Bremont’s latest watch definitely lives up to the brand’s Tested Beyond Endurance strapline, having accompanied polar explorer Ben Saunders on an expedition that tested him to his limits.
by James Buttery
The watch that Saunders wore on his wrist late last year was the new Bremont S500 Endurance launched today at Bremont’s London townhouse annual event. The 43mm titanium GMT with open caseback and 42-hour power reserve in a satin-finished case and comes mounted on a burnt orange fabric strap, coped admirably with what Saunders himself described as the worst conditions he had ever witnessed.
Saunders was forced to abandon his unassisted and unsupported solo attempt to traverse Antarctica from Berkner Island to Ross Ice Shelf last year despite making it to the South Pole after 52 days on foot. He calculated that he would run out of food four days short of his destination and, under the terms of the attempt, wasn’t permitted to resupply.
Saunders’ gut-wrenching decision to abandon the expedition followed a promise to his friend and fellow explorer Lt Col Henry Worsley, who died attempting the same feat the previous year, that he wouldn’t risk his life own in the attempt. However, Saunders remains the only British person to have completed solo expeditions to both the North and South Poles without support or assistance.
The S500 Endurance is limited to 300 pieces, priced at £4,795, and is the spiritual successor to Bremont’s Terra Nova, the titanium GMT launched in 2014, which was also tested to real-world extremes – and temperatures as low as -46c – by Saunders when he completed the longest human-powered polar journey in history of 1,800 miles.
Navigation with a watch
The fact that the Endurance, named after the ship that sailed Shackleton to the Antarctic in 1914, features an ‘N’ on the GMT hand and a compass rose sapphire crystal bezel is a reminder that an analogue watch can be used as a navigational aid, with a different technique depending on which hemisphere you happen to find yourself in. Both techniques depend on the watch running and being set to the correct time and the sun’s position being visible. If the watch is set to Daylight Saving Time, reference the 1 o’clock position rather than 12 o’clock where mentioned.
Take the watch off and place it in the palm of your hand, dial facing up. Orientate yourself or the watch until the hour hand is pointing in the direction of the sun. Then bisect the angle between the 12 o’clock position and the hour hand to get a heading south. Before noon, you’ll need to judge the angle clockwise from the hour hand to 12 o’clock. After noon, you’ll need to measure anti-clockwise between the hour hand back to the 12 o’clock.
With the watch in your hand this time point the 12 o’clock position in the direction of the sun and bisect the angle to the hour hand to find north.