Following the appointment of Davide Cerrato as CEO of Bremont, many anticipated the first big launch under his tenure. Making your stamp on a brand is a delicate art. Simultaneously, you’re appealing to a new audience while retaining the enthusiasm of your core customers. Targeting that balance is a recent addition to Bremont’s popular Supermarine S302 300m diving watch. Today, I am going hands-on with the 400-piece limited edition Supermarine Ocean in collaboration with female free diver Ocean Ramsey.
Bremont is a British watch manufacturer founded in 2002 and based in Henley-on-Thames. The first watch launch was the ALT1-C pilot’s chronograph in 2007. Most of its watches orientate to the spirit of adventure, specifically aviation. The Supermarine range is a diving-centric collection with various sizes and depth-rating capabilities. Despite the oceanic intention, the 1930s British aircraft company Supermarine inspired the name. The original S302 stems from 2021 with a 40mm steel case with bronze accents and an additional GMT complication.
It’s important to note that this year’s Bremont S302s in three colourways expand the existing offerings rather than replace them. The standard S302 with dive-scale bezel will co-exist with the fresh 24-hour ceramic bezel variants. That’s good news for some, as the GMT version of the smaller 40mm Supermarine from 2021 continues to be a hit amongst Bremont buyers.
A significant change to the new S302 GMT is swapping the 60-minute and 24-hour scales. In the 2021 release, the 24-hour numerals were fixed to the rehaut under the sapphire crystal. For 2023, the GMT hand indicates against a unidirectionally rotating bezel with even-hours numerals and dashes for odd.
The 60-minute track now occupies the vacated 24-hour scale on the rehaut. But without the ability to rotate, the dive scale no longer provides adjustable timing for ascension and descension decompression stops. While that sounds like a bit of a downer, and Bremont enthusiasts point this out, it does come with a mighty benefit. It’s true; the S302 additions remove some focus from diving into everyday GMT functionality. Some divers will bemoan this, but the original S302 isn’t going anywhere. Instead, this new variant emphasizes daily wearing capabilities, with the wearer setting the time zone from the bezel.
Aesthetically, the 24-hour scale is far more balanced against the ceramic bezel. The even spread of numerals creates a joyful symmetry for the casual wearer. Another harmonious update is the use of colour. The previous S302 has a black dial with beige “P-51” luminescent indices, red accents, and an orange GMT hand. That’s not even considering the steel case with a bronze ring on the crown. It’s quite an assortment of colours that still works but is scaled back on the newer S302. Specifically, I refer to the Supermarine Ocean with a “thresher” grey dial and bezel, orange GMT arrow tip, and creamy Super-LumiNova throughout.
With matching orange for the “60”, “Supermarine”, and “London” on the dial, there is a reduced palette and functional distribution of tones. Similarly, the bronze ring on the crown is no more. Asking Davide Cerrato, he clarifies that the dial should be the focus. No matter how minimal, extraneous elements can draw the eye away from the main display.
While the bezel offers more balance and ability for a GMT watch, the S302 uses a ratcheting 120-click unidirectional rotation. Typically, GMT watches offer bidirectional turning to line up the correct time zone more quickly. Unidirectional, while aurally satisfying, requires a complete cycle to reset to 24.
This single-direction limitation could be a deal-breaker for some, and I admit it was a bold choice. I held the 2021 and 2023 S302 watches together, and the bezel ratcheting is updated on the new model. It isn’t the case that Bremont slapped on a 24-hour scale and called it a day.
The bezel actuation is much smoother on the new model compared to the stiff feeling of the old model. And these were both brand-new, unsold pieces without years of wear to seize up the mechanism. Therefore, it is the perfect testbed to assess the bezel action. Again, I turned to Cerrato for an understanding, who stated the tactile feel of the unidirectional bezel took priority over the more usable bidirectional for the 24-hour scale.
Wearing the Supermarine Ocean is as comfortable as the previous 40mm Bremont options. However, what I prefer is the integrated and tapering rubber strap. It’s the same groove design seen on the 43mm Descent II edition, but now fitting the 20mm lug width. With the slimmer strap profile, the rubber material breaks in and moulds far quicker than the thicker vintage leather Sahara strap from Bremont.
The Modified calibre 11 1/2’’’ BE-93-2AV powers the piece with an uprated 50-hour power reserve — 12 hours more than the 2021 release. While you cannot observe the movement through the solid steel case back, there is an embossed seaplane medallion to enjoy.
The Supermarine Ocean’s Trip-Tick case construction provides anti-shock protection. Alongside this, the screw-down crown helps the watch achieve 300m (30 bar) water resistance. This depth rating is handy for free diving as a collaborative 400-piece LE for Hawaiian native Ocean Ramsey.
Decompression stops are not a thing for free diving, so a 24-hour bezel perfectly suits the watch. The domed AR-coated sapphire also follows the lines of the bezel. Without the protrusion of the glass, the Ocean feels compact on the wrist with a 13mm case height.
Overall, the new S302 watches from Bremont are a worthy addition to the Supermarine catalogue. For me, the standout is the Supermarine Ocean, limited to 400 pieces worldwide. I prefer the muted grey tones mixed with the orange accents to offer a nice colour combo. The pairing of the integrated rubber strap with a stainless steel pin buckle provides the best comfort and practicality. While the bracelet option is there, the thin profile rubber strap is the way to go for me.
Price and Specs:
More details at Bremont.