Following a renewed interest in the British watch brand Bremont, I spent quality time with one of its most recognizable models, the MBII. With the hardened stainless steel case and second crown for the internal bidirectional rotating scale, the MBII cuts a striking silhouette. But beneath the solid looks, it is a capable pilot’s watch packed with technology to benefit the wearer in various scenarios. My time with the MBII was enlightening, and it broadened my view of Bremont and its model namesake Martin-Baker. Read on to discover my thoughts in this hands-on review.

Getting meaningful time with a loaned watch is a luxury in itself. While we get access to a variety of new pieces, prototypes, or even rarities, the actual time spent wearing and enjoying these watches is often minimal. The brands may only have a few examples that make the rounds to press within a region or sometimes globally. With that in mind, going a day over your allotment has a knock-on effect for other publications. Not wishing to spoil someone else’s limited access and experiencing the delays ourselves puts pressure on getting a lot done within a short period. Sending off a watch without taking photos is a wasted opportunity, so that takes priority. Then it may need to be passed around or tested in a specific environment. Before you know it, it’s back in the box and barely has time on your wrist.

Bremont MBII White Temple Island Blue

Bremont MBII

We do our best to plan our time and make the most of our window since dedicating the stint gives you, the reader, the most representative assessment. But we jump at the chance to have more watch access without a deadline. A long-term watch loan sometimes comes through the brands but also thanks to generous colleagues and friends. Recently, I took the opportunity to spend time with the Bremont MBII, courtesy of Ben Rexworthy of I caught a strange bug this year that has led me to become increasingly fascinated by the offerings from Bremont. Whether it was the new ENG300 movement pushing the new collection upmarket that demonstrated the affordability of the previous models or Bremont displaying longevity and now settling in to become a veteran of modern British watchmaking, the brand has caught my attention this year.

Rexworthy generously loaned one of his Bremont timepieces for me to appreciate its perks. Of the options, Rexworthy’s Martin-Baker II (or “MBII”) seemed the most relevant or at least a good place to start for some long-term wear. One of the criticisms that Bremont receives — and that initially rang true with me — is the apparent lack of a halo model or core range. While it may be arguable, the MBII has gradually emerged as the definitive Bremont wristwatch representing the brand’s values. As part of the Altitude collection, the MBII reflects the aviation theme, which Bremont proudly boasts as overtly as the propeller blade underlining the logo. The MBII also showcases a key benefit of Bremont’s anti-shock capabilities via the co-branding with Martin-Baker ejection seats. The Trip-Tick case technology is identifiable across many Bremont watches, but its genesis was with the MB models.


While I am unlikely to put a Bremont through the same rigors as an ejection seat test, it’s good to know its potential. As Bremont states:

“…the unique rubberized movement mount encloses the inner workings. A flexible ring connects the mount to the outer case, absorbing shocks and allowing the inner case and movement to float. In doing so, shocks to the movement are minimized and shock energy absorbed.”

This ability became especially attractive to me after my Oris Aquis Calibre 400 took a tumble during desk diving. The outer case was visually unharmed, but the shock sent through construction stopped the movement. I couldn’t understand which component was at fault since Oris elected to replace the entire mechanism. While the watch works well and was covered under warranty, the fear of this happening again turns my attention to practical anti-shock watches.

Bremont MBII White

This particular Bremont MBII is powered by the BE-36AE automatic movement with a day and date function. The base of the caliber is a modified ETA 2836-2 with a unique rotor, which undergoes chronometer testing. A more bespoke mechanism, such as the ENG300 series of watches, would undoubtedly elevate the MBII, as we have seen with the Bremont MB Viper. But also, as you can imagine, the movement provenance ups the price into a precarious position that I, like many, are not ready to accept. The £4,000–5,000 price point feels comfortable for the Martin-Baker range, so it’s good to see that even with the new £5,495 Bremont MB Viper, the MBII remains affordable. Of course, with all things, affordability is relative, but 2023 is seeing sharp increases for many watch brands, so it’s good to know that some existing models maintain stability.

Bremont MBII White

Pilot’s watch

Having the day function alongside the date is a nice inclusion and resembles the MBI, which is only available to survivors of aircraft ejections using Martin-Baker seats. The white dial also keeps details clear with high contrast against the matte black Flieger-style hands and Super-LumiNova Arabic numerals. Bremont also allows customization of the knurled aluminum mid-case barrel with up to nine color choices via its configurator. Initially, this watch came with a blue barrel, but the owner swapped it for an orange one. The option to change the barrel color is free of charge when the watch goes in for service. However, the choice is limited to what was available at the time of the serial number production. And you especially cannot opt for the red barrel as this is reserved exclusively for the MBI. Even so, it’s reassuring to know that if you’re indecisive, you can always swap later.

Bremont MB II Temple Island Blue.

The advantage of the white dial is the blank canvas it provides to mix and match colors without clashing. It also works well with the blackened central seconds hand with yellow ejector seat handle counterbalance. The red accents on the dial and tip of the seconds hand also combine to create a tactical-looking watch without overdoing it. What blew me away was how solid the watch felt. The MBII can boast its anti-shock capabilities, but if it felt flimsy in hand, it would spoil the illusion. Luckily, Bremont’s MBII has a reassuring heft and quality feel. It’s not often that the feel of a watch can match its rugged aesthetic, but the MBII achieves this. Of course, the 38-hour power reserve pales in comparison to the 65-hour reserve of the Viper’s ENG300 movement. While it’s not a deal-breaker, I’m sure a caliber evolution for the MBII is on the horizon.

Bremont MBII White

Final thoughts

As you may guess, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Bremont MBII. Ben Rexworthy also sent the watch with various straps, including leather, rubber, and NATO options. The blue and brown leather straps looked sturdy, but I didn’t want to remold them to my wrist shape during my hands-on experience. The MBII was mainly on the Temple Island blue rubber strap, which paired perfectly with the orange barrel. The rubber strap was exceptionally comfortable and didn’t require any bedding that the thick leather straps would need. As my time came with the MBII came to an end, I tried it on the Artem navy sailcloth strap, which also worked well. The Artem wearing experience is quite familiar, but it was nice to sample the style with this type of watch.

The ultimate question is whether this hands-on time inspired me to purchase my own Bremont watch. Well, let’s say that the cogs are already turning on this. I should be on my way to becoming a Bremont owner in the next few months. All will be revealed soon, so stay tuned to Fratello for more on my Bremont journey. For now, I want to thank Ben Rexworthy for allowing me to test drive his MBII. This configuration with the day is now discontinued on the site, but similar options with just the date are available for £4,295. If you want to read Ben’s thoughts on Bremont, check out a few of his articles here. For more everyday content, follow him on Instagram. Lastly, for anything else on Bremont, check the online catalog and locate your nearest boutique or authorized dealer via the website here.