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Bell & Ross - Baselworld 2019: Bell & Ross on the attack

Bell & Ross Baselworld 2019: Bell & Ross on the attack

Aviation, F1, diving – this year’s new watches from Bell & Ross show the breadth of the French watchmaker’s range.

There was a time when Bell & Ross was all about military watches. And indeed, pilot’s watches are still one of the bedrocks of the brand. But even this niche has grown broader. After bringing planes (Rafale), air forces (Aéronavale) and various cockpit instruments (Compas, Altimètre) into the mix, Bell & Ross is now taking inspiration from an often overlooked but nevertheless essential piece of kit: the bomber jacket. This nylon blouson, officially known as the MA-1 Flight Jacket, was designed for the pilots of the first generation of jet aircraft. With the ability to fly ever higher and faster in increasingly cramped cockpits, they needed an insulated, compact and functional piece of clothing to replace the heavy sheepskin garments that had been in use since the first world war. In the 1950s, the US Air Force created the MA-1. It was black on the outside, and its orange lining could act as a visual beacon, like a distress flare, in the event of a crash landing. The watch, which measures 42 mm to a side, comes in khaki ceramic for that military vibe, and the markers are orange, in a nod to the jacket’s lining.

Baselworld 2019: Bell & Ross on the attack

BR 03-92 MA-1 © Bell & Ross

 

 Continuing in the military vein, Bell & Ross is bringing out a range of new BR03-92 Divers in different materials and colourways. This diving watch with a depth rating of 300m has the familiar “circle in a square” design that is a signature of the brand. The first model plays the diving commando card; it’s full black, with a matt black ceramic case and matt black dial. The second has a case made of bronze, an alloy particularly associated with the nautical world, and an olive green dial, whose military tones are repeated on the insert of the unidirectional rotating bezel.

Baselworld 2019: Bell & Ross on the attack

BR 03-92 Diver Black Matte, BR 03-92 Diver Green Bronze © Bell & Ross

 

 A different chapter, a different application, and different implications: Bell & Ross is entering the third year of its partnership with Renault F1 Team. The models in this range are all named after the French manufacturer’s racing car – R.S.19 – and are inspired by the functional codes of its steering wheel. Yellow, red, orange, green, black, carbon fibre – the multiple displays are distinguished not by their position but by their colour. Four models are available. The BR V3-94 R.S.19 with a round case and a BR 03-94 R.S.19 with a square case represent the first stage of the rocket. The next is the more sophisticated, more skeletonised and more technical BR X1 R.S.19, a step up in terms of presentation, particularly its “Time Marker” timekeeping bezel. And finally, at the top, is the BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph.

Baselworld 2019: Bell & Ross on the attack

BR V3-94 R.S.19, BR 03-94 R.S.19, BR-X1 R.S.19, BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.19 © Bell & Ross

 

 All of these models are in limited editions, going from 20 pieces for the BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph R.S.19, to 999 for the BR 03-92 MA-1. The BR 03-92 Diver Matte Black is the only one that will be available without restriction.

Baselworld 2019 : Bell & Ross en mode attaque

Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo wearing the BR V3-94 R.S.19 watch © Bell & Ross

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For Bell & Ross, each detail has a specific meaning and function: functionality is key, and minimalism – dispensing with superfluous ornamental details in favour of essential aspects – is vital.

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