British luxury watch brand Bremont unveils the Limited edition Wright Flyer aviation watch incorporating original material from the 1903 Wright Flyer, plus its first in-house movement. As with previous Bremont Limited Editions, this timepiece incorporates a remarkable piece of history that is an original part of the first ever powered aircraft.
The 1903 Wright Flyer was built and designed by the Wright brothers themselves in Dayton, Ohio, USA. It’s the invention and aircraft that changed the way we live today.
Bremont announced the unveiling of the Limited Edition Bremont Wright Flyer on the 23rd July 2014 at the Science Museum in London. The new timepiece will feature some of the original fabric used on the 1903 Wright Flyer aircraft.
The Limited Edition Bremont Wright Flyer will be equipped with Bremont’s first ever in-house movement, the BWC/01, designed and developed in Britain. Many of its constituent parts have also been crafted at the company’s workshops in Henleyon- Thames. The 25 jewel, 33.4mm movement features a 50+ hour power reserve, Glucydur balance and a hairspring adjusted via a micro-metric screw. Utterly reliable and extremely robust, the BWC/01 is elegant and beautifully finished, with a central hour and minute hand and a running second hand at 9 o’clock.
This unique project was only made possible by the Wright family’s passion for Bremont’s aviation heritage. Proceeds from the limited edition line will help to restore the Wright Family home in Dayton, Ohio to its former glory.
One cold December day way back in 1903, the Wright Flyer became the world’s first successful powered flying machine. It was the ground-breaking invention of two brothers from Dayton, Ohio. Wilbur and Orville Wright were not scientists. They did not even graduate from high school. And unlike other inventors of the period, they received no sponsorship to fund their endeavors. Yet through sheer perseverance and ingenuity, they became the first to master the principles of controlled flight. It was the catalyst for an incredible century of aviation development that continues into the 21st century. Their pioneering techniques and systems remaining a fundamental part of modern aircraft design to this very day. Iconic machines like the Spitfire, Concorde and even the Space Shuttle all owe a debt to the Wright Flyer, a humble biplane made of spruce and fabric. The Wright Brothers and their remarkable Wright Flyer truly made history – and continue to do so.
In designing and piloting the world’s first powered flying machine, Wilbur and Orville Wright became the first to turn mankind’s dreams into a reality. Their fascination for flight had begun in childhood and as adults they had watched as other pioneers tried, and failed, to master the skies.
Wilbur believed that a lack of proper control was their downfall and set out to solve the issue. He hit upon wingwarping, using control wires to twist the wings and turn the machine. The brothers then began testing glider designs, adding an elevator to control pitch and finally mastering yaw with a vertical rudder.
Their 1902 glider featured the very first three-axis control system, which remains an essential element of every modern aircraft. And with the addition of a small engine and two propellers, their remarkable 1903 Wright Flyer became the first machine to finally conquer the air.
The brothers made three more flights in the Wright Flyer, each one progressively longer and more controlled. On the fourth flight Wilbur covered 852 feet in 59 seconds, but after carrying the machine back to the launch site at Kitty Hawk, disaster struck. When the wind finally released the Flyer, the legendary biplane was damaged beyond repair. Its short but illustrious career was over.
By 1906 the brothers had developed their invention into a practical aircraft and were ready to sell the design. Preferring to work in secret, their achievements had largely been ignored by the press. So it took a full three years to silence the doubters and convince the world their claims were true. The desired sales contracts soon followed and by 1909 they had become world-famous American heroes, piloting Wright Flyer displays across the globe to an adoring public enamoured with all things aeronautical.
The Wright Company was formed in 1910 to manufacture their aircraft, yet only two years later Wilbur contracted typhoid and died aged just 45. Without his beloved brother, Orville lost his motivation and sold the company in 1915. He remained a key figure in aviation circles and by his death in 1948 had witnessed an incredible evolution in aircraft design, thanks in no small part to the remarkable work he and Wilbur had carried out.
When the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC credited the Langley Aerodrome, a 1903 machine that failed to fly, as the ‘first man-carrying aeroplane in the history of the world capable of sustained free flight’, Orville was furious. Naturally, he considered it an outrageous slight on the brothers’ legacy. In protest, he loaned their great American aeronautical achievement to the Science Museum in 1928 claiming that, “I regret more than anyone else that this course of action is necessary”. America’s loss was Great Britain’s gain and the 1903 Wright Flyer spent two decades exhibited in London.
During World War II, the Flyer was moved away from the Blitz to the safety of an underground vault far away from the city. Then, in 1942, the Smithsonian finally changed its stance and credited the Wright Flyer as history’s first powered, piloted aeroplane. Before returning the Flyer to the USA, the Science Museum created a replica to put on display. Orville did not live to see the Wright Flyer take pride of place in the Smithsonian. At the grand opening ceremony, the British Ambassador Sir Oliver Franks commented: “It is a little as if we had before us the original wheel”.
Following the incident at Kitty Hawk, the Flyer was crated up and stored in a Dayton basement. When the Miami River burst its banks in 1913, the basement flooded leaving the aircraft sat in mud and water for eleven days. In 1916 Orville repaired and restored it for a series of static displays, leaving only the outer wing panels covered in the original unbleached Pride of the West muslin, hand-stitched in place by Wilbur himself. A further restoration in 1925 replaced the entire fabric, yet when Orville passed away in 1948 his family discovered that he had kept large portions of the 1903 muslin.
Over time, small parts of that fabric have been donated to aeronautical friends and institutions. Its importance to aviation history was aptly recognised in 1969, when Neil Armstrong took man’s first steps on the moon carrying a piece in his spacesuit pocket. This precious wing fabric is incorporated into the center of each Bremont Wright Flyer rotor.
Model: Bremont Wright Flyer Limited edition
Stainless Steel, Limited to 300 pieces
Rose Gold, Limited to 100 pieces
White Gold, Limited to 50 pieces
Bremont BWC/01 33.4mm Automatic with 25 jewels, Glucydur balance, Nivarox CT balance spring and Nivaflex 1 mainspring. Highly efficient double reverser bi-directional winding mechanism to achieve 28,800bph and 50+ hour power reserve. The BWC/01 is elegant and beautifully finished with many of its constituent parts being crafted at Bremont’s workshops in Henley-on-Thames.
Rotor: Each Bremont Wright Flyer Limited Edition rotor will feature some of the original muslin material used to cover the 1903 Wright Flyer aircraft. The muslin will be layered between the period decorated rotor plate and a sapphire crystal window.
Available in polished stainless steel, rose gold or white gold
All versions feature Bremont’s Trip-Tick® case construction with integrated decoration ring
43mm case diameter with standard 22mm lug width and a case thickness of 14mm including the crystal
Case Back: Exhibition type with integrated domed crystal, secured with 4 polished headed screws. Engraved markings with specific limited edition serial number.
Crystal: Domed anti-reflective, scratch resistant sapphire crystal
Water resistant to 10 ATM, 100 metres
Metal dial with black or white base colour, decorated with period numerals and Wright Flyer date specific ‘1903’ sub-dial
Bespoke Bremont SuperLumiNova® luminous coating.
HANDS: Central hour and minute hand with a running seconds hand at 9 o’clock
Alligator strap with pin buckle to complement case material