Tag Archives: Bell & Ross

Luxury watches: 7 mechanical timepieces with digital displays

We popularly refer to the hands of time in many everyday events, typically when we want to talk about going back in time to fix something or making a tiresome meeting end quicker. We process these entirely natural set of metaphorical motions largely without thinking about why time even needs to have hands. In truth, since digital quartz watches spread like wildfire upon the wrists of more humans than ever before in the 1970s, time hasn’t needed hands to make sense. Soon, with the proliferation of those pesky handheld computers called mobile phones (our data suggests you are reading this story on one right now), an entire generation will cease to understand and appreciate anything other than digital time.

Well, mechanical watches too have caught the digital bug — digital display that is, as these seven watches show. Ok, some of them still use hands but mainly in unexpected ways or for aesthetic reasons.

This spread was first featured in World of Watches’ (WOW) Festive issue. The WOW team would like to highlight that this spread was incorrectly credited. The digital artist responsible is Zi Wen.

 

Review: Bell & Ross Instrument de Marine

With a square case, exposed screws, a round dial, and oversized hands and numerals, the Bell & Ross BR 01 is one of the most instantly recognisable watches today. Modelled after flight instruments on the dashboard of a contemporary fighter jet, the watch has evolved from this core aesthetic to take on a vintage guise as seen with the Vintage BR line and an edgy, hyper-realistic form à la the BR-X1. More than 10 years has passed since Bell & Ross introduced the BR 01, but it still hasn’t run out of ways to reinvent the watch.

The new Instrument de Marine line posits the question: What if Bell & Ross had been founded 200 years earlier, when the aircraft had not yet been invented? At an era when sea travel was the most state-of-the-art, it isn’t too farfetched at all to imagine that deck instruments on board a ship would provide the inspiration. And of all the navigational objects associated with seafaring, the marine chronometer is the most symbolic one.g27-04-br-x1-t-marine-base-tout_lo-jlk

Time is a key factor in sea travel and thus marine chronometers – the most accurate timekeepers of their time – were indispensible tools to guide a vessel to its intended destination. Invented by the English clockmaker, John Harrison, marine chronometers were often mounted on gimbals, which kept them consistently in the horizontal position, unperturbed by the rocking motion of the vessel. As they were relied upon to be extremely accurate, not only do marine chronometers need to be precise, they also had to display the time clearly. Every second counts when navigating the high seas; a one-second error in time reading could lead a ship astray by as much as five kilometres.

This is why the seconds indication in a marine chronometer is always clearly displayed.

BR 01 Instrument de Marine embraces the baroque style aesthetics of this bygone era. For the first time, this normally contemporary timepiece comes with classical Roman numerals and blued steel poire-shaped hands on a white lacquer dial. Not only that, its entire case recalls the design of those square wooden boxes, in which the round marine chronometers are housed for safekeeping. Finding this to be a perfect visual metaphor, this round timepiece in a square case, Bell & Ross constructed the case of the BR 01 Instrument de Marine with an interesting mix of materials, some harking back to the olden times, and others modern and high performance oriented: Indian rosewood (used for the hulls and masts of ships, as well as the wooden case for marine chronometers), bronze (a reminder of the brass fittings on board a ship), rose gold (pairing beautifully with the rosewood), and grade 5 titanium (resilient and lightweight).

Echoing the aesthetical direction of the BR 01 are two additional pieces that embrace the maritime theme without relinquishing their technical flair – the BR X1 Skeleton Chronograph and the BR X1 Tourbillon Chronograph. Both pieces feature an openworked dial but instead of bronze, rose gold is used for the tourbillon model, and all three timepieces feature sapphire case backs that expose the movement mechanisms. The delightful melange of colours and textures brought about by this intoxicating mix of materials makes the collection stand far out, but perhaps the most alluring factor about these watches is their individual potential to change over time, gaining a unique patina.

Specifications

BR 01 Instrument de Marine
Movement Manual-winding Calibre BR-CAL.203 with 56-hour power reserve
Case 46mm in precious wood, titanium, and bronze; water resistant to 100m
Strap Brown alligator leather with bronze pin buckle

BR-X1 SKELETON CHRONOGRAPH Instrument de Marine
Movement Self-winding Calibre BR-CAL.313 skeletonised chronograph with 46-hour power reserve
Case 45mm in precious wood and bronze; water resistant to 100m
Strap Brown alligator leather with bronze pin buckle

BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph Instrument de Marine
Movement Manual-winding Calibre BR-CAL.283 skeletonised flying tourbillon with four-day power reserve
Case 45mm in rose gold and precious wood, water resistant to 100m
Strap Brown alligator leather with rose gold pin buckle

This article was first published in World of Watches.

Franck Muller

9 Stealth All-Black Watches: Dark Beasts

All-black watches are cool. It is that simple. Whether they sport in-house power plants and are the result of internal research and development or use third-party solutions, these watches are captivating. As we show in this spread engineered (and published) by WOW (World of Watches), there are plenty of forms for these dark horses of space-time to take. How did it all start? Well we won’t bore you with the details but watches with black dials offered better visibility for wearers and less glare to unwittingly call attention to the wearer.

These qualities appealed to the military mind of course and so of course many aviator timepieces had black dials. It wasn’t until 1972 that an all-black watch – with case, dial and bracelet entirely in black – emerged. That was the legendary Porsche Design Chronograph 1. Here are nine watches proudly flying the black flag into the 21st century.

BulgariBulgari Octo Ultranero Velocissimo

Bulgari Octo Ultranero Velocissimo

  • Dimensions: 41mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 50 hours
  • Movement: Automatic BVL 328 based on Zenith El Primero calibre
  • Material: DLC-coated steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Rubber
PaneraiPanerai Luminor 1950 10 Days

Panerai Luminor 1950 10 Days GMT Ceramica

  • Dimensions: 44mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, GMT, 24-hour hand, power reserve indicator
  • Power Reserve: 10 days
  • Movement: Automatic Panerai P.2003 calibre
  • Material: Black ceramic
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Buffalo, black
HYTHYT H4 Gotham

HYT H4 Gotham

  • Dimensions: 51mm
  • Functions: Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve indicator
  • Power Reserve: 65 hours
  • Movement: Manual-winding, HYT calibre
  • Material: 3DPT carbon
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Strap: Black rubber with integrated Nomex fabric
Franck MullerFranck Muller

Franck Muller Black Croco

  • Dimensions: 55mm x 39mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre FM 800
  • Material: PVD-treated steel
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Crocodile, black
ChopardChopard Superfast Chrono Split Second

Chopard Superfast Chrono Split Second

  • Dimensions: 45mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph with split seconds,
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Material: DLC-coated steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Calfskin, black
BremontBremont ALT1-B

Bremont ALT1-B in DLC-coated steel; $9,000

  • Dimensions: 43mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre BE-54AE
  • Material: DLC-coated steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Calfskin, black
Bell & RossBell & Ross BR-X1 Carbon Forgé

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Carbon Forgé

  • Dimensions: 45mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: NA
  • Movement: Automatic calibre BR-CAL.313
  • Material: Carbon, titanium and ceramic
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Alligator and grey rubber
MontblancMontblanc TimeWalker Urban Speed UTC

Montblanc TimeWalker Urban Speed UTC

  • Dimensions: 41mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date, second time zone
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre MB 24.05
  • Material: DLC-coated steel
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Leather, black
SevenFridaySevenFriday V3/01

SevenFriday V3/01

  • Dimensions: 44.3mm x 49.7mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day/night indicator
  • Power Reserve: 40 hours
  • Movement: Automatic Miyota 82S7
  • Material: PVD-treated steel
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Leather, black

Story Credits

Photography Greenplasticsoldiers

Art Direction Joaelle Ng

This article was first published in WOW.

Bell & Ross BR 03-94

Review: Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Watch

Back in 2005, who would’ve imagined that a square watch could singlehandedly set Bell & Ross on the trajectory that’s brought the brand to where it is today? The BR 01 did just that, and went on to spawn two smaller iterations, the BR 03 and BR S, which were also extremely successful. The latest addition to the family, the BR-X1, was conceived as a platform for Bell & Ross to express its technical savoir-faire, but the brand hasn’t neglected its core collections despite this shift in direction. The proof? The BR 03-94 Desert Type.

The BR 03-94 Desert Type is the latest variation on the theme of the square aviation watch, which is one of Bell & Ross’s calling cards. Like the collection’s other models, it contains several recognisable design cues. For one, there’s the square case with a raised round bezel framing the circular dial. The dial itself is highly legible, thanks to a combination of sword-shaped hands and a mix of baton and Arabic numeral indexes. Finally, there are the four screws on the upper surface of the case – a nod to the screws used to mount aviation instruments (the collection’s inspiration) onto a cockpit’s panel.

The strength of the BR 01/03/S families’ design lies in its versatility, as the BR 03-94 Desert Type shows. Despite being dressed in matte black and khaki – the two primary hues used in desert camouflage – the watch maintains a striking visage. Part of this is due to the brand’s subtle play with textures. Note how the black portions of the hands have a grainier texture compared to the black ceramic case, for instance, or how the sub-dials have a circular grained pattern. Bell & Ross has also manipulated the sense of depth of this watch by going beyond the usual traits of a layered case/bezel construction and sloping inner flange. The sub-dials have been countersunk here, while the dial itself has a sandwich construction consisting of an upper dial with cutouts set over a lower dial of a contrasting colour.

Functionally, the BR 03-94 is powered by an ETA-based BR-CAL.301 chronograph movement. The watch is capable of measuring elapsed times of up to 30 minutes, and sports a clean bi-compax layout to facilitate this, with a date window at 4:30 rounding up its functions. Its wearer can opt for either a matching beige calfskin strap or a black synthetic fabric strap to complete the package.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes. chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding BR-CAL.301
  • Material: Black ceramic
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Beige calfskin or black fabric, both with black PVD-coated steel ardillon buckle

This article was first published in WOW.

Space Cowboy: Bell & Ross BR-X1 Hyperstellar

Bell & Ross decided this year that space cowboys could use a chronograph to call their own, so enter the BR-X1 Hyperstellar. Its moon-grey titanium case with anodised blue aluminum inserts houses a skeletonized automatic chronograph movement that’s perfect for the journey into deep space.

The movement skeletonization makes sense in this context, as it strips all non-essential mass away to ensure that the spacefarer’s payload is optimised for launch. The black DLC-treated upper bridge is still formed in the shape of an “X” – both a variable and an unknown – and its push-buttons will suit the thick gloves used by astronauts. A rubber grip has also been integrated into the case for greater ease of handling. Application of Super-LumiNova in all the right spots such as the hour and minute hands and indexes enhances legibility. The rim of the minute totalizer, tachymeter, and bezel have all been executed in a distinctive cerulean hue for lonely and homesick mission specialists to remind themselves of the Blue Marble – home.

The appeal of the watch is accentuated by a titanium case back that now boasts a circular aperture, through which the cadence of the balance wheel can be appreciated. To secure the watch to the wrist in zero gravity, a hybrid strap of alligator leather and grey rubber, with a steel pin buckle, is provided.

This advancement of the BR-X1 is technically well crafted, and will certainly appeal to enthusiasts with a penchant for space exploration. It comes in a limited edition of 250 pieces.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 45mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: Not available
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre BR-CAL.313
  • Materials: Titanium and anodised blue aluminum
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Black alligator leather and grey rubber with steel pin buckle

This article was first published in WOW.

Bell & Ross Enters Into Automobiles With AeroGT

It may seem quite surprising to see the highly esteemed watch company Bell & Ross take a sudden dip into the automobile world with their crazily designed half-aeroplane half-car AeroGT. Still, this isn’t the first time they’ve done that. They came up with the B-Rocket motorbike back in 2014 and this one, even earlier. Combined with the creation of this concept, the company is also releasing a pair of timepieces merges its watchmaking skills with motoring inspirations.

You can check out more on Men’s Folio.

4 Aviation Watches to Take Flight With

By flying, we will include sitting in an airplane. That said, aviation watches are among the most beloved of collectors because of the particular fine qualities they are imbued with, in standing up to the operational demands of flight. Reliable, accurate, with clear, easy-to-read displays, they’re tops at balancing elegance, performance, and practicality.

Bell & Ross BR 03 Rafale

Bell & Ross

The Rafale is a beautifully shaped jet, and for folks that appreciate fighter planes, it is among the most advanced and lethal of combat planes being flown today. The Bell & Ross BR 03 Rafale in ceramic incorporates the cool grey colour and the typography of the plane onto the dial for a most fetching tribute. Limited to 500 pieces.

Perrelet Turbine Pilot

Perrelet Turbine Pilot
The company started producing watches sporting dual rotors from 2009, including one on the dial side. Most recently, it has extended the same concept to its take on the pilot’s watch. Aesthetically, the dial-side rotor sets itself apart from most others; it also looks like the spinning turbines of a jet engine. But time display is clear enough, and the slide rule bezel is handy for quick calculations (currency conversions, price of groceries by weight, etc.) and is quite readable, courtesy of the large case size.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524

patek phillipe calatrava pilot
A dramatic departure from Patek Philippe’s usual dress watch or high complication, Ref. 5524 in white gold is as luxurious as a pilot’s watch can be, while remaining eminently sensible. Twin pushers allow quick adjustment of local time, while a skeletonised hand indicates home time, with day/night indicators for home/local time, and date in a sub-dial at six o’clock.

Breguet Type XXI 3810

WOW160126(Character)-006

Descended from the Type 20 aviator’s chronograph that was supplied to the French defence ministry in the 1950s, the titanium XXI 3810 is not only dressier than many pilot’s watches, with fine decorative detail including a fluted case band, it also includes the convenience of a flyback chronograph, with great ease of use by utilising a central hand to point out elapsed minutes.

This story was first published in World of Watches.

16 Ways to Bring Fun to Luxury Watches

It’s time to add some color to your watch collection – luxury doesn’t always have to be understated. Here are 16 watches, in four categories, that our friends at WOW (World of Watches) have curated that will do the trick.

Just a Hint

This is where the adage that less is more holds sway. With the right hue and application, a dash of color is sometimes all that is necessary, whether to demarcate different functions or to highlight specific parts of a watch.

AP-2a

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver: This iteration of the Royal Oak Offshore Diver has a utilitarian slant that reinforces the collection’s tool watch DNA, beginning with a scratch-resistant case and bezel of black ceramic. A matching black dial maintains the serious vibes, while also adding a touch of class with its méga tapisserie guilloché – an Audemars Piguet signature. The crucial parts that divers rely on underwater have been highlighted orange here – the running second hand indicates that the watch is working, while the minute hand and 15-minute section of the inner bezel mark elapsed time underwater. (Price unavailable)

Rado-1a

Rado Hyperchrome Automatic Chronograph Court Collection: Blue-on-black isn’t the best combination for legibility, since the former doesn’t pop on the latter. Rado overcame this limitation on the Hyperchrome Automatic Chronograph Court Collection by finishing the watch’s dial with a subtle sunray texture, thus accentuating the contrast between the two colours. Blue wasn’t chosen frivolously – it represents the hard court surface tennis is played on, just like how its siblings’ orange and green accents mirror clay and grass courts respectively. An ETA 2894-2 chronograph movement drives the watch, encased in a monobloc black ceramic case with stainless steel inserts. ($6,170)

Breitling-2a

Breitling Chronomat 44 Raven: Despite having a black dial encased in Breitling’s “black steel” case, the Chronomat 44 Raven is far from a stealthy watch. That isn’t a concern anyway, since the Raven is a pilot chronograph, which places a far higher premium on legibility. The latter is achieved by rendering the watch’s hands, indexes, bezel markings, and inner flange in bright orange, to make telling the time and using the chronograph a cinch. Of course, due attention has been paid to accuracy – the Raven packs Breitling’s chronometer-grade Calibre 01. ($13,840)

Spread-1a

Raymond Weil Freelancer: This self-winding chronograph maintains the classic, understated styling that’s central to Raymond Weil’s DNA, but asserts its masculine and sporty side with subtle detailing. Note the watch’s industrial look with the screw bolting down the small seconds sub-dial, or the altimeter-esque date window that recalls a flight instrument panel. Red highlights set against a black and steel dial complete the package – both visually and functionally – by distinguishing the chronograph function from the rest of the watch, right down to the tachymeter’s markings. ($4,330)

WOW-30041577842_V6-HiRes-copya

Dial It Up

There’s nothing subtle about flooding the dial with a single vivid hue. Watches like these aren’t just easily recognised at a distance – they’re also bold statements that will be visible from across the room. Only the confident need apply.

 

Victorinox I.n.o.x. (pictured above): Built to mark the 130th anniversary of Victorinox, the I.N.O.X. (inox is French for stainless steel) is the timekeeping counterpart to the Swiss Army knives the brand manufactures, and meant to complement it as a “companion for life”. To that end, the watch had to pass a battery of 130 tests, including spending two hours in a washing machine and being driven over by a 64-ton tank. Numerous little details contribute to the watch’s toughness, from the slightly recessed sapphire crystal to having stamped – not applied – indexes. A simple, no-nonsense dial design emphasises the watch’s pedigree, with a blue dial and matching strap complementing this. ($719)

Luminox-2a

Luminox Scott Cassell UVP Special Edition: Luminox’s partnership with Scott Cassell continues with the UVP Special Edition. Part of this watch’s sales proceeds will go towards funding UVP (Undersea Voyager Project), a non-profit organisation founded by Cassell that is dedicated to ocean health. The watch’s 44mm case is made of carbon-reinforced polycarbonate, which imparts an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. A yellow dial with black hands and indices impart legibility, and a matching canvas strap completes the look. ($674.10)

JeanRichard-1a

JeanRichard Aeroscope Arsenal: Arsenal Football Club’s fans can wear their hearts proudly on their wrists by donning the Aeroscope Arsenal, its official watch. The timepiece features the Gunners’ cannon in lieu of a hand for its small seconds sub-dial, and uses the club’s color liberally. Red is an extremely striking colour in and of itself. When paired with black, it pops even more to grab one’s attention. From the honeycombed dial to the tachymeter markings on the bezel to the pushers’ detailing, the color ensures the watch’s prominence. (Price unavailable)

Seiko---high-resa

Seiko Automatic Divers Watch: This is the revised version of the Seiko diver watch commonly (and reverently) referred to as the Orange Monster. The “second generation Orange Monster” updates the original in several areas, including new shark-tooth shaped indexes and a simplified chapter ring. Its 4R36 movement is arguably the biggest change – unlike the original, the new watch can now be both hacked and hand-wound. The new calibre retains Seiko’s bidirectional Magic Lever winding system for efficiency though. Despite the availability of other colorways for the watch, Seiko enthusiasts still consider the Orange Monster a rite of passage. Clearly, not all colors are created equal. ($593.90)

Mix & Match

Playful. Technical. Rebellious. Whimsical. Avant-garde. The design approaches in response to having a larger palette are as varied as the colors themselves. Results too, run the gamut from what are literally art pieces to serious, sporty watches.

Hublot-2a

Hublot Classic Fusion Enamel Britto: Brazilian artist Romero Britto is known for his colorful works melding Cubism, pop art, and graffiti painting. His partnership with Hublot is of little wonder then, given the latter’s penchant for the “art of fusion”. The Classic Fusion Enamel Britto’s dial reproduces one of Britto’s artworks in miniature via grand feu enamel, with the 45mm Classic Fusion case in black ceramic serving as the painting’s frame. This timepiece is a 50-piece limited edition. ($59,700)

Romain-Jeromea

Romain Jerome Pac-Man Level II 40 Colours: The landmark arcade game returns! This homage to Pac-Man comes complete with eight-bit renderings of the game’s titular character, his adversary ghosts, and the strawberry power-ups needed to defeat them. Although the background is a drab monotone, no attention to detail has been spared – the “stage” is three-layered, and each one has either been bead-blasted or straight-grained to contrast with the lacquered sprites mounted on the dial. Housed in a 40mm case, this reference has a limited run of just 20 pieces. ($24,800)

Alexander-Shorokhoff-3a

Alexander Shorokhoff Miss Avantgarde: Words like “edgy” or “free-spirited” cannot adequately describe the Miss Avantgarde, what with its loud and flashy dial that uses color with seemingly no pattern. There is a method to Alexander Shorokhoff’s madness though. The time can actually be read easily as each design element is confined to a specific section of the watch. Colors have also been compartmentalized to avoid an overly busy dial, while the hands are white for maximum contrast. (Price unavailable)

Spread-3a

Graham Chronofighter Oversize GMT: The Chronofighter Oversize GMT has a busy dial with red, blue, and white accents on a background of black. This is mirrored on the watch’s exterior, with its massive 47mm case sporting an equally colorful combination of steel, red gold, and black PVD surfaces. Interestingly, the chronograph, large date, and GMT complications haven’t been sorted by color. Instead, every part of the watch takes on its specific hues for maximum contrast – note how the bezel uses red gold against blue while the main dial has white against black instead. ($16,400)

Material Play

Paints and coatings aren’t the be all and end all for achieving colours that pop in a watch. Materials that are inherently brightly colored can do the same, and lend their unique textures to boot. Stones, glass, and even liquids? Bring them all on.

Spread-4a

HYT H1 Azo Project: No, it isn’t kryptonite. The H1 Azo Project’s florescent case is made of azo polyepoxide, a resin with exceptional scratchproof properties despite being much lighter than comparable materials like steel. Its color is, of course, a perfect match for the liquids encased in the watch’s fluid module – one has been colored a darker shade of green, while the other remains transparent. The hours are then read off the tip of what looks like an advancing column of liquid. ($95,000)

Hermes-2a

Hermès Arceau Millefiori: From straw marquetry to Japanese miniature painting on porcelain, Hermès has incorporated various crafts into watchmaking. The Arceau Millefiori focuses on glass art, specifically millefiori (a thousand flowers), where colored crystal canes are arranged to form various motifs before being sealed with transparent crystal. The technique is adapted here by cutting the finished product into thin slices and using them as dials. ($61,600)

Ulysse-Nardina

Ulysse Nardin Marine Perpetual: At first sight, the blue sapphires on the bezel are immediately apparent, and serve as the highlight of the Marine Perpetual. Upon closer inspection, however, the bezel itself is revealed to be atypical – it’s made of rubber, and the sapphires are set directly into it. The technique, dubbed “soft stone in the sky”, is revolutionary for setting gems in a soft material, and parallels the manufacture’s perpetual calendar movement, which allows forward and backward adjustments via just the crown. ($59,400)

Bell-&-Ross-1a

Bell & Ross BR 03 Red Radar: Bell & Ross’s timepieces are inspired by cockpit instruments but said instruments were never just confined to dials with hands and indexes. One outlier was the BR 03 Red Radar, which took the world by storm upon its release, and remains frequently cited as a milestone product for the brand. In lieu of hands, three black concentric discs are mounted to the movement, with a red mineral glass crystal sealing the watch. The result? A watch that displays the time like a radar screen. ($S$6,700)

 

Story Credits

Text by Jamie Tan

Photography by Raymond Lee

Art direction and styling by Tok Wei Lun

Bell & Ross BR-X1: Record Breaker

Bell Ross Br X1 4Bell & Ross started its business in 1992 by selling virtual reissues of Sinn watches that carried both companies’ names on the dial, such as the Space 2, which was a rebranded Sinn 157. That era was short lived, however, as the brand grew rapidly to create its own designs. It weaned off its reliance on other watchmakers in 2002, when it secured its own independent production facilities in Switzerland.

Just a couple of years later, Bell & Ross launched the BR-01, which was styled after aircraft instrument dials. The distinctive style of the BR-01 made it a hit, and arguably one of the most recognisable watches today, even amongst complete strangers to horology. The fact that it’s square, a traditionally less popular shape, made this an even more impressive feat in product design and marketing.

Bell & Ross’s latest follow up to the BR-01 is the fifth generation BR-X1. According to the brand, each signed model pays tribute to a great era in military history, and the BR-X1 is no different. The homage this time is paid to the Bell X-1 experimental rocket plane, the first American-built one to break the sound barrier. Essentially a “bullet with wings”, the X-1 was shaped like the bullet of the .50 Browning Machine Gun cartridge, which had a stable supersonic flight. The plane contributed to transonic flight research, and set a pattern for which subsequent X-craft projects followed in terms of research techniques.

Bell Ross Br X1 2In tribute to the Bell X-1, Bell & Ross designed the BR-X1 to be a cutting edge instrument with high-tech materials, as the plane was in its time. The watch’s 45mm case is primarily Grade 5 titanium, with several components in ceramic and rubber. This includes the band around the case’s edge, ostensibly for shielding against any impacts, and the rocker-style chronograph pushers, for better grip when operating the chronograph. The BR-X1 has a bi-compax layout, with its small seconds, date, and minute totalizer at three, six and nine o’clock respectively. True to its aviation theme, the flange on the watch’s dial has a printed tachymeter for measuring rates when used with the chronograph seconds totalizer.

Bell Ross Br X1 3Based on the above features, the BR-X1 appears to just another addition to the collection, at least until one realises that it contains a skeletonised chronograph movement. We’ve trawled through the Bell & Ross archive and found no other skeletonised movement, let alone a skeletonised chronograph movement. In the X-1, the upper bridge has been reduced to an “X”, to fit both the aircraft and the watch’s name. Through it, parts of the movement, their perlage finishing, and the skeletonised date wheel can be seen.

The BR-X1 comes in a limited run of 250 pieces.

Bell & Ross Vintage WW1 Guynemer: Tribute to an Ace

This year, Bell & Ross is commemorating the centenary of the Great War by paying tribute to legendary pilot Captain Georges Guynemer with the Vintage WW1.

Bell Ross Vintage Ww1 Guynemer Tribute To An Ace 4

Born in 1894, Guynemer was initially declared unfit when he asked to enlist in the army. He became a trainee mechanic instead, before qualifying as a military pilot in 1915 and shooting down his first enemy aircraft on 19 July that year. The “Cigognes” (stork) squadron Guynemer was in was assigned the more powerful Nieuport 10 by that year’s end, and he soon established himself as one of the best French aviators, with a Legion of Honour conferred onto him on his 21st birthday. Within a year, Guynemer had been promoted to captain and taken command of the Cigognes squadron. He was, unfortuntately, lost in action in 1917 at the age of 22. As for his Cigognes squadron, it remains in service today and operates Mirage 2000-5F fighter jets from Luxeuil-Saint Sauveur.Bell Ross Vintage Ww1 Guynemer Tribute To An Ace 2The Bell & Ross Vintage WW1 (Wrist Watch 1) Guynemer pays tribute to the French ace pilot, and is a novelty from this year’s BaselWorld. This timepiece features a 45mm steel case with grey PVD finishing, and wire lugs reminiscent of watches from that era. The oversized crown is a throwback to early aviation as well, given pilots’ needs to operate their watches with heavy gloves on. To maintain its vintage look, the WW1 Guynemer has an opaline dial with sand-coloured numerals and hands, all rimmed by a chapter ring. Bell & Ross has improved the watch’s usability over vintage pilot watches, however, with a few modern touches. For one, the sand-coloured numerals and hands are actually beige Super-LumiNova, for legibility in the dark. The crystal is also made of sapphire instead of acrylic to improve its scratch resistance. The movement in the watch is also self-winding, unlike the ones used in World War I or II. As a tribute to Guynemer and his squadron, the silhouette of a stock has been placed at the dial’s six o’clock. In addition, a portrait of Guynemer has been engraved into the caseback. The Vintage WW1 Guynemer is available in a limited run of 500 pieces.

Bell Ross Vintage Ww1 Guynemer Tribute To An Ace 3

BR PW1 Argentium Minute Repeater

Bell & Ross launches argentium pocket watch

BR PW1 Argentium Minute Repeater

Bell & Ross launched the PW1 Argentium last year but has now updated the model with a minute repeater complication, called the PW1 Répétition Minutes. Alongside the tourbillon and perpetual calendar, the minute repeater is one of the three finest complications in watchmaking.

The Bell & Ross PW1 (pocket watch) minute repeater marks time like the clocks of the past: the hour is not read, it is heard.

The complicated caliber also indicates the hours and minutes musically on request — a low-pitched sound for each hour, followed by a series of double low-pitched and high-pitched sounds for every five minutes elapsed.

The PW1 Répétition Minutes has been designed in the tradition of period watches with a barleycorn guilloché caseback that opens to reveal the mechanism.

bellross horizon watch

Bell & Ross BR 01 Horizon

bellross horizon watch

In addition to the BR 01 Compass and BR 01 Radar, Bell & Ross is introducing a new version directly inspired by aeronautical instrumentation: the BR 01 Horizon.

The attitude indicator, a vital instrument in air navigation, makes it possible to monitor the aircraft’s position relative to the horizon, regardless of visibility conditions.

Bell & Ross designers have borrowed the graphic design of the attitude indicator to create an original and innovative display.

BELL ROSS PW1

Bell & Ross Vintage PW1 & WW1

BELL ROSS PW1

In September Bell & Ross will be releasing the PW1 and WW1 style as part of their vintage collection.

Their current vintage collection encompasses watches inspired by military history from the 1940s to date.

This collection draws inspiration from the first watches ever used in the military in the First World War and the 1920s, updated to create tow unique styles for men.
Continue reading

BR02-8 Infiniti Carbon Case

Bell & Ross BR02-8 for Infiniti

BR02-8 Infiniti Carbon Case

Infiniti has unveiled the Limited Edition BR02-8 Infiniti Carbon Case Purple 8 Pro Dial wristwatch, engineered by Bell & Ross.

The watch is the second timepiece revealed by Infiniti, the first of which was the special edition BR03-92 Instrument Phantom model commemorating the arrival of the Infiniti FX Limited Edition.

The seconds hand and eighth digit sit on a matt black dial, featuring a photo-luminescent finish in the same purple used by Infiniti.
Continue reading

Bell Ross only watch auction

Bell & Ross BR 01 Casino

Bell Ross only watch auction

Bell & Ross‘s one-off timepiece for the Only Watch auction features a roulette design built on top of their popular BR 01 watch.

This timepiece, done in all 18k pink gold, is a tribute to the country of Monaco which will be hosting the Only Watch auction this upcoming September.

The “0″ number on the roulette wheel indicates the hours (there are 12 little diamonds on the outer edge of the dial for standard timekeeping), the roulette ball indicates the minutes. The roulette spinner which will rotate once every 60 seconds.
Continue reading

Harley Davidson Bell Ross

Bell & Ross Customized Harley-Davidson

Harley Davidson Bell Ross

Bell & Ross watches and Shaw Harley Davidson have teamed up to develop a one-off custom motorcycle: the Bell & Ross-inspired Nascafe Racer.

Shaw Harley Davidson approached Bell & Ross about a bike design project that was inspired by the watchmakers’ vision on performance, precision and engineering.

The same technical exactness that Bell & Ross rule by was taken into account with the build of the unique motorcycle.
Continue reading

Bell & Ross BR 01-92 Compass

Bell & Ross unveils yet another limited edition timepiece – the BR 01-92 Compass – designed to re-imagine an aircraft’s cockpit, similar to its other watches.

The dial features two concentric discs, which have 12 minute and 60 minute graduations, and a vertical white line to tell the time.

The bezel has two windows divided by a bar, to mimic that of a horizontal plane. The watch is limited to 500 pieces and will be released in October 2010.
Continue reading

Jonathan Ellery and Wallpaper for Bell & Ross

Jonathan Ellery and watchmaker Bell & Ross have collaborated as part of a project initiated by Wallpaper magazine for their Handmade edition.

This special edition will be released in August 2010 and will collect unique pieces from different univers such as furnitures, food, clothes, design objects, etc…

“A conceptual spinning sculpture on the wrist” is how Ellery describes the watch, which is based on the BR01-92 Radar model.
Continue reading

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Instrument Phantom for Infiniti

Infiniti has worked with Bell & Ross to produce this special 100 unit Limited Edition BR03-92 Instrument Phantom Infiniti wristwatch.

The watch was launched in commemoration of the new Infiniti FX Limited Edition crossover, which like the watch has only 100 units available.

This model is exclusive to Infiniti dealers in Europe ($4,200). Purchase of the watch is not restricted to Infiniti FX Limited Edition owners though.
Continue reading