Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes: The Sea Rescuer’s Watch with Price and Specs

Cockpit square case has been replaced by a sporty sea rescue cues in the new Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes three hand and chronograph edition. Price included

Jul 06, 2017 | By Jonathan Ho

As a point of history, many watch brands do have strong ties with producing military watches. These tend to a consequence of long heritage and the ensuing military conflicts which erupted around the territories where they are based. But then, France-based Bell & Ross, founded in 1992, is relatively new to the scene of watchmaking; and as a point of reference, French watchmakers, notably Breguet, tend to be either immensely elegant and classically traditional or the colourfully avant garde like those of Alain Silberstein. When Bell & Ross broke unto the scene, the iconic square case watch with circular clock-like dial seemed a harsh contrast against that rose-tinted view of what the world considered to be stereotypical French watchmaking. Bell & Ross broke a stereotype and more importantly, they produced watches which oozed military machismo unlike most of the other watches out there.

Taking inspiration from aircraft instrument panel was as left field as it got for a French based watch brand, but because of its distinctive styling, Bell & Ross became THE designer's watch. Favoured by architects and designers.

Taking inspiration from aircraft instrument panel was as left field as it got for a French based watch brand, but because of its distinctive styling, Bell & Ross became THE designer’s watch. Favoured by architects and designers.

If watches had a “design movement”, then Bell & Ross defined a generation with its militaristic bravura with a cockpit instrument wristwatch. In terms of provenance, it might not match IWC for pilot’s watches but through sheer force of passion and iconic style (no one else makes watches which look like they belonged on a fighter jet), Bell & Ross eked a name out for itself as makers of pilot’s watches thanks to exceptional clarity (again like a cockpit instrument) and functional robustness – bead-blasted sandwich screwed down steel case. It was not just aviation inspired, it was downright martial. Thus, it stands to reason that where optimal functionality abounds, the occupations which demand it most would be drawn to it. Introducing Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes: The Sea Rescuer’s Watch.

Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes: The Sea Rescuer’s Watch

 

Launched at Baselworld 2017, Bell & Ross returns not with the same square case we all know and love but with something we’ve grown accustomed to since the BR 123 Sport Heritage Automatic 43mm. Gone are the serious, faux-aged military-inspired aesthetics, replaced with a bright orange and white colour scheme you probably associate with the zany crew at Baywatch. And indeed you should, gone is the martial, serious-looking tool watch which has becomes a life saver’s watch and tribute to professionals who rescue at sea and, more specifically, to its helicopter pilots and divers.

The date of the latest Bell & Ross vintage Garde Cotes appears in a window between 4 and 5 o’clock. The brand’s iconic, imposing numerals appear at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. They are legible and guarantee optimal reading. This model, which is equipped with a bidirectional rotating bezel with a 60-minute scale, can be used to set time markers for more accurate mission timing. The crown guard ensures water-resistance and prevents accidental unlocking. This legible, water-resistant and robust timepiece is perfectly adapted for maritime rescue missions.

The date of the latest Bell & Ross vintage Garde Cotes appears in a window between 4 and 5 o’clock. The brand’s iconic, imposing numerals appear at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. They are legible and guarantee optimal reading. This model, which is equipped with a bidirectional rotating bezel with a 60-minute scale, can be used to set time markers for more accurate mission timing. The crown guard ensures water-resistance and prevents accidental unlocking. This legible, water-resistant and robust timepiece is perfectly adapted for maritime rescue missions.

As mentioned, the new Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes returns to that heritage automatic sporty “interpreted round” (because it’s not exactly prominently round like the WW1-92 Military series) case which gives the latest Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes a sportier, more modern look in the metal and with a striking new colour palette of grey, orange and white.

The colour scheme of the latest Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes follows the same themes experienced in the coast guard. Metallic grey for the fuselage of both helicopters and naval vessels. A boost of flaming orange on both dial and second hand to reflect the visual codes for maritime safety and optimal legibility day or night. Interestingly, if you’re a rescue diver, it’s also the colour of the suit you wear so you’re visible in choppy weather and at distance – a boon if you happen to come un-tethered during a sea rescue.

Meanwhile, white numerals, indices and hour and minute hands with high luminescent coating ensures that even during emergency rescues at dusk, you get to keep an eye on critical essential timings at a glance.

Left: BR V2-92 GARDE-CÔTES BRV292-ORA-ST/SRB with calibre BR-CAL.302 automatic. Right: BR V2-94 GARDE-CÔTES BRV294-ORA-ST/SST with calibre BR-CAL.301. Automatic mechanical.

Left: BR V2-92 GARDE-CÔTES BRV292-ORA-ST/SRB with calibre BR-CAL.302 automatic. Right: BR V2-94 GARDE-CÔTES BRV294-ORA-ST/SST with calibre BR-CAL.301. Automatic mechanical.

The new Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes watches feature a sapphire case-back that reveals the very heart of the mechanism. The crystal is engraved with the symbol of sea rescuers: the buoy and the anchor.

The new Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes watches feature a sapphire case-back that reveals the very heart of the mechanism. The crystal is engraved with the symbol of sea rescuers: the buoy and the anchor.

Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes Chronograph

Like the three-hand model, this sportier version is equipped with a crown guard that is ideal for maritime rescue missions. The chronograph push-pieces are screwed in to guarantee optimal water-resistance and security. The fixed bezel is adorned with a black anodized insert that is graduated with a pulsimeter. Coordinated with the chronograph, this function can be used to measure the heart rate. It is very useful for rescuers providing first aid.

Bell & Ross Vintage Garde Cotes be retailing at SGD 4200 (BRV2-92 Garde-Côtes) and the chronograph at SGD 6300 (BRV2-94 Garde-Côtes) respectively.

 
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