A time piece of history
British Airways is proud to partner with luxury British watchmakers Bremont on the launch of a new limited-edition timepiece that features metal from one of the most famous and iconic planes in history – Concorde.
Ahead of the airline’s centenary celebrations next year, the special edition watch was unveiled at an event in London this evening, exactly 15 years after Concorde’s official farewell was held at Heathrow on October 24, 2003.
‘The Supersonic’ contains aluminium from the G-BOAB Concorde, known as Alpha Bravo, that was donated by British Airways to Bremont to incorporate into these exclusive timepieces. The watch features an eight-day power reserve and has a sunburst white dial that represents Concorde’s specially developed highly reflective paint. The blue hands echo British Airways’ livery and a subtle motif of the plane’s iconic silhouette can be seen on the second-hand sub dial. The metal has been incorporated into the case back that features a description of the aircraft’s main attributes: number and registration, years of active service, number of supersonic flights as well as her top speed. The watch will be limited to 300 steel, 100 white gold and 100 rose gold pieces, with prices starting from £9,495.
Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “Concorde was such a magnificent piece of engineering and will always be an important part of our heritage. We are hugely excited to have partnered with Bremont, another British brand with a history of exceptional design, as we celebrate Concorde’s 50th year and look ahead to our centenary in 2019.”
Alpha Bravo was registered in 1974 and was the third Concorde to be added to the fleet, taking to the skies for the first time in May 1976. In September 1984, she set a distance record for an airliner with a 4,565-mile flight from Washington to Nice and in November of that year, flew the inaugural charter service from London to Seattle via New York. She was even famed for flying the England squad home from France from the 1998 World Cup. More than 2.5 million customers experienced flying eleven miles high at twice the speed of sound, with Concorde halving the time of transatlantic crossing and flying faster than a rifle bullet.
Giles English, Bremont’s Co-founder, said: “Concorde was more than just metal. She inspired pride and emotion – that is truly a rare thing. We are delighted to dedicate the Bremont Supersonic chronometer to this remarkable type and will incorporate aluminium from Concorde Alpha Bravo into the watch. The Bremont Supersonic is our unique tribute to the world’s only successful supersonic airliner; it’s an honour to work with a prestigious company such as British Airways and for them to trust us with their Concorde heritage.”
Nick English, Bremont’s Co-founder, said: “Concorde made the dream of supersonic travel a reality. She was a landmark in aircraft design and her incredible achievements make her a classic example of British engineering at its finest.”
Parts of the proceeds from these unique limited-edition timepieces will be donated to the Air League Trust, an organisation that works to teach under privileged children to learn how to fly. This exceptional cause is part of a wider network of charities supported by British Airways, known as Flying Start.
Concorde’s delta wing with its sweptback curve was adapted from military designs. To reduce drag and increase strength, a technique called sculpture milling was used to mould the wing from one solid piece of aluminium. This resulted in a wing free of welds and rivet joins. Over 5,000 hours of testing ensured Concorde’s wing could generate lift at critical low speeds as well as the supersonic speeds she reached at altitude.
Concorde’s wing was free of complicated flaps, slats or tabs. Another distinguishing feature was her 24-foot long needle-shaped nose. To allow pilots to see the runway, her aerodynamic nose cone was designed to ‘droop’ down by 12 degrees. During flight it was raised, and a reinforced tinted visor slid up to protect the cockpit windows at supersonic speeds.
Supersonic flight subjected Concorde to extreme thermodynamic pressures that caused the airframe to heat up and stretch. The aircraft’s nose was the hottest point, reaching 127 degrees Celsius. These extreme temperatures caused the airframe to stretch up to 11 inches, a factor taken into account when developing Concorde’s special highly reflective paint and laying the cabin’s carpets.
Bremont is an award-winning British luxury watch brand, manufacturing mechanical watches in Henley-on-Thames, England. Bremont is making considerable investment with its UK watch making and manufacturing and at the end of 2014 launched a new Parts Manufacturing Facility which saw the firm starting to produce its own case and movement components. Co-founded by brothers Nick & Giles English in 2002, Bremont has made a substantial impact on the watch industry in a very short period of time. The brand remains true to its original principles of: aviation and military, British engineering and adventure. As well as manufacturing watches for some of the most exclusive military squadrons around the world, Bremont continues to play an influential role in revitalising the British watch industry, the birthplace of numerous timekeeping innovations still used today. The brand is now in the top handful of chronometer producers in the world. https://www.bremont.com
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