Bremont’s Armed Forces Collection does more than pay homage to the British Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force; it’s brought new life to an aesthetic that’s directly reminiscent of a series of watches commissioned by the Ministry of Defence during World War II. These watches, commonly referred to as “the dirty dozen,” were made by a number of manufacturers to be issued to British troops, and each had to meet a strict set of criteria in order to secure the contract. In particular, these watches needed luminous markings on the dial, a regulation chronometer that was waterproof, and a tough and robust case to house its internals.
While those “dirty dozen” watches were made to be standard issue for British troops, however, Bremont’s Armed Forces Collection is aimed at a slightly more affluent crowd. At just over $3,400, this Broadsword may not be the first choice in duty watches for your average enlisted soldier, but for those who have an affinity for the British Army or military history in general, this watch offers an incredible combination of utilitarian style and fine craftsmanship you simply can’t find in even high-dollar duty watches.
While the Arrow (inspired by the Royal Air Force) and the Argonaut (inspired by the Royal Navy) were both solid contenders when I was approached to review these watches, it was the Broadsword’s simple aesthetic that caught my eye. Of the three watches in the Armed Forces Collection, the Broadsword seems to visually draw the most from the “Dirty Dozen” watches of yesteryear, and although the khaki green sailcloth strap wasn’t my favorite part of the watch at first, it quickly grew on me. The material is soft and comfortable against your skin and the service-green shade is surprisingly at home alongside both range gear and a tailored sport coat.
Unlike tactical duty watches that often offer little in the way of low-light visibility (intentionally to avoid giving away your position) the Broadsword offers spectacular brightness on the hands and face even in pitch black environments. Dimly glowing watches may keep you hidden from bad guys, but when I’m running through the parking area of the Atlanta Airport, I’d prefer to be able to see the hands quickly and easily.
Don’t let the illumination fool you, however; this watch may not be intended for field use, but it’s still plenty tough. With a two-piece steel case that stood up to all kinds of weird punishment over the weeks I worse this watch and a water resistance rating of 100 meters, this watch isn’t just for history buffs that spend their time reading about military history. This watch would make an excellent daily wear timepiece for those who can swing it, thanks to its combination of beauty and historically accurate toughness.
The Bremont Broadsword is automatic winding with a 38-hour power reserve and the easy-to-read face includes a date indicator at the 3-o-clock position as well as a sub-seconds display at its 6. It, like the Arrow and Argonaut, reads HMAC on the dial, which is an acronym for Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. As the only brand authorized to use the signs and heraldry of the Royal Navy, British Army, and the Royal Air Force, you won’t find another watch like those in Bremont’s Armed Forces Collection anywhere on the market.