The association has become self-evident: “Bell & Ross” stands for “simple and efficient”. Over the past ten years, the brand specialising in aeronautics appears to have turned this motto into a veritable creed.
In 2005, it launched the BR 01, a watch that was not only inspired by cockpit instruments but was one itself, simply adjusted to the size of the wrist. This horological UFO quickly made a name for itself, becoming an icon in record time. It simultaneously won over the public and experienced enthusiasts – a rare feat in the world of watchmaking. Bell & Ross devoted considerable means to its development with more than 100 models in ten years: an average of one every 45 days!
“Ten years later, we are still celebrating the square, a shape that remains very original and unlike anything else” points out Carlos Rosillo, CEO of Bell & Ross, who also makes a point of mentioning the sudden interest taken in smartwatches featuring this shape which had thus far been largely been by watchmaking tradition…
An anniversary model for purists
Two models are celebrating their tenth anniversary. The first is delivered with a finish that will appeal to purists. This extremely understated piece harks back to the roots of the first BR 01. Entirely decked out in black and white, it is devoid of any aesthetic artifice other than the anniversary badge at 6 o’clock.
The piece retains its shape, its dimensions and its excellent readability but is enhanced with a new ceramic case. For Carlos Rosillo, “this is the perfect blend of sophistication placed at the service of simplicity.” Only 500 of these special limited-edition anniversary watches will be produced. Other ceramic models will follow in the main collection.
BR-X1: the second model is here!
A second limited version will be joining the party. Fans of the brand won’t be surprised to see the BR-X1 that Bell & Ross introduced last October with a first model of a highly technical skeleton chronograph. This new BR-X1 Forged Carbon presented at Baselworld adheres to the same principles: a virile, skeleton XL chronograph version with X-shaped bridges, which is technical in terms of both its materials and its design.
The use of forged carbon here is an important first for Bell & Ross. “It’s a highly technical, hard-wearing material that offers endless variations” says Carlos Rosillo. “The combination of carbon powder and heated resin compressed at very high pressures produces consistently different fibre constructions. By definition, each one of these BR-X1 Carbone Forgé will be unique.” Only 250 of them will be produced, and the price tag will be 19,000 euros.
A very airy tourbillon
The BR-X1 collection will be progressively enriched. Bell & Ross is already presenting a version also based on a chronograph and equipped with a tourbillon. This is not the first time that the brand has fitted one of its sports models with an escapement of this kind. The Phantom limited edition of the BR 01 is one of the most memorable recent examples.
With the BR-X1 Tourbillon, Bell & Ross is going a step further in combining Fine Watchmaking with sporty and technical chronographs, which remains relatively unexplored territory for brands specialising in aeronautics.
In addition to these three emblematic timepieces, Bell & Ross is launching a 99-piece limited-edition version of its Vintage WW1. On this occasion, the power reserve of the model has been extended to five days. Nevertheless, the most important element will probably not be the watch itself, but its presentation box: an authentic and particularly refined cigar box, reviving the red, gold and black aesthetic codes of limited-edition high-class cigars.