Nothing beats a watch with a good story. The most popular kind is undoubtedly a historical story about the actual watch. Such a tale is easy to relate to and often gives a watch instant credibility (if the story adds up, that is). But with so many historical watch stories out there, it can be hard to develop a relatable narrative for an actual new watch. Bremont’s latest, however, comes with a story that I love. The Bremont Apex Waterman was developed for the brand’s new ambassador, Laird Hamilton. He is one of the biggest names in big wave surfing and, more specifically, one of the inventors of tow-in surfing. So I was more than happy to take this watch out for a ride.
My interest in big wave surfing goes back to when I was a teenager. I used to stand on skateboards when I was young. I was never any good at it, nor did I have the determination to become any good. Tennis was my true first love, and taking the risk of breaking limbs was just not an option. But as a culture, the world of skateboarding and surfing was a lot more appealing to me than tennis could ever be. The history of skateboarding is full of good stories, so if you’re interested, check out the Dogtown and Z-Boys documentary and The Lords Of Dogtown movie that was made afterward.
The story of Laird Hamilton
One of the main skaters in Dogtown and Z-Boys and the director of the documentary is Stacey Peralta. He was part of that first group of professional skateboarders that paved the way for all the professional skaters that came after. Peralta also created the 2004 documentary Riding Giants about the story of big wave sdocumentss a compelling story that documenting the search for bigger and more dangerous waves. Besides legendary riders from the 1950s and ’60s Greg Noll and Jeff Clark, the third main protagonist is tow-in pioneer Laird Hamilton. Hamilton paved the way for riding even bigger waves by using a jet ski to tow him into them. This solution came from the fact that some waves were too big to paddle into, and the jet ski offered new possibilities.
I had and have a healthy fascination with this unique form of surfing. It allowed surfers to chase the biggest waves on Earth and ride them. While Riding Giants was definitely not my first exposure to big wave surfing or Laird Hamilton, it does give a great overview of the developments in the sport. Additionally, it gives a good insight into the life of Hamilton and his obsession with pushing the limits of what is possible on a surfboard. The most famous wave that Hamilton has ever ridden was the famous Millenium Wave at Tahiti’s Teahupoo on August 17th, 2000. The way Hamilton surfed this mean and rapid wave that day was surfing perfection. It is featured in the movie as well, and it gives you good idea of how special that moment was. Go look it up and yo will be amazed!
Hamilton is more than a surfer
While that may have been Hamilton’s most famous moment as a surfer, there is so much more to his story. He is widely known as “Waterman” because of his pioneering ways in and on the water. He is always looking for new ways of pushing the boundaries, with great examples like stand-up paddle boarding and hydrofoil boarding. Additionally, he has become a role model for healthy living and preserving the world’s oceans. Hamilton is a unique character who is definitely worth checking it out if you don’t know him. His list of achievements is impressive. It shows his determination in life, and I can only admire that.
I could definitely talk for hours when it comes to Laird Hamilton, but we have a watch to cover as well. As of June this year, Laird Hamilton is the latest brand ambassador for Bremont. As you will understand, I was intrigued to find out more about the new Apex Waterman Limited Edition when it was first announced, not only because of its ties to Hamilton but also because I love the colors of the pie watch combines black with a really nice shade of light blue. Additionally, the retro-inspired dial design has a charm that I really dig.
The specs of the Apex Waterman Limited Edition
But let’s start with some specs. The Apex Waterman is part of the brand’s Supermarine collection. This is Bremont’s line of dive watches. The collection consists of various three-hand dive watches, dive chronographs, and dive GMTs. Within that line, the S500-series is the closest to this new Apex Waterman. The latter shares the signature Trip-Tick case construction and 500 meters of water resistance with Bremont’s dive-watch series.
Straight out of the box, some things immediately stand out. The watch features a 43mm stainless steel case with a 16.5mm thickness and 51mm lug-to-lug. As you will immediately understand, this is not a watch for small wrists. The lug width is 22mm, and the watch comes with a beautiful, sturdy blue rubber strap that can carry the weight and size of the Apex Waterman perfectly. Looking at the watch from the side, you’ll get a perfect view of the Trip-Tick case construction. When you do, though, you’ll also see that the watch is quite thick.
A capable dive watch
Especially if you look through the sapphire case back, you will see that the movement is rather deep inside the case. This is due to the case’s 500m water resistance. Additionally, the caliber sits inside a patented protective anti-shock movement mount, which contributes to the thickness as well. The case also features an automatic helium escape valve and its characteristic crown protector.
Seeing the watch up close, I especially love the lugs, which flow effortlessly into the case band. This is a characteristic of the aforementioned Trip-Tick case construction. It’s an interesting profile that I really appreciate. I also love the dial design, which, honestly, is a first for me when it comes to Bremont. Over time, we have had quite a few models from the brand in the office. While I like some of Bremont’s models, the brand’s designs have never clicked with me like this one. The S502 Jet is another dive GMT that I like quite a bit, and the recently released S500 Bamford Special Edition is another highlight from the collection.
But as I said, in my book, no other Bremont release has been better than this Apex Waterman. The dial is, without a doubt, the big eye-catcher. The base is black with a raised central portion that features a wave pattern with shark fins. It’s a reference to the Bimini Shark Lab. Proceeds from the sale of the watch go to this special non-profit organization. The Bimini Shark Lab is located in the Bahamas and focuses on advancing knowledge of the biology of marine animals, particularly sharks and rays. The dial pattern is a neat decoration that’s noticeable when you want it to be but not too in your face.
A dial with a lot of detail
Surrounding the pattern, you’ll find the nickel-plated applied indexes that are filled with white Super-LumiNova. The lume lights up blue in darker lighting conditions, matching the blue color of the bezel elements and the blue strap. As you can see, the outside of the dial features a white rehaut with the minute track. For me, it’s this white ring that makes the dial an absolute winner. It adds a great sense of style to the aesthetic, which makes this a stand-out model for me.
The handset consists of nickel-plated cathedral hour and minute hands filled with white Super-LumiNova. The bright red seconds hand adds a bit of zing and features a white Super-LumiNova dot. Lastly, there is the matte black GMT hand with a light blue Super-LumiNova-filled tip. The black bezel features a sapphire inlay with white and light blue 24-hour markings. I love that color combination as it creates a very attractive and summery look.
The Bremont Calibre 11 1/2’’’ BE-93-2AV
Inside the case, Bremont uses its chronometer-certified Calibre 11 1/2’’’ BE-93-2AV. The automatic movement uses the ETA 2893-2 (2892-A2 with GMT module) as a base. It operates at 28,800vph, has 25 jewels, and provides 42 hours of power reserve. As mentioned, the movement is visible through the sapphire case back. As you can see, the rotor features the same decoration as the center of the dial but is executed in blue. It’s a nice little reminder of the good cause behind this watch.
The movement displays hours, minutes, and seconds as well as a date and GMT function. As most of you will know, the base ETA movement is an office/caller GMT, so you won’t get an independent 12-hour hand. The 24-hour hand, however, adjusts in one-hour increments. Additionally, the back of the case also ties in nicely with the fitted “harbour blue” rubber strap. The strap is very sturdy and beautifully integrated, and it comes with a branded stainless steel pin buckle.
Wearing the Bremont Apex Waterman
On the wrist, I found the Bremont Apex Waterman Limited Edition is a great fit for me. That said, I certainly understand that its dimensions make it a watch for the bigger-wristed among us. But thanks to the integrated rubber strap and the 42mm size, the watch did not feel too large. It definitely feels chunky, yes, but if you can handle that, it is very attractive on the wrist. The design of the case and dial offer a lot of intricacies, and the color combination is a break from the usual colors we see from the brand.
I wore the watch for several days in a row, and during that time, I loved looking at it. The colors used for the dial, hands, bezel, and strap work very well together and essentially create a very nice summer watch. While I first had doubts about the style of the hands and the thickness, the watch definitely grew on me quickly. I ended up loving wearing the watch on my wrist. Additionally, the Apex Waterman feels very well made. Operating the bezel and the screw-down crown emphasizes the high-quality construction. The crown feels sturdy and operating it to adjust the time, date, or GMT hand feels great. Overall, this is a very solid release from Bremont.
Final thoughts on the Bremont Apex Waterman Limited Edition
Bremont will produce a total of 200 pieces of this Apex Waterman Limited Edition. You can get the version on the rubber strap that we had in the office for £4,795 (€5,760). Alternatively, you could opt for the watch on a stainless steel bracelet for £5,195 (€6,120). I would definitely go for the one on the rubber strap. I believe the strap is elemental to the great presence of the watch, and it’s also really comfortable to wear. Having said that, the nearly €6K price tag for the version on the rubber strap is steep.
While the watch certainly feels very well made and looks great, it directly competes with the iconic heavy hitters in the category. Would you pick this over an Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M or one of the Tudor Pelagos models? I love what the watch has to offer, but for that amount of money, I want a watch to have everything that I want. The thickness, the modified version of a standard movement, and the style of the hands might become an issue over time for me. And as much as I admire Laird Hamilton and his story, I have serious doubts about whether that could take those doubts away.
For more information, visit the official Bremont website. Let us know in the comments section what your thoughts are on this new Bremont.