Fly­ing ace

Bell & ross’ lat­est watch pays trib­ute to a leg­endary pi­lot.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TRENDS - Wil­liamK.C.Kee

Un­til you have given ev­ery­thing, you have given noth­ing. – Cap­tain Ge­orges Guyne­mer (1894-1917)

FROM its ori­gins, Bell & Ross has been pas­sion­ate about the his­tory of avi­a­tion and its he­roes.

Loyal to its val­ues, the watch­maker is com­mem­o­rat­ing the cen­te­nary of the Great War by pay­ing trib­ute to a leg­endary pi­lot: Ge­orges Guyne­mer. A top fighter ace for France dur­ing World War I, Guyne­mer was a French na­tional hero at the time of his death.

In 1914, at the out­break of the First World War, avi­a­tion was in its in­fancy. The first at­tempt at take-off was in 1890 with Clé­ment Ader and the first real flight dated back to only 1903 with the Wright broth­ers.

Born in 1894, Guyne­mer made his first en­try into the nascent air force as a trainee me­chanic. He qual­i­fied as a mil­i­tary pi­lot in April 1915 and was as­signed to the

Ci­gognes (stork) squadron. This squadron adopted the stork as its em­blem when the unit was as­signed to Al­sace at the out­break of hos­til­i­ties, the bird be­ing very com­mon in that French re­gion. Some pi­lots even told of hav­ing been fol­lowed in flight by storks, to which they swore an un­break­able bond.

Ini­tially as­signed to sim­ple ob­ser­va­tion tasks, Guyne­mer be­came a fighter pi­lot in his own right by shoot­ing down his first en­emy air­craft on July 19, 1915.

Now fly­ing a more pow­er­ful Nieu­port 10, he es­tab­lished him­self as one of the best French avi­a­tors and was awarded the Legion of Hon­our on his 21st birth­day. His talent and skill al­lowed him to in­flu­ence the de­sign of com­bat air­crafts built for the army.

Guyne­mer took to the air on Sept 17, 1917, at the head of the Ci­gognes squadron, hav­ing been pro­moted to cap­tain, with a to­tal of 53 con­firmed and 35 prob­a­ble vic­to­ries. It was to be his last flight. He was just 22 years old.

A timely trib­ute

In 2011, Bell & Ross chose to pay trib­ute to the pocket watches worn on the bat­tle­field dur­ing the 19141918 War. With its im­pos­ing 49mm-di­am­e­ter and el­e­gant pol­ished case, the Pocket Watch 1 en­cap­su­lated the style of time­pieces from the pe­riod.

Pocket watches were grad­u­ally re­placed by wrist­watches aboard air­crafts, so that pi­lots could read the time more eas­ily. Bell & Ross re­spected this his­tory les­son by fol­low­ing the PW1 with its WW1 mod­els.

In cre­at­ing the new Vin­tage WW1 Guyne­mer, Bell & Ross au­then­ti­cally tran­scribes the fin­ish and spirit of watches of the pe­riod.

A case with a dis­tressed “gun­metal grey” steel fin­ish, opa­line dial, sand-coloured nu­mer­als and hands as on an­tique di­als, wire han­dles, nar­row, nat­u­ral leather bracelet with the patina of time all give the watch a truly au­then­tic look.

Its retro look is per­fectly in keep­ing with the char­ac­ter of this time­piece, en­hanced by the sil­hou­ette of a stork at six o’clock. As well as this em­blem, which pi­lots con­sid­ered a good-luck charm, a por­trait of Guyne­mer is en­graved on the rear of the case. The fig­ures on the dial also pay trib­ute to him since their de­sign matches the “2” ap­pear­ing on the leg­endary pi­lot’s planes.

The watch, priced at RM12,900, is pro­duced in a limited edi­tion of 500 pieces.

Ge­orges Guyne­mer, a top fighter ace for France dur­ing World War I, and con­sid­ered a French na­tional hero at the time of his death. a por­trait of Guyne­mer is en­graved on the rear of the case.

Nos­tal­gic: In cre­at­ing the new Vin­tage WW1 Guyne­mer, Bell & ross au­then­ti­cally tran­scribes the fin­ish and spirit of watches of the pe­riod.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.