MARKS THE SPOT

In Paris last Oc­to­ber, Bell & Ross un­veiled the first watch of a brand new col­lec­tion, the BR-X1 Skele­ton Chrono­graph, built for pi­lots of fifth-gen­er­a­tion mil­i­tary air­craft.

Plaza Watch International - - X Marks The Spot - WORD SY-JEAN MUN-DEL SALLE

With avi­a­tion cel­e­brat­ing its cen­te­nary this year, its his­tory dot­ted by mile­stones in­clud­ing the break­ing of the sound bar­rier and the era of hy­per­sonic flights, Bell & Ross de­cided to launch the BR-X1 Skele­ton Chrono­graph, the very first watch of a new high-tech, so­phis­ti­cated and high­end col­lec­tion in­spired by the ex­cel­lence of the aero­nau­ti­cal in­dus­try and its new tech­nolo­gies. Rev­o­lu­tion­ary in de­sign, the sporty, ul­tra-mas­cu­line and ro­bust chrono­graph with so­phis­ti­cated haute hor­logerie fin­ishes is an ex­treme ver­sion of the brand’s iconic BR 01 in­stru­ment watch, in­spired by air­craft in­stru­ment pan­els. As Bell & Ross has al­ways been pas­sion­ate about mil­i­tary his­tory and in par­tic­u­lar that of avi­a­tion, and with 2014 mark­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the start of World War I, it re­leased a time­piece this year hon­our­ing French avi­a­tion hero, Cap­tain Ge­orges Guyne­mer. The BR-X1 hy­per­sonic chrono­graph hur­tles into the hy­per­sonic field via its rad­i­cally-tech­ni­cal na­ture.

Car­los Rosillo, CEO and co-founder of Bell & Ross, says, “The BR 01 is from the dash­board to the wrist and we kept this idea, but we wanted to project into the fu­ture, the fu­ture of tech­nol­ogy as when you look at the de­vel­op­ment of air­planes, such as the F-35, which is highly so­phis­ti­cated. We wanted to de­velop the ul­ti­mate util­ity watch, the ul­ti­mate evo­lu­tion of a watch with a high-tech and so­phis­ti­cated con­cep­tion and move­ment, which al­lows us to have re­sis­tance, light­ness, er­gonomics and func­tion­al­ity. When you look at so­phis­ti­cated air­planes and you see the fu­ture of avi­a­tion to­day, you un­der­stand that the tech­nolo­gies have changed. The shapes are much more com­pli­cated, but what if you trans­fer that to watches? In­stead of hav­ing some­thing ba­sic and sim­ple, we made it like a fifth-gen­er­a­tion air­plane – the fu­ture of avi­a­tion in the mil­i­tary field.”

Since Bell & Ross ’ launch in 1992, its goal has al­ways been to cre­ate time­pieces suit­able for pro­fes­sional use. They ad­here to strict mil­i­tary spec­i­fi­ca­tions where func­tion cre­ates form, win­ning it the con­fi­dence of many highly-de­mand­ing ex­perts con­fronted by ex­treme sit­u­a­tions – the French Air Force, RAID French po­lice in­ter­ven­tion unit, French Civil Se­cu­rity mine dis­posal ex­perts, naval avi­a­tion forces, parachutists from the US Air­borne sec­tion and deep-sea divers – and open­ing the brand up to a much wider au­di­ence of en­thu­si­asts and col­lec­tors. Bell & Ross draws in­spi­ra­tion from World Wars I and II, as the mil­i­tary watch was born dur­ing the First World War. With a func­tional and util­i­tar­ian vo­ca­tion, its time­pieces pro­pose an in­stantly-recog­nis­able style (de­signs firmly rooted in the mil­i­tary watch tra­di­tion with dual, com­ple­men­tary affini­ties for the retro and con­tem­po­rary) matched with four es­sen­tial prin­ci­ples: read­abil­ity, pre­ci­sion, re­li­a­bil­ity and func­tion­al­ity.

Rosillo de­scribes Bell & Ross’ as­so­ci­a­tion with mil­i­tary his­tory: “The mil­i­tary field has de­vel­oped high tech­nol­ogy for a very long time: the In­ter­net is civil to­day but, orig­i­nally, it was a mil­i­tary lan­guage, and most civil air­planes come from mil­i­tary ones. We share their val­ues of ex­cel­lence and per­for­mance. We have been in­spired by mil­i­tary watches: keep in mind that the first wrist­watch was due to the mil­i­tary world and avi­a­tion when WWI pi­lots asked watch­mak­ers to go from the pocket to the wrist. This is what we achieved with the WWI watch, then what we achieved also is go­ing from the cock­pit to the civil­ian wrist.

“The mil­i­tary in­spi­ra­tion is strong and we have been work­ing for mil­i­tary teams, but our main business are watches for civil­ian use, like Dassault or other air­plane com­pa­nies that buy their knowl---

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