By Jason Heaton
“Somehow I’ve got to talk Giles and Nick into letting me do an ejection so I can get the watch.” Jimmy Spithill, the superstar Aussie skipper of Oracle Team USA, is sitting across from me all tanned and muscled, clutching an omnipresent can of Red Bull. “After winning the Cup, I want to do an ejection,” Spithill says with as much conviction and seriousness as he does when discussing how to win his second America’s Cup for Larry Ellison’s no-holds barred team. Of course, the watch he’s talking about is Bremont’s MBI, the pilot’s watch available for purchase only by “ejectees”, those who have escaped a doomed aircraft using a Martin-Baker ejection seat.
Turns out, Spithill’s dream may not be far fetched. The guy’s an accomplished pilot, a skill he picked up in order to learn the nuances of how wings meet air, sailing in three dimensions. The fact that he’s willing to ditch a perfectly good aircraft in order to qualify for a wristwatch says as much about Spithill’s derring-do as it does his interest in watches. The guy truly loves a good timepiece and he’s quite happy that Bremont has signed on as an Oracle Team USA sponsor and by extension, the official timekeeper for the next America’s Cup.
To kick off the partnership, Bremont produced four new watches themed around the Cup and around Oracle Team USA. I was invited to Bermuda this past weekend not only to check out the watches but also get to know the team, the venue for the race, and take in some on-water drag racing in the Great Sound, where six international teams competed in some preliminary races as part of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.
Scoring a sponsorship of one of the America’s Cup teams was a coup for Bremont, but aligning itself with the Defender of the Cup guarantees their position as Official Timekeeper and ensures that their team will be there until the end. What makes it even more remarkable is that relatively small brand Bremont takes over the role from behemoth TAG Heuer, which was Oracle’s partner two years ago. “Larry [Ellison] really liked what we do,” Bremont co-founder Nick English told me, “He’s a pilot and and a sailor and has seen