Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, was an ardent supporter of Bletchley Park and had absolute belief in the intelligence generated by the Codebreakers referring to them as, “the geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled”.
When the top Codebreakers wrote to him, in 1941, starved of resources to do their essential work, Churchill ordered, ‘Action this day! Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this had been done’.
The arrival of ‘Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party’ at a mansion house in the Buckinghamshire countryside in late August 1938 was to set the scene for one of the most remarkable stories of World War Two. They had an air of friends enjoying a relaxed weekend together at a country house. They even brought with them one of the best chefs at the Savoy Hotel to cook their food. But the small group of people who turned up at Bletchley Park were far from relaxed. They were members of MI6, and the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), a secret team of individuals including a number of scholars turned Codebreakers. Their job; to see whether Bletchley Park would work as a wartime location, well away from London, for intelligence activity by GC&CS as well as elements of MI6.
The GC&CS mission was to crack the Nazi codes and ciphers. The most famous of the cipher systems to be broken at Bletchley Park was the Enigma. There were also a large number of lower-level German systems to break as well as those of Hitler’s allies. At the start of the war in September 1939 the codebreakers returned to Bletchey Park to begin their war-winning work in earnest.
Inspired by a classic 40’s officers watch, the ‘Codebreaker’ will be made with a unique Flyback Chronograph GMT automatic movement and will incorporate some relevant historical artefacts from Bletchley Park.
Bremont Watch Company is working with the Bletchley Park Trust to create the ‘Codebreaker’; a historically and mechanically important Limited Edition watch.
Bremont will make 240 stainless steel and 50 rose gold versions of the Codebreaker and each will feature original Bletchley Park artefacts used in the effort to win the Second World War.
A percentage of the proceeds will be used towards the ongoing restoration of Bletchley Park.
By inventing and using ingenious machines and novel manual techniques to crack German ciphers, the 9,000 scientists, mathematicians and other crucial supporting staff of Bletchley Park are said to have helped shorten the war by at least two years and saved millions of lives.
Bletchley Park elements in the watch
The first operational break into Enigma came around January 23rd 1940, when the team working under Dilly Knox, with the mathematicians John Jeffreys, Peter Twinn and Alan Turing, unravelled the German Army administrative key that became known at Bletchley Park as ‘The Green’. Encouraged by this success, the Codebreakers managed to crack the ‘Red’ key used by the Luftwaffe liaison officers co-ordinating air support for army units.
Gordon Welchman, soon to become head of the Army and Air Force section, devised a system whereby his Codebreakers were supported by other staff based in a neighbouring hut, who turned the deciphered messages into intelligence reports.
The rotor of the Bremont Codebreaker will contain original material from the Enigma machine rotor
The Bombe machine
The Bombe machine was developed to speed up the breaking of Enigma, so that messages were still operationally relevant. The Bombe helped to deduce the day’s Enigma settings, of both the rotors and the plug board, by eliminating the many incorrect possibilities. The Codebreakers created a menu for the wiring at the back of the Bombe based on a hypothesis, known as a ‘crib’, of part of the original message. Cribs were often derived from regular appearances in decyphered messages of stock phrases, such as ‘message number’ or ‘nothing significant to report’. The machine was developed by Alan Turing.
The case back of the Bremont Codebreaker has been designed to replicate the drum of the Bombe machine.
When GCHQ left Bletchley for Eastcote in 1946 the British Tabulating Machine Company (BTM) cards were boxed up and were later moved to Cheltenham when GCHQ moved again in 1952. The cards were discovered when GCHQ was preparing to release records to The National Archives, GCHQ allowed them to go to the Bletchley Park Trust along with other records.
With over 2 million created every week there is only half a box remaining, 5 cards are being incorporated into the barrel of the Codebreaker watch to display the watches serial number.
Hut 6 was built in January 1940 for the decryption of Enigma messages from the German Army and Air Force, with help from the punch cards and then the Bombe machines. The cards were used to help deduce the Enigma keys and wheel orders. Once the day’s Enigma settings had been partially established with help from the Bombe, the information was sent back to Hut 6 where it was used to complete the discovery of the Enigma settings. Decrypted messages were then passed to Hut 3 for translation and analysis.
Original pieces of Hut 6 pine will be incorporated into the crown of the Bremont Codebreaker.
MADE IN ENGLAND Stainless Steel and Rose Gold.
Movement: BE-83AR Flyback chronograph. Diameter 13 1/4″,
height 7.90mm, 39 Jewels, three-legged Glucydur balance with
Nivarox 1 mainspring 28,800 bph. Incabloc shock protection
and 46 hour power reserve. Perlage and blued screwed
decoration with hand crafted stainless steel and Bombe rotor.
Functions: Sweep hours, minutes, sweep Flyback chronograph
seconds, 30-minute chronograph counter and 60 second hand
counter, GMT second time zone, date.
Case: hardened stainless steel or 18 carat rose gold
Bremont Trip Tick case construction with treated inner
barrel with punch card limited edition number (material
from Bletchley Park). Case diameter 43mm, lug width 22mm
and case thickness 15mm.
Crown Crown engraved with pinewood from hut 6, Bletchley
Case Back: hardened stainless steel or 18 carat rose gold
case back with integrated hand etched sapphire crystal.
Automatic rotor inspired by the Bombe machine incorporating
parts of an original German Enigma rotor.
Dial: Etched metal dial and treated brass hands, London on
Crystal: Domed anti-refl ective, scratch resistant sapphire
Water resistance: Water resistant to 10ATM, 100 metres.
Strap: Classic style leather strap.
Bletchley Park introduction by courtesy of www.bletchleypark.org.uk