What pos­sessed avi­a­tion ex­perts Bell & Ross to de­sign a motorcycle?

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - Contents - Words by Ong Chin Huat

A land rocket and WW1 fighter pi­lot hero Guyne­mer pro­vided

the in­spi­ra­tion for Bell & Ross B-Rock­ets.

TWO FRIENDS once had a dream of own­ing an avi­a­tion-themed watch company. That dream came true in 1992 when Car­los Rosillo and Bruno Be­lamich launched Bell & Ross. Though they have dab­bled in the grand com­pli­ca­tions watches such as the PW1 Ar­gen­tium Minute Re­peater in 2013 and a few tour­bil­lion in the BR se­ries, their main­stay is to rein­ter­pret old wartime watches, up­dat­ing them with mod­ern tech­nolo­gies and ma­te­ri­als and cre­at­ing watches for to­day’s avi­a­tors. Over the years they have col­lab­o­rated with sev­eral air­forces and avi­a­tion com­pa­nies in pro­duc­ing some of the most stylish and stun­ning avi­a­tion watches ever. This year veer­ing slightly from their usual mo­dus operandi, but still lean­ing very strongly on their DNA, they col­lab­o­rated with Shaw Har­ley-David­son to de­sign a mo­tor­bike that looks like a rocket. And the end re­sult is noth­ing less than a stun­ner.


Mo­tor­cy­cles and watches ap­pear to have more in common than meets the eye. Both re­quire pre­ci­sion and skill in their man­u­fac­ture. This is why Bell & Ross com­mis­sioned Shaw Har­ley-David­son to de­sign and cre­ate the B-Rocket con­cept bike. Although Bell & Ross’s DNA is firmly in­ter­twined with aero­nau­tics—many of its cur­rent col­lec­tions pay homage to mil­i­tary time­keep­ers which re­quire ab­so­lute pre­ci­sion and re­li­a­bil­ity—this col­lab­o­ra­tion with Shaw Har­ley-David­son, a name syn­ony­mous with easy rid­ers and cool re­bel­lion, marks the watch brand’s shift from air to land. In­spired by covertly de­signed US jet planes in the 60s, the B-Rocket con­cept bike com­bines a neo-retro aes­thetic with the sleek­ness of aero­nau­ti­cal de­sign.

This one-of-a-kind air­plane-motorcycle pierces the air with its eye-catch­ing con­i­cal jet nose, cabin, fin and propul­sion tur­bines. Hav­ing worked on the de­sign for over a year, both the de­sign­ers at Bell & Ross and Shaw Har­ley-David­son had a clear vi­sion of what they wanted to cre­ate—an aero­dy­namic and per­for­mance driven su­per­bike which in­cor­po­rated el­e­ments of avi­a­tion and ref­er­enced 1960s ex­per­i­men­tal Amer­i­can jet planes and speed bikes. They have suc­ceeded bril­liantly. This dream air­plane-motorcycle is des­tined to be­come a legend in its own time and an in­stru­ment of speed highly de­sired by con­nois­seurs.

In con­junc­tion with the launch of the B-Rocket, Bell & Ross has launched two new watches which re­flect the spirit and as­pi­ra­tion of this air­plane-motorcycle.

The BR 01 is the de­fin­i­tive watch for driv­ers. Mea­sur­ing 46mm in di­am­e­ter, it is de­signed to pair with the B-Rocket motorcycle. The qual­ity of the chrono­graph is un­par­al­leled when it comes to ac­cu­racy and pre­ci­sion. Per­fect for the driver who wishes to time his speed, the large minute counter, with a tachy­met­ric scale lo­cated on the outer edge of the dial, al­lows the wearer to mea­sure shorter time frames and per­mits the per­for­mance to be in­stantly dis­played. There is also a 60-sec­ond, 30-minute and 12-hour counter which is help­ful at a quick glance.

The BR 03 on the other hand is a more elab­o­rate watch con­tained within a 42mm satin-brushed steel case with two com­pli­ca­tions. A unique fea­ture of the BR 03 is the cut-outs in the sub-dial which re­veal the discs op­er­at­ing the date win­dow. The large power-re­serve counter po­si­tioned at six o’clock is rem­i­nis­cent of the fuel gauge seen on rac­ing mo­tor­cy­cles or cars.

As for their fin­ishes, noth­ing has been spared or over­looked. With the pre­dom­i­nant colours of black, white, sil­ver with a touch of red thrown in, the two mod­els are stun­ning and vis­ually strik­ing. The satin-brushed steel case con­trasts with the matte black dial and the graphic dis­play draws ref­er­ences from an in­stru­men­tal panel on an air­plane. The skele­tonised hands are coated with a photo-lu­mi­nes­cent ma­te­rial vis­i­ble in the dark and to em­pha­sise its as­so­ci­a­tion with driv­ing a red tri­an­gle, the only pop of colour, marks 12 o’clock, mir­ror­ing the B Rocket’s tachome­ter and tur­bines. Fit­ted with a padded leather strap, lined and edged in red, just like the seat in the B-Rocket, th­ese two stun­ners are wa­ter resistant to a depth of 100 me­tres and fit­ted with anti-glare treated sap­phire crys­tal.


Had Cap­tain Ge­orges Guyne­mer been alive to­day, he would

no doubt be proud to sport his name­sake watch by Bell & Ross, the WW1 Guyne­mer. Pas­sion­ate about fly­ing, Guyne­mer wanted to join the army but was re­jected be­cause of his weak dis­po­si­tion. Not ready to give up, he man­aged to en­rol as a trainee me­chanic in the air force. He soon be­came a mil­i­tary pi­lot in 1915 and very quickly made a name for him­self, be­com­ing a fighter pi­lot by shoot­ing down an en­emy air­craft. He was awarded the pres­ti­gious Le­gion of Hon­our on his 21st birth­day. He con­trib­uted to the build­ing and de­sign of the com­bat air­crafts for the army, specif­i­cally SPAD, which be­came one of the most well known in that era. Sus­tain­ing in­juries in the bat­tles of Ver­dun and Somme, he took to the air for the last time as head of the Ci­gognes squadron, hav­ing been pro­moted to the rank of cap­tain. At the ten­der age of 22, after in­ces­sant com­bat, he passed away.

As a trib­ute to Guyne­mer as well the other un­sung he­roes of his gen­er­a­tion, Bell & Ross cre­ated the WW1 Guyne­mer watch, fol­low­ing the de­but of the Pocket Watch 1 which was launched in 2011. The WW1 (WW stands for wrist watch) has a dis­tressed gun­metal grey steel fin­ish, opa­line dial and sand-coloured nu­mer­als which give it a vin­tage vibe. Wire han­dles hold the nat­u­ral leather strap which will gain a patina over time, adding to its an­tique ap­peal. A sil­hou­ette of a stork, con­sid­ered a lucky charm by pi­lots of that era, is em­bla­zoned at six o’clock. The fin­ish­ing touch of this limited edi­tion of 500 pieces me­chan­i­cal move­ment au­to­matic wind­ing watch is a por­trait of Guyne­mer him­self en­graved on the back of the case. Some­thing the cel­e­brated cap­tain cer­tainly didn’t en­vis­age when he was first turned down by the French Army.


Prac­ti­cal for both pro­fes­sional use and every­day util­ity, Bell & Ross’s BR 03 In­stru­ment watch is in­spired by a plane’s cock­pit clock. Hav­ing sealed its rep­u­ta­tion as a hard-wear­ing and per­for­mance-driven watch for those work­ing un­der ex­treme con­di­tions such as as­tro­nauts, fighter pi­lots, diver, mine-clear­ing ex­perts and elite po­lice forces, Bell & Ross has em­barked on a quest to cre­ate and de­sign an ideal util­i­tar­ian watch. And so they de­buted the BR03-92 Car­bon Ce­ramic which utilises ceram­ics for its cas­ing. Ceram­ics are the ma­te­rial of choice in aero­nau­tics, es­pe­cially aero­space be­cause it can with­stand high tem­per­a­tures, ex­po­sure to acids, and resistant to cor­ro­sion and ero­sion. For this rea­son, ceram­ics are of­ten found in ther­mal cladding or used in the nose cone of space crafts.

The BR 03 Car­bon Ce­ramic utilises a spe­cially re­worked ce­ramic which is scratch-proof, fade-resistant, light-weight and hy­poal­ler­genic. Hav­ing a ce­ramic case meant the de­sign­ers at Bell & Ross had to re­design the con­struc­tion for the BR 03 case com­pletely. Eight screws on the case en­sure that this new watch is com­pletely wa­ter resistant. Sized at 42mm, the matte black fin­ishes gives it a stark and mod­ern vis­age, while the white nu­mer­als, shape of the hands and the pho­to­lu­mi­nes­cent coat­ing, al­lows the time to be read in all kinds of con­di­tions, from pitch dark to the bright­est con­di­tions.

Above: B-Rocket.

Left: BR 03 B-Rocket.

Clock­wise from left:

Guyne­mer, PW1 Her­itage pocket watch, Guyne­mer case­back .

Pre­vi­ous page:

BR 01-94

Left: BR03-92 Car­bon Ce­ramic.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.