This is one announcement that is sure to create quite a stir. Quite a lot of noise in fact. And smoke. The first petrol-driven watch, perhaps? Well nearly; the first horological motorbike!
Bell & Ross, in the habit of drawing inspiration from aircraft design, has decided to put down the undercarriage for once. The brand has briefly left the runway for the open road – and the throaty roar of a twin-cylinder bike. Renewing its collaboration with Harley-Davidson, Bell & Ross has co-developed a concept bike with a pure and powerful frame, reminiscent of the ultra-modern look of the 1960s and the first American jets.
This is an exercise in style that will no doubt come as a surprise to the supporters of pure watchmaking creations, especially at the sacred shrine of Baselworld. But it’s precisely the kind of thing that leads to creative emulation, thereby pushing the envelope and nurturing new ideas – just the kind of creativity that resulted in the ground-breaking, angular, highly-strung lines of the very first BRs.
Today, the approach seeks to be less direct – and more rounded. The bike in question is one of a kind, the B-Rocket. It borrows heavily from the lines of the ground-hugging vehicles of 50 years ago, based in turn on the experimental aircraft of the 1960s and the Bonneville Salt Flats speed bikes of Nevada. Is it a bike? Is it a plane? No, it’s an airplane-motorcycle! And for Bell & Ross, above all it’s the incarnation of their creative vision: sublimating the modernity of the past.
Orange carbon: radically Bell
As far as watchmaking goes, this year Bell & Ross is highlighting a very exclusive series called BR 03-94 Carbon Orange. Once again it is aimed at aircraft enthusiasts and those who put a premium on readability and functionality. The watch features the large, square frame peculiar to BRs. Its chronograph makes it firmly sports-oriented – preferably high-altitude sports. Two variations are on offer with two types of strap: a black rubber model and another in orange reinforced fabric – aesthetic alternatives which Bell & Ross has already used on a large number of models, including the BR126 most recently.
The 42 mm watch is PVD treated and features an ETA 2894 automatic mechanical movement. On its two-button chronograph, the button in the 2 o’clock position is topped with an orange polycarbonate coating, reminiscent of the flight instruments dear to the world of Bell & Ross.