Mil­i­tary inf lu­ence

Ze­ro­ing in on pre­ci­sion and qual­ity.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - By S.S. YOGA

BRUNO Be­lamich, co-founder and cre­ative de­signer of watch man­u­fac­turer Bell & Ross, said that he has al­ways been in­spired by the mil­i­tary world and the tools they use, whereby func­tion and pre­ci­sion are key el­e­ments. It is no won­der then that the brand started the Avi­a­tion/ Mil­i­tary Specs col­lec­tion in 2005.

“I am not a pi­lot my­self but I was al­ways fas­ci­nated by the world of pi­lots and mil­i­tary pre­ci­sion. I have lots of friends that are in these fields. I al­ways pay at­ten­tion to what they say about their needs,” said Be­lamich in a re­cent e-mail in­ter­view.

Known sim­ply by a nu­mer­i­cal model, the first BR 01 In­stru­ment had a square case with a round dial. This was fol­lowed by the BR 01 In­stru­ment se­ries: the Phan­tom, the Orange, the Blue, the Tour­bil­lon and the Air­borne. And then came the BR 01 Raid. Many of the watches proved to be very pop­u­lar. This se­ries of­fered only limited edi­tions and there were fewer than 500 pieces per model avail­able world­wide.

“For a cult brand hav­ing a club phi­los­o­phy like ours, pas­sion is more im­por­tant; quan­tity is not the main thing. The ques­tion is not how many watches you can pro­duce, but whether you pro­duce the right ones.

“We be­lieve that limited edi­tions help build the im­age and his­tory of the brand by cre­at­ing real col­lec­tors’ items. That is why the limited edi­tions are very im­por­tant for us,” noted Be­lamich.

This year, the lat­est in the BR 01 In­stru­ment se­ries has fi­nally reached our shores. With only 500 pieces sold world­wide, the BR 01-92 Radar is an­other unique de­sign from Bell & Ross.

What strikes the ob­server im­me­di­ately is the sim­plic­ity of the dis­play. It is rem­i­nis­cent of the light beam that sweeps the cir­cu­lar screen of the radar, hence the name.

The hands and dial merge onto a sin­gle plane. In their place, three brightly coloured line seg­ments are placed on three in­de­pen­dent con­cen­tric disks. They in­di­cate the hours (red), min­utes (yel­low) and sec­onds (green). The glass dial re­sem­bles a tar­get. Two grad­u­ated per­pen­dic­u­lar axes are su­per­im­posed on the disks to in­di­cate the time. The dial and the cas­ing are matte black.

Bel­lamich said that de­sign­ing the Radar in­volved much re­search and many tech­ni­cal tri­als at the process and ma­te­rial level.

“The three disks are made of ul­tra­light syn­thetic ma­te­rial, and po­si­tioned in such a way that they do not touch each other, to avoid fric­tion. This guar­an­tees that the life­span of the watch will be sim­i­lar to any other watch in our col­lec­tion.”

As the disks would weigh 30 times more than that of a reg­u­lar watch hand, the choice of ma­te­rial used was cru­cial. The en­ergy re­serve and pre­ci­sion of the watch could not be com­pro­mised. So they set­tled on acrylic disks.

Technology and in­no­va­tion has al­ways been a Bell & Ross trade­mark, and Be­lamich has his per­sonal favourites.

“I love the Vin­tage 123 Jump­ing Hour but more re­cently, the In­stru­ment BR 0194 Car­bon Fiber for its rad­i­cal de­sign. It per­fectly il­lus­trates the in­stru­ment watch, a real pro­fes­sional tool,” he de­scribed. And when he’s not cre­at­ing watches, Be­lamich turns his at­ten­tion to Basel city (and not just for the Basel World Watch Fair), sail­ing, mu­sic, min­i­mal­ist ar­chi­tec­ture from Mies van de Rohe, and fashion from CP Com­pany and Stone Is­land. n The BR 01-92 Radar is priced at RM20,090 and sold at lead­ing watch stores.

Watch maker: Bruno Be­lamich is cre­ative di­rec­tor of Bell & Ross, and takes pride in de­sign­ing niche time­pieces.

The BR-01 Radar

Bell & Ross radar crest for the BR 01-92 Radar.

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