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Bremont releases all-new ionBird timepiece to mark collaboration with Rolls-Royce

Bremont releases all-new ionBird timepiece to mark collaboration with Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce will attempt to break the all-electric speed record next year with a new aircraft currently under development

Bremont ionbird Rolls-Royce

Step into any major airport in the world, and you’re guaranteed to see a Rolls-Royce engine strapped onto to a commercial passenger jet.

While the average takeoff speed of a passenger jet is around 180mph, Rolls-Royce is in the midst of developing an all-electric plane that aims to break a world record and power through the 300mph mark next year.

Called the Spirit of Innovation, the plane will attempt to  comfortably surpass the 213mph current world record for an all-electric plane.

The plane is being developed under a project called ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) and is partly being funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

But another thoroughly British entity, watchmaker Bremont, has been appointed as the official timing partner for the project.

The Henley-on-Thames headquartered company isn’t just merely standing by on the fringes as spectators during the build process – it is actively involved in the design of the aircraft as well.

Bremont ionbird Rolls-Royce
The ionBird features an automatic BE-93-2AV chronometer GMT movement with a 42 hour power reserve

Bremont is involved in designing the plane’s cockpit and will fit the cockpit with one of its stopwatches. It has also machined parts of the canopy release mechanism within its manufacturing facility.

Bremont has had extensive experience working with aviation companies previously too. Its Martin-Baker collection – designed in collaboration with the British company that supplies ejection seat technology to 70 per cent of the fighter jets globally – is designed to survive the shock of being violently ejected from those aircraft.

Back to the Rolls-Royce project, Bremont has also designed a new chronometer GMT, the ionBird, to commemorate the collaboration.

The 43mm ionBird uses a case made from aircraft-grade lightweight titanium and holds inside of it an automatic BE-93-2AV chronometer GMT movement with a 42 hour power reserve.

The dial features two time zones, read off vintage style numerals and with the help of bronze hands. Although it is offered with a nubuck strap for now, Bremont says that it will subsequently offer it with a Bluetooth-enabled ‘Alerting Strap’ that will connect to a new mobile app being developed as part of the project and which will allow pilots access to data on the app including checklists and timing information.

The test pilots of the Spirit of Innovation will be wearing the ionBird during their attempt to break the world record, and there’s a personal connection between one of them and the co-founders of Bremont. “As pilots ourselves, we (my brother Giles and I) have known Phill, the Rolls-Royce test pilot, for many years and Rolls-Royce owns the Spitfire that our father operated when he was alive,” said Nick English, co-founder of Bremont.

Earlier this year, Bremont unveiled the ALT1-C Griffon chronograph which paid tribute to that Spitfire with Griffon engines.

Read: British watchmaker Bremont’s new timepiece is inspired by vintage military aircraft

Meanwhile Rolls-Royce project lead, Matheu Parr added: “Creating the fastest all-electric aircraft is an enormously tough and exciting journey. We have overcome many challenges including developing a 400kW electric powertrain powerful enough to set world records and a battery with enough energy to supply 250 homes whilst remaining light enough to fly. Throughout aviation, the ground test rigs used for development and testing have been known as ‘Iron Birds’. It seemed very fitting to call the test rig for a new generation of sustainable aircraft an ‘ionBird.”

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