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Bell & Ross  - Returns to the sea

Bell & Ross Returns to the sea

After years focusing on the air force and the army, Bell & Ross is turning its attention back to the sea.

Land, air and sea: the armed forces each patrol their own elements, as well as the intermediate zones where they meet. And so does Bell & Ross. The brand is known for its close ties with the military, which it uses as a source of inspiration and a reference. This affinity has given rise to a number of officers’ and pilots’ watches, with round or square faces, intended either for professional or for more... allegorical use. Its Desert Type watches with their sandy earth tones are also extremely well known. The sea, on the other hand, is an element Bell & Ross has neglected for some time.

The watchmaker is taking two routes to bring its customers back to the water. The first is a logical evolution of its aviators’ models: the Aéronavale. It represents a hybrid zone where plane meets boat – as on an aircraft carrier. The Aéronavale is part of the Vintage range, with a modestly-sized round case, three hands, graduated bezel and a chronograph, all in blue – dial, bezel and strap. But if we look for watches designed for marine use (or at least, designed in a seafaring spirit), we’ve seen nothing since the BR02, a dive watch whose design has remained untouched for some time.

Bell & Ross BR123 Aéronavale

2016 is the year Bell & Ross returns to the sea. The Marine collection pays tribute to the instruments used in former days to measure time, a vital requirement for navigating the high seas. Its three new references borrow explicitly from the aesthetics of marine chronometers. The BR01 Marine, with its pure white dial, minute track, Roman numerals and small seconds counter, will be available in a limited edition of 500. The BR-X1 Marine, which has a modular case design, espouses the company’s new chronograph format. The BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronographe Instrument de Marine represents the pinnacle of the range, with its exceptional flying tourbillon movement and monopusher chronograph.

Bell & Ross BR01 Marine.

All these models share an aesthetic heritage borrowed from the marine chronometers of yesteryear, which were typically made of brass or bronze, and housed in cases of precious hardwood, usually mahogany. That explains why two of the models are offered in a bronze case (combined with titanium where necessary) with wood accents. Indian rosewood is inlaid onto the caseband of the BR01 Marine, and the corners and bezel of the BR-X1 Marine. The chronograph tourbillon model also has wood inlays, but no bronze. Its owner will have to be content with gold.

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Marine

 

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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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