If you’ve ever wanted to buy the first powered airplane to take flight, sorry, but you’re out of luck. The Wright Flyer that was built by Orville and Wilbur Wright and first flew in 1903 isn't for sale, but if you have US$30,000 going spare, you can buy a bit of it and get a wristwatch in the bargain. Unveiled on July 23 at the Science Museum in London, where the Flyer was on display until after World War II, the Limited Edition Bremont Wright Flyer watch celebrates that historic first flight with each “ultimate aviation-inspired” timepiece containing a swatch of original wing fabric from the 1903 Flyer.
If you visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Wright Flyer on display is only “mostly” there. The spruce frame and rigging are original, but the fabric that makes up the wings is new. The original muslin fabric used in 1903 is much too susceptible to decay to go on public display, so it remains in storage with the Wright family.
It’s from trimming this that the Bremont Watch Flyer gets it swatches. Following in the footsteps Bremont’s Codebreaker watch that contained parts of an Enigma cipher machine, the small piece of fabric is housed in a window on the reverse side of the Wright Flyer watch along with a decorative rotor plate featuring an airplane prop inscribed with the initials of the Wright brothers.
The Bremont Wright Flyer uses the 33.4 mm, 25-jewel Bremont BWC/01, which is Bremont’s first movement to be designed and developed in-house in the UK at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. It has a Glucydur balance, Nivarox CT balance spring, a Nivaflex 1 mainspring, and a 50+ hour power reserve. This is sealed in a 43 mm polished stainless steel case available in a choice of steel, rose gold, or white gold finish.
In addition, the modestly styled face and back have domed, scratch resistant, anti-reflective sapphire crystals. The whole thing is water resistant to 10 ATM (100 m), and each is marked with a specific limited edition serial number. There’s also an alligator leather strap.
“[Co-founder Giles English] and I still cannot believe that it’s happened,” says Nick English, Co-Founder of Bremont. “Holding the original and invaluable muslin used to cover the 1903 Wright Flyer is incredibly emotive. The Wright family has been wonderful to work with and it was inspiring to see their passion for the project. Does the creation of a special aviation-inspired watch really get any better than this? Probably not. The combination of this amazing material and our new BWC/01 movement has resulted in a truly mind-blowing timepiece.”
The Bremont Wright Flyer comes in a range of prices with the steel-cased version at US$25,950, US$39,995 for the rose gold, and US$44,995 for the yellow gold. Part of the price will go toward converting the Wright family home into a museum.
The video below introduces the Bremont Wright Flyer.