Military inf luence
Zeroing in on precision and quality.
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.