Sebastian Muller’s Brellum Combines Innovation And Historical Know-How With Incredible Effect
It is rare for a first collection to truly have the courage of its convictions. Ideas, defining aesthetics, techniques – these all take a while to bed in. It makes you marvel at Sebastian Muller’s first collection of beautifully executed chronographs for his own brand Brellum; how it looks like something devised by an old horological hand. Well, because in some ways, it is the truth.
Sebastian has actually been working in the Swiss watch industry for around 25 years, having spent most of his professional life sourcing components and developing models for some of the world’s biggest watch brands. His familial roots go even further back than that with the Muller family having been in watchmaking since 1885; all of which makes the assuredness of his first collection seem altogether more probable.
Despite this air of confidence, it took Sebastian 10 years to make his dream a reality and it was his wife, who is now Brellum’s technical designer, who gave him the final push that convinced him to stop giving his ideas and expertise to other people and to start using them to further his own ambitions.
Horological history doesn’t just run in Sebastian’s blood, it is tied up in his company too. Head of operations for Brellum is located in Porrentruy in the Jura, which is thought to be the cradle of Swiss watchmaking, while, the name Brellum is his family name backwards, with a B at the beginning as a reference to Bonfol, where he was born. Even the logo, a mythical beast called a wyvern which is said to have the body of a bird, a serpent’s head and dragon’s wings, is a figure from local folklore.
However, the watches are anything but historical artefacts. They are contemporary looking pieces that manage to give a touch of cocktail-hour class to the chronograph. It’s not just the way they look, with their uncluttered dials, beautifully polished cases and thoughtfully designed indices that set them apart but the added details that Sebastian brings to the construction and longevity of the watches that sets them apart.
First up there’s the unusual box structure of the sapphire crystal, which gives the first collection its name. Rather than just sit flush to the case, the sides of the crystal are vertical for a couple of millimetres before doming; not only is it a technique used in much more expensive brands, it also allows the wearer to fully appreciate the ETA Valjoux 7750 that powers the timepiece.
A movement that Sebastian took the move to have COSC certified. Without listing the numerous and extensive tests watches undergo at the Contrôle Officiel Suisse de Chronométrie at either Bienne, Le Locle or Saint-Imier in Switzerland, what it means is that that the movement in any Brellum watch is adjusted to an average daily rate criteria of -4/+6 seconds per 24 hours achieving 99.99% accuracy. It’s an impressive boast for any watch but absolutely incredible for one that affords you such a level of horological clout but without the accompanying price tag.
Brellum may have its roots in watchmaking’s illustrious history but, if this inaugural collection is anything to go by this is a thoroughly modern brand that’s got this industry’s future very much in its sights. And we can’t wait to see what Sebastian is going to do next.