BREMONT INTRODUCES THE LIMITED EDITION DAMBUSTER, COMMEMORATING THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LANCASTER BOMBER AND THE HISTORIC DAMBUSTERS RAID
On 17th May 1943, 133 brave aircrew in 19 Lancaster Bombers performed one of most dangerous bombing raids of the Second World War, destroying the Möhne and Eder dams and damaging the Sorpe dam in the Ruhr Valley of Germany. The dams secured vital water supplies to German war production facilities, and they were fiercely protected, however, the skill of the aircrew, the development of the ‘bouncing bomb’ and the capabilities of the four-engine Avro Lancaster ensured a successful mission and an incredible morale boost to Great Britain. Known as ‘Operation Chastise’, the raid is one of the most famous air operations of the Second World War and was immortalised in the 1955 film ‘The Dambusters’, ensuring the legacy of the brave airman and the Lancaster Bomber were never forgotten. As part of its partnership with Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD), Bremont has chosen to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Lancaster Bomber first seeing service in 1942, and the subsequent Dambusters Raid in 1943, paying tribute to this iconic Second World War aircraft and courageous mission with the release of a new Limited Edition. The Bremont Dambuster timepiece takes design cues from many of the military watches of the 1940s and the 42mm chrono features a mono pusher movement and date function, ‘aviator’ style hands across the dial and sub-dials and a red centre second chrono hand for readability. The military aesthetic is enhanced by Bremont’s iconic ‘51’ vintage lume, set against a ‘Dirty Dozen’ inspired black military dial.
Turning the watch over reveals a closed case back with an elegant engraving of the Avro Lancaster and the heraldic badge of the 617 Squadron, formed in 1943 at RAF Scampton, specifically for the Dambusters Raid using the Barnes Wallis-designed ‘bouncing bomb’ – codenamed ‘Upkeep’. Rather poignantly the case back also features each of the call signs of the 8 Lancaster Bombers that never returned, namely: ‘Sugar’, ‘Charlie’, ‘Apple’, ‘Zebra’, ‘Baker’, ‘King’, ‘Easy’ and ‘Mother’. On closer inspection the beams of the Lancaster’s low level Aldis lights can be seen shining below the aircraft, which when reflected off the smooth water of the dam’s reservoirs under cover of darkness at 60ft, converged into a figure of 8 indicating that the Lancaster was flying at the correct height to deploy the bouncing bomb.
The 232 piece limited edition nods to the speed at which the Lancaster had to fly (232mph), at precisely 60ft in order to successfully bounce the bomb with it spinning at exactly 500rpm when dropped. Only then would the bomb be able to bounce nimbly across the water, avoid the torpedo nets, and then sink at the right spot to detonate at the base of the dam. The 617 Squadron of The Royal Air Force, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson underwent intensive training in low level night flying and navigation. Originally based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire all training was conducted under great secrecy, developing the unique tactics required to deploy Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bomb, from training on swimming pools to flying above the dams of the Upper Derwent Valley in Derbyshire. In a twist of fate, the 617 Squadron now operates from RAF Marham in Norfolk flying the F35B Lightning for which Bremont has also made watches. Following the successful Dambusters Raid, the 617 Squadron continued in a specialised and precision-bombing role.
Bremont Co-Founder Nick English comments, “Undoubtedly wartime has prompted some of the greatest moments of ingenuity and innovation in history and the story of the Dambusters Raid exemplifies this beautifully. Equally the agility, skill and precision demonstrated by the 617 Squadron in the successful deployment of the bouncing bombs continues to amaze me. As we approach the 80th anniversary of the raid we wanted to pay tribute to both Barnes Wallis and the brave men who fought for crown and country, 53 of whom lost their lives. We are proud to be donating one of these Limited Edition timepieces for auction to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, an incredible charity that has been supporting members of the RAF Family for more than 100 years.”
Uniquely, each Bremont Dambuster timepiece will be offered with an elegant set of silver Avro Lancaster Cufflinks incorporating aluminium from the original airframe of Lancaster B.VII NX611 ‘Just Jane’. Removed during recent restoration of Just Jane’s rudder assembly, the aircraft has been held in an environmentally controlled storage facility waiting for a project worthy of this aviation icon. The recovered aluminium has been hand stripped to remove the original protective coating of primer, melted down and recast with pure silver. The resulting alloy retains all the precious properties of sterling silver with the soul of The Lancaster captured at its heart. The Lancaster cufflink design has been painstakingly crafted, individually cast and then hand finished in the UK. The Limited Edition Dambuster forms part of Bremont’s Armed Forces Collection, paying tribute to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Through Bremont’s partnership with the MoD, the British watchmaker became the sole luxury watch producer legitimately allowed to use the signs, symbols, and Heraldic Badges of all three services; the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force for which Bremont is immensely proud.
In the 1940s very strict performance specifications for the original Dirty Dozen were set which included waterproofing, regulation to chronometer specification, luminous markings on the dial and a robust case construction. The Dambuster, inspired in part by the Armed Forces ‘Arrow’ honouring the RAF has not only been designed and engineered to meet these criteria but also to reflect the needs of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces today. Complementing the classic Bremont satin and polished two-piece hardened stainless steel case is a black sailcloth strap continuing the vintage aesthetic. A steel bracelet option is also available for a more contemporary style. Bremont’s well-respected British heritage and its reputation within the military, specifically with the British military, made the firm the natural partner of choice for the MoD. Bremont has created numerous special-order projects at the request of personnel from all branches of the British armed forces and is widely recognised throughout for its discretion, its patriotism, and its reputation for supplying products that are fit for purpose.
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