards Manufacture (BRM), known for its watches that are mostly inspired by iconic machines, will be presenting new models from three series at the Baselworld 2012 Watch & Jewellery Show. This time, new timepieces with self-winding mechanical movements are influenced by vintage military planes and racing cars. The models that will be available in a couple of months will be in the price range of between $5,100 and $10,750.
Bernard Richards Manufacture, named after is founder who has been in the industry for 25 years, is the watchmaking company set in Vexin county in the vicinity of Paris. At the company’s workshops, a great attention is present during the entire process of construction and during the making of watch’s parts. Such philosophy is responsible why this brand, unlike the others, constructs lugs separately from the case, which enables them to combine different materials for lugs and cases. Another impressive trait is their capability to construct cases that consist of up to 18 parts, more intricate buckles and custom hands and screws.
Besides, BRM also makes sure that the most important stages in production (such as fitting, assembling, polishing and setting) are performed by hand. Unfortunately, the company does not provide many technical specifications of the movements they use, apart from stating that they are mechanical and self-winding. However, if we turn attention to the previous models it made, we can see that they used movements like ETA 2671 and Valjoux 7753 that were modified by BRM, so it is possible that it is also the case in this instance. The customization of parts and the brand’s desire to gain more exclusivity are the reasons why it constructs only 2,000 timepieces per year.
The overall sporty theme of BRM Watches is influenced by its founder’s passion for motorsports and by its sponsorship of top teams and racers (the ambassadors of the brand are Jean-Eric Vergne, Manu Collard, Cyrille Lemoine, while the company also sponsors Peugeot Sport racing team). The influence and nods to mechanical marvels are visible in many details. For example, it is usual to see chequered flag details on the cases and straps. Likewise, Bernard Richards Manufacture tends to use modern materials that are developed for race cars, or to name their models after parts of engines.
The Series Dedicated to Vintage Plains
Just like in the most of the timepieces that the French manufacturer launched before, the tribute to racing and mechanics is clear in new watches that are unveiled at Basel exhibition. The new line that the brand is launching is inspired by the legendary vintage fighter aircrafts from the Second World War (although BRM’s promotional material characterizes them as bombers): the British Spitfire, the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero and the North American P-51 Mustang (made by USA).
The inclusion of aeronautical theme is visible in many details, such as spindle-shape pushers that resemble the fuselage of the aircrafts that inspired the series, the addition of rivets, propeller-shaped needles, lugs that mimic the appearance of exhaust pipes on the planes and calf leather straps with stitching that resemble harnesses used by pilots. The aircraft motifs are naturally used also on the (black or blue and white) dials of the watches that have large Roman numerals on three positions (at the four, eight and twelve o’clock). While the brand’s logo is incorporated in a parachute, chrono sub-dials show-of roundels (insignias used on military aircrafts) of different countries. Despite all the effort and the presence of original details, the appearance of these dials does not have a universal appeal in our opinion (just like the case backs that depict skulls with crossed bones, or a bulldog), but are likely to attract people with interest in aeronautics, especially the ones who like the vintage aircrafts from this period.
There are two different versions of cases that are used in the models. The round stainless steel cases with the diameters of 45 mm can be constructed with a brushed finish, or with a black PVD coating. Brushed stainless steel is also utilized for the crown, pushers and lugs. As previously said, fighter plane timepieces are equipped with automatic mechanical chrono movements, though it is not really clear which caliber was used (possibly modified ETA Valjoux 7753). For improved functionality, they have water resistance to 100 meters. It is announced that these models will be available in July, at the price of around $ 7,000 for the version with a brush finish, and a bit more (just shy of $7,700) for the version with a black PVD coating.
BRM Racing Spirit Series
Visually far more appealing newcomers (at least in our opinion) are from the Racing series and its Sport subsection. These are two sporty looking watches with skeletonized dials that have bright hand-painted lacquer accents on the front of the movement, hour markers located on the flange and original skeletonized hands. During the process of their creation, Bernard Roberts Manufacture has utilized in-house computer numerical control (CNC) machinery that was needed to perform challenging parts of the design, and which also allows the substantial reduction of constructing costs and the price of the watch.
Two newcomers are dubbed V6 Sport and V12 Sport and the main difference between them is that V12 Sport has a chronograph feature. Both models have skeleton dials with black flanges, and are fitted in stainless steel housings with black PVD coatings. The diameter of 44 mm is also a mutual trait. For these two models, BRM included a nice sporty looking black calf leather strap with red stitching and round perforations that are also accented with red color. This combination of colors further contributes to the overall race car theme. As the French brand announced, these two models will be available in April. The version without additional complications and with the designation V6 costs around $5,100, while the chrono self-winding V12 costs more than twice as much, and has the price tag of around $10,750.
BRM’s Partnership with Gulf
The final novelty that is presented at the largest watchmaking event in the world, in Basel, comes as a part of Bernard Richards Manufacture’s collaboration with a major multinational oil company, Gulf Oil, which is also known for its endorsement of racing sports. The partnership between these companies started about a year ago, and since then, BRM has launched five limited editions of timepieces with individual numberings. The four initial series were sold out, while the last one with the designation V8 became available this January. For Baselworld, BRM has prepared two limited editions of this watch that are fitted in square casings that include black PVD coatings. The smaller one has the diameter of 37 mm, whereas the larger one is 41 mm wide. Both of these series are created in the editions of 200 pieces.
The square watches are decorated with blue and orange accents, the recognizable colors which can be seen on racing cars sponsored by Gulf, but the background color is black, and it can be seen on the dial, as well as on the strap of this timepiece. As the previous newcomers, they also have self-winding chrono movements. Featured water resistance is 100 meters. These watches are already available for sale. The smaller variation is worth around $8,850, while the bigger one costs just a bit less than $9,400.