I have wanted a Bremont, specifically a Supermarine, for quite a long time. Up until now, the models available were great, but not quite right for me. I wasn’t a fan of the color offerings and there was not any real distinguishing features for the 3-hand dive watch to push me over the edge. Visually, the S2000 was very appealing, however, at 45mm I felt it was just too large for my wrist. Just when I had written off the Supermarine line entirely as, ‘good but not good enough (for me)’, Bremont unveiled the Terra Nova at Baselworld. Now with its much anticipated release, I finally got my hands on one to review.
Bremont really went above and beyond to ensure this was not just another Supermarine with just a few cosmetic changes. They swung for the fences right away with the titanium construction. This is not immediately visually perceptible, but instantly noticeable when the watch is donned. To put it in perspective, it’s about three-fourths the weight of the comparable S500 on a rubber strap. Whether you’re out biking, hunting, backcountry skiing, hiking, on a mission, or trekking across Antarctica, weight is a huge factor in success. Every bit counts. A common military phrase is, ‘ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain’.
As a frequent traveler, I always love a second time zone feature. Bremont found a way to make this one their own without making a blatant copy of other popular GMTs out there. The yellow GMT hand is sufficiently noticeable when you need it, and is tracked with the inner 24-hour bezel.
Although I may not use it too frequently, the bi-directional sapphire compass bezel is a feature you don’t see to often. It brings a definite cool factor, and indeed screams tool watch. And just in case you find yourself lost in the wilderness you can use the hour and 24-hr hand to find solar North and mark your course with the bezel. Like the other Supermarine watches, the Terra Nova features a domed crystal, houses a movement held with Bremont’s patented anti-shock mount, and is surrounded by a Faraday cage to provide magnetic field protection.
The Terra Nova’s size is just right. I’m very glad they modeled it after the S500 and not S2000. The 43mm case size and 22mm lug width complement each other quite well. At 16mm, the height would maybe seem tall, however the lugs curve down and over the wrist, allowing the watch to sit nice and low. This combined with the lightweight titanium case means this is a watch you can wear without being reminded you’re wearing a 43mm tool watch every time you swing your arm.
Overall, fit and finish is excellent and typical of Bremont. Everything is well thought out, from the size and shape of the lugs and integrated strap, to the crown, to the clarity and legibility of the dial and bezel, and even down to the engraved buckle. One thing I am impressed with is the beveling and polishing of the lugs. Yes, the other models in the Supermarine line are like this, however with the grade 5 titanium, the contrast is stunning. Titanium cases can often have a dull grey sheen and this one looks like high-grade polished steel.
Unfortunately, there have been reports of people sending their Terra Nova back for service claiming the red bezel triangle is slightly misaligned to the right of dead center. It’s apparently minuscule enough that many are just living with it, leaving the more perfection-oriented collectors freaking out about it. Hopefully it’s an isolated incident when it comes to quality control. It’s troublesome to get a watch of this quality and price, only to discover an issue like that. This type of thing is not unheard of, and has been known to happen with big name Swiss manufactures from time to time. On a positive note, the feedback from Bremont’s service has been nothing but outstanding.
I’m a big fan of color on watches as long as it’s done right. With the Terra Nova, it’s done right. It is a tool watch so it shouldn’t be bright and flashy as, say, a Tudor Heritage Chronograph Blue. Color should be reserved for increasing utility and functionality (if we’re being strict). With that in mind, the limited color accents the watch’s features perfectly, from the red “TERRA NOVA” script, second hand tip, and bezel triangle, to the yellow 24-hr hand. The contrasting colors create a great balance of legibility.
With a lot of GMTs, the 24-hr scale and 24-hr hand are hard to ignore and can often detract from telling the time at a quick glance. This process is seamless with the Terra Nova. When you’re just glancing to get a quick look at the time, that’s all you see thanks to the Supermarine line’s bright maxi-style dial and hands. The yellow 24-hr hand is the right combination of size and color to aid in identification of the second rime zone as well. However, it takes a little extra effort to view the 24-hr scale when due to the small numeral size and their proximity to the inner ring of the bezel requiring you to view it straight on. Bremont also eliminated the day window of the S500 and shows just the date. This really cleans up the dial, shows off the globe in the center, and improves legibility. It would have been nice if the Terra Nova came with unique hands to further separate itself from the S500 — sword hands, perhaps — but that’s a nitpick.
With a laundry list of features like a titanium case, dual time zone, 500m water resistance, helium escape valve, anti-shock and anti-magnetic capabilities, the Terra Nova is truly a tool watch. The size and wearability of the Terra Nova is perfect for what it is. Not too small, and not too big. For the price, and due to the fact that it is a limited edition, it would be nice for Bremont to have included an additional NATO strap. That would have certainly completed the tool watch ensemble, especially since the release pictures with Ben Saunders all feature the watch on a NATO. A leather strap or titanium bracelet would have also been an excellent addition. However, a matching titanium bracelet would likely demand a significant price increase. If you’re so inclined, you can order a bracelet from Bremont. The only other gripe I had was that the rubber strap is fairly long. I have a 6.75-inch wrist and a preference for a snug fit, and this strap has me on the last hole. At least I know it will fit over a wetsuit or light jacket.
In total, this is a fantastic watch and hopefully Bremont will make a production model sometime down the road. The Terra Nova is watch I would not hesitate to take skiing in the mountains, on a week-long backcountry hunting trip, or on a deployment. Bremont may have hit a speed bump in the past few months, but if they keep producing beautiful, functional, and high quality watches like the Terra Nova, they can surely become a British watchmaking powerhouse.by