Let me start by saying that I’ve always been purely driven by aesthetics and design. I am first attracted to the watch, the rest should be an afterthought, right? Well, not quite! You see, it has to be a marriage of two parts, but finding the perfectly designed watch (which, in my case, has to also be a tool watch) that ticks that horological spec has always been a chore.
My first introduction to Bell and Ross came over 10 years ago. When Panerai made its name as the tool watch with, arguably, a degree of horological prowess. The B and R stood out as the tool watch, but it did not have the provenance nor the pedigree to equal that of an Italian counterpart, however, I soon gave in and purchased my first Bell and Ross.
It was a 47mm beast of a watch but somewhat less obtrusive than Panerai. It was beautiful to stare at; masculine yet elegant, but that’s where it ended. The horological side of things was pretty non-existent. I mean it was mechanical, it was ‘Swiss Made’, it even had a robust ETA movement inside ticking away, but the precision and execution was appalling. To put it simply; that was the start and end of my love affair with such a new brand. I realised that you must not get too caught up on looks, it also matters what is under the bonnet.
Fast forward 13 or so years, Bell and Ross have upped their game, and they still have that wonderful design ethos. They still outsource their movement, (it’s no longer ETA but now Selita), but it just ticks with more precision, more attention to detail, more care to being that perfect all rounder of aesthetic and care to the history of horological watchmaking.
Rewind five years when Bell and Ross struggled with identity; they tried to adorn every car supporting event, they tried to do what Hublot, or dare I say what Richard Mille have done relatively successfully, but, in my view, their contribution failed abysmally.
Fast forward five years and things are very different, namely with the Bell and Ross Military Camo in ceramic. Now this is what I’m talking about them going back to their roots, bringing back what they did better than most. -military inspired tool watches with a wonderful clean aesthetic.
The new BR03-92 Black Camo is the latest addition to the successful series of Bell and Ross watches of a time gone by – for the brand has now developed an original military-type tricolor coating. Its dial is covered with a patchwork of matte greys, its case and strap adorned in matte black and the high-tech ceramic ensures the upmost durability for the wearer. The timepiece is practically undetectable, especially at night with its matte-treated colours also avoiding the risk of undesirable reflections.
Bell and Ross told me that they pride themselves on some clear, basic principles: legibility, functionality, precision and reliability. Thus, every detail has its purpose and its function. This technical precision is expressed through pure lines and timeless elegance.
The BR03 collection of Bell and Ross is directly inspired to aeronautical instrumentation, this is a recognised standard in terms of readability, reliability and performance. It is not by chance that Bell and Ross defines the very term tool watch.