We’re all familiar with the quintessential look of fighter pilots: you’ve got the boots (predominantly Rocky and Bellville); the standard CWU-27/P flightsuit (sleeves pushed or rolled up); the patches and morale tab (for the Air Force) indicating membership to a particular clan of aerial death-dealers; an eye-catching nametag featuring a set of wings and the badass callsign unique to that aviator; cool-guy shades (Ray-ban, Tifosi, Oakley–only the best will do, thank you); perfectly coiffed, bullet-proof hair to make any Ken Doll jealous; and a disproportionately humongous, ginormous, visible-to-the-naked-eye-at-two-miles wristwatch.
While we will discuss the cultural aspects of fighter pilots and their love affair with expensive, multi-functional chronometers at a later date, today we want to talk about a specific timepiece born out of a partnership between Bremont and FighterSweep.
For those of you who don’t know, Bremont is an award-winning British company which produces luxury chronometers, an entity with aviation in its lifeblood. Founded in 2002 by brothers Nick and Giles English, both of whom are life-long aviation aficionados and pilots, the company came into being simply to produce beautifully crafted pilots watches of exceptional quality.
Inspired by the brothers’ love of flying vintage aircraft and warbirds, Bremont is also a very proud sponsor of The Horsemen, the world’s only three-ship warbird demonstration team. They have also partnered on several aviation giants such as The Boeing Company and Martin-Baker–which you may know builds ejection seats for high-performance fighter aircraft.
So there I was, having a conversation with one of my trusted inner circle–the same ridiculously-talented pilot and photographer who came up with the idea for Slapshot, and we were exploring ideas related to brand strategy and ways to build relationships with notable entities in the flying world. We’d seen the Bremont name associated with our friends on the airshow circuit and I mentioned the idea under the premise of, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get something going with Bremont?!”
Lo and behold, later that afternoon, an email showed up from the Military and Special Projects division of Bremont, inquiring about that very possibility. Funny how things work out, isn’t it?
So after an introductory phone call where we exchanged handshakes and secret decoder rings, retired Air Force Colonel Richard “Nemo” Sweeten and I started talking about some of the projects we have in the hopper. The one that piqued his interest most is our involvement with the Society of Wild Weasels and their 50th Anniversary Celebration this year.
For a retired Eagle Driver, he is very appreciative of the SEAD community and all of the capability it brings to modern air combat. So after a conversation about the upcoming WWTC, Slapshot, and the big reunion in October, we came up with the idea to develop a timepiece to pay appropriate tribute to the less than three thousand men and women who have been Combat Mission Ready (CMR) in a Wild Weasel squadron.
In order to maintain the integrity of the project, there needed to be 100% buy-in from the Weasel community. To check that container, we at FighterSweep selected a group of current and former Weasels to put their craniums together and come up with design elements they’d like to see, then whittle it down until the key features were agreed upon. Once those details were ironed out, we turned over the design element suggestions to the Military and Special Projects division at Bremont.
The end result is a rugged mechanical watch that pays tribute to each of the four historic SEAD platforms. The watch is based on the popular Martin-Baker (MB) III and provides time, date, a sweep “ejection handle” second-hand, as well as GMT function. Bespoke design elements include a front profile of the desired SEAD aircraft, image of “Willie the Weasel” with “YGBSM”, and “50” incorporated into the “5” position on the watch face.
The back of each version shares a special rotor that showcases all of the historic Wild Weasel platforms: the F-100F Super Sabre, F-105G Thunderchief, F-4G Phantom II, and the Block 50 F-16CJ.
The next step was the exclusivity. Translation: the Bremont Wild Weasel 50th Anniversary Watch is available only to current and former Wild Weasel pilots and EWOs, or to the spouses or direct descendents thereof. If you don’t have a Weasel number, or aren’t married to or related to someone who has one, you cannot purchase this watch…period. The Society of Wild Weasels has the roster and each purchase will be vetted accordingly.
That’s how Bremont maintains its integrity for military projects and ensures the unmatched craftsmanship: a limited number of chronometers for verifiable, community-specific purchases. The Wild Weasel 50th Anniversary Watch project has taken several months from concept to execution, and this is the first time the design has been seen publicly! Better yet, Bremont is now ready to take orders for purchase!
The goal is for Wild Weasel veterans to wear it with pride as a tribute to the mission and to celebrate 50 years of their rich, storied heritage.