Harnessing a piece of the past

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Rediscovered in a box in Orville Wright’s lab after his death in 1948, the muslin from the original 1903 Flyer has since acted as the Wright brothers’ posthumous calling card; Neil Armstrong, who said he drew inspiration from the brothers, carried a piece in his spacesuit when he took his first steps on the moon.

In July, 450 people were offered access to the same inspirational source when the British watch brand Bremont introduced its latest limited edition timepiece: The Wright Flyer. Each watch contains a fingernail-size piece of the oil-stained fabric, tucked behind the rotor plate and visible through the crystal case back. …

Since the brothers Nick and Giles English founded Bremont in 2002, they have created a brand identity in part by building their watches around historical relics — mostly British, often aviation-themed, sometimes both.. …

“As a pilot myself this is the holy grail of aviation — to have a bit of the first plane that ever flew,” said Giles English. “A watch, for most people it’s more than a bit of steel. Touching that fabric was really emotional. It blew Nick and I away.”

Read the article in the New York Times.