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June 2014


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I arrived early on the Bell & Ross booth for the presentation of the B-Rocket – which was how I discovered how a tinned sardine feels. All the motorbike enthusiasts amongst the press corps were there along with many a watch aficionado to catch a glimpse of the concept bike the brand commissioned Shaw Harley-Davidson to design.

The B-Rocket concept motorbike by Shaw Harley-Davidson and Bell & Ross
The B-Rocket concept motorbike by Shaw Harley-Davidson and Bell & Ross

I’m neither a speed merchant nor a motorbike fanatic, but I have to admit that this extraordinary looking aerodynamic machine was something to behold. What I didn’t discover until my one-to-one presentation a couple of days later was that Bell & Ross had also created two models of watches the BR 01 and BR 03 B-Rocket. Great looking timepieces and far less noisy than their two-wheeled namesake.

BR01 B-Rocket by Bell & Ross
BR01 B-Rocket by Bell & Ross
BR03 B-Rocket by Bell & Ross
BR03 B-Rocket by Bell & Ross

The BR01 is a 46mm polished stainless steel automatic watch with hours, minutes, small seconds, date aperture, chronograph and tachymeter scale functions. The dial is black with white indicators and indices and the hands are skeletonized and filled with SuperLuminova. It comes with a padded black leather strap edged in red to match the chronograph push-button and the 12 o’clock triangular pointer. The watch is water-resistant to 100 metres.

The 42mm BR03 version has a big date at 12 o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock and its functions are hours, minutes and seconds – but no chronograph.

Vintage WW1 Guynemer by Bell & Ross
Vintage WW1 Guynemer by Bell & Ross

The other watch that caught my attention was, in comparison, quite simplistic: the Vintage WW1 Guynemer, a tribute to the legendary French pilot Georges Guynemer. Inspired by the wristwatches worn during World War I, the 45mm watch, which is water-resistant to 50 metres, has a red flying Cigogne (stork) on the opaline dial – Cigognes is the name of the pilot’s squadron – and has hours, minutes and seconds functions. The case is in shot-peened steel with a grey PVD finish. The skeletonized blued hours and minutes hands are filled with SuperLuminova and the sand-coloured Arabic numerals match the calfskin leather strap.
The watch is a fitting tribute to Captain Georges Guynemer, who downed 53 enemy planes and a further 35 probables but was killed in action when he was just 22 years of age.