It’s time to tighten your seatbelt and make sure your tray is in an upright and locked position, because we’re about to shake up what you think about this watch brand that lives in the clouds.
A breathtaking design
If you know Bell & Ross — and, if you read Gentleman’s Journal, you probably do — then your first thought upon seeing this watch might have been that it looks nothing like a Bell & Ross. And you’d have good reason to think that — as the sky-high brand have mostly established themselves as manufacturers of square-cased pilot’s watches.
However, these two limited edition watches have been released in conjunction with the BR-Bird: A very special flying machine, capable of competing in aerobatics shows, weaving between 10 meter high pylons, from Bell & Ross’ design studios.
While Bell & Ross, as a brand, have always been very closely tied to aviation, this is still a timepiece on a tangent. Following the colour scheme of the plane, a white dial with orange and blue detailing, these are stand-out watches with a strong aviation aesthetic.
What it's like to wear
The first thing we noticed when beginning our week with this watch was just how soft and supple the calf leather straps are — a great fit to any sized wrist. Not only this, but the straps and buckles don’t dig into your wrist if, like in the GJ offices, you find yourself sat at a computer all day. But it copes well in the outside world as well.
With a super scratch-proof domed sapphire crystal, this watch adds a great vintage element to what would otherwise be a very modern-looking timepiece. The decision to make the crystal domed was a stroke of genius, helping to lift the already-vibrant dial even further out of the case.
When the dial hits the sunlight, you notice a real glint, and the small orange arrow that indicates your current date really pops. And those blued steel seconds hand — or orange on the chronograph — which also feature the BR-Bird motif as a counter weight, are a nice touch to keep the dial interesting.
When and where to wear them
While the time and date version might not be a dress watch, its vibrant colours make it a useful everyday, casual watch. With a smaller case size — 38.5mm — it is also perfect for those with slimmer wrists, such as your writer.
The chronograph, on the other hand, is far closer to what we think of as a pilot’s watch. Screw down crown and pushers are present, and it feels solid enough to stand up to the most acrobatic G-forces.
So if you’re looking for a watch that channels barrel rolls and loop-the-loops, then stop your search. But head to your nearest boutique now — with just 999 models of each being produced, they’re going to fly off the shelves quicker than the BR-Bird.
If you prefer to deep sea dive than explore the skies check out this Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Grande Date…