Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Watch with touch of venom

Watch with touch of venom

A WATCH made by Henley manufacturer Bremont has a starring role in Tom Hardy’s latest film.

The actor chose to wear the firm’s U2/51-JET model while filming Venom, an adaptation of the Marvel Comics series of the same name which was released in cinemas on Friday.

He plays Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist who gains super-human abilities after being infected by an extra-terrestrial parasite but becomes more aggressive and unpredictable as a result.

Hardy first purchased a Bremont watch about three years ago and now owns several.

He has since met brothers Nick and Giles English, who founded the company in 2002.

He bought the U2/51-JET shortly before shooting began in Atlanta and New York a year ago.

He told the producers he wanted to wear it because it fitted his character, who dresses in black and later mutates into a black-skinned monster.

The model, which went on general release in March, is based on a limited edition watch which Bremont produced for the Royal Air Force’s 100 Squadron and is inspired by the unit’s Hawk T1 stealth aircraft. It is finished in black metal with a black strap and has a black rear panel through which the mechanism can be seen.

Nick English said he was unaware that the watch would feature in Venom until the actor told him after filming had ended.

He said: “Tom’s a great friend of the brand and had been wearing the watch anyway so it became a part of the film more or less by default.

“He has been a supporter and advocate for a number of years. About a quarter of our work is with the military around the world and I think he came to learn about us from that.

“We met through some friends a couple of years ago and he was already familiar with us. He also loves British motorbikes and is keen to support British brands, which is really wonderful.

“I think he told the wardrobe department that he wanted to wear the watch and they agreed as it’s dark and stealthy, which fits the role he’s playing.

“He’d got it shortly beforehand so it was perfect timing and it was very kind and sweet of him to think of us. Product placement is all very nice but the best thing is that it happened completely naturally, not because we approached anybody. It takes years and years of work to reach the point where something like that happens but it’s lovely seeing a British watch on a great British actor.

“We’re immensely proud and excited that a British brand is playing a nice, dominant role in a major Hollywood production.”

The English brothers will attend a screening of the film in London this week along with staff and supporters of the company, which is based at the award-winning Sawmills office and workshop building off Marlow Road.

Mr English said: “We’re looking forward to it and I have no doubt the film will be a massive hit.”

Following the watch’s appearance, the company’s private aircraft has been repainted in the style of the Venom character by Adi Granov, an artist and aircraft enthusiast who draws for Marvel.

The respray was organised by Sony Pictures, which produced the film, following a conversation with the brothers.

The plane, a Fifties Max Holste Broussard, was flown from its usual base at White Waltham airfield to the Imperial War Museum’s aviation site at Duxford, where the nose cone was painted with the Venom character’s “teeth”. This was inspired by the shark’s teeth designs that were painted on American fighters and bombers during the Second World War.

The plane, which is used to entertain clients and transport watches and components, will keep the new design for the foreseeable future.

Mr English said: “It all tied together brilliantly and we thought we’d go for it as it was a great suggestion. Life is short and it was a chance to have a bit of fun.

“When we saw Adi’s work we were very keen for him to do the plane and the finished product looks amazing. The whole thing has been a real privilege to be a part of.”

Bremont last hit the silver screen in 2015, when the company created a custom piece for spy caper Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Mr English had a cameo role as a Kingsman agent alongside stars Michael Caine, Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson.

Last year, the company was granted planning permission for a new 34,000 sq ft headquarters at Sheephouse Farm, off Reading Road, Henley. It hopes to relocate next year and eventually employ up to 250 people.

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