The young Swiss watchmaker has recently presented three novelties in a BR 01 Aviation collection which, with other three pilot’s watches from 2012, form an extraordinary Flight Instruments Collector’s Box. Each of six pieces is inspired by a different instrument from aircraft cockpits, making the set extremely interesting for professionals, but also for all passionate watch collectors who aim to have limited creations in personal position. Bell & Ross produced 99 of these Collector’s Boxes to be available in the brand’s boutiques around the world, while the special Flight Instrument Collection Orange Box will be auctioned at the Only Watch charity event in Monaco. New three models are called Heading Indicator, Airspeed, and Climb, while the rest of the collection consists of Horizon, Altimeter and Turn Coordinator watches.
Taking the design from the most important flying and navigation instruments, Bell & Ross created entire range of attractive pilot’s watches, each distinctive by unique style and performances. The first of three novelties, the BR 01-92 Heading Indicator is inspired by an instrument called a gyrocompass that shows an aircraft’s course during both manual flying and autopilot. The second one is the BR 01-92 Airspeed watch, based on an anemometer that indicates an aircraft’s speed in relation to the air through which it is flying. Finally, based on variometer or vertical speed indicator that displays whether a plane is ascending, descending or in level flight, there is the BR 01-97 Climb timepiece.
All three pieces come with robust, 46 mm cases, made of black carbon with PVD finish, recalling the design of a cockpit instrumentation panel. Each case features a square base with four screws, as well as a round black bezel in the same material. It is combined with a black strap crafted in rubber and heavy-duty synthetic fabric. Watches are protected with sapphire crystals with non-reflective coating and they have water- resistance of up to 100 meters (330 feet). The BR 01-92 Heading Indicator and BR 01-92 Airspeed house ETA 2892 automatic mechanisms, while the BR 01-97 Climb watch is powered by an ETA 2897 self-winding movement. On photographs, you can see the models which were introduced at the Baselworld 2013 watch show. The difference among them and the Only Watch edition is a choice of orange instead of yellow indices.
BR 01-92 Heading Indicator Watch
The dial of the BR 01-92 Heading Indicator has a very interesting dial design which consists of three independent, concentric disks, each indicating hours, minutes or seconds. The yellow (or orange in the Only Watch edition) triangle pointer at the outer disk serves as the hour indicator, while the minutes are displayed by the middle disk. Finally, the luminescent hand on the central disc displays seconds. In order to optimize the loss of power and to keep the high accuracy, Bell & Ross had to develop special, ultra light materials and new techniques. Along with their lightness, these materials need to be strong enough to avoid deformation and friction.
Characteristic features that recall the design of the gyrocompass are the compass indications W, E and S on the outer disk, as well as the indication for north which is replaced by the yellow triangle that indicates hours. At the center of this attractive dial, there is a yellow (or orange) outline of an airplane which is engraved under the sapphire crystal glass.
BR 01-92 Airspeed Watch
The BR 01-92 Airspeed watch has a serious look of the professional flying instrument. This faithful reminiscent of the anemometer displays hours on the central graduation, minutes are indicated on the main dial, while the seconds scale runs over the outer rim, along with three colors that indicate levels of criticality on a cockpit anemometer — green, white and yellow. Hands and indications are covered with white photoluminescent coating for the great legibility. The robustness of the dial, as well as its deepness make the watch even more readable.
BR 01-97 Climb Watch
The BR 01-97 Climb is the watch with the simplest design in the collection. It has the design of the variometer, with one exception – the indication of vertical speed on the original device is changed with the power-reserve indicator that keeps the design of the original, with the luminous indication “Up” and “Down”.
In order to match the design of the instrument as close as it is possible, the Swiss watchmaker created just one white luminescent hand to indicate minutes, while the hour hand matches the black color of the dial. The minute hand and markers are treated with white photo luminescent coating that makes the watch highly readable. The date window is located at the 3 o’clock position.
Other Three Models from Flight Instrument Collection Orange Box
For those who want the full collection of these authentic timepieces, there are three more models which were released last year at the Baselworld watch fair. There are also robust, 46 mm cushion shaped models, with steel, matte black PVD finished cases, black rubber straps and water-resistance of up to 100 meters (330 feet). Inside timepieces, there are modified Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movements.
Inspired by the Altimeter instrument, BR 01 Altimeter watch features a big date window at the 3 o’clock position, smartly chosen to mimic the look of the pressure indicator. Bright hands and markers are covered with luminescent material.
I particularly like the look of the BR 01 Turn Coordinator watch. Although, from the functional point of view, there is no explanation for a completely unused lower part of the dial, this is the design code that nicely mimics the look of the turn coordinator instrument from an aircraft’s cockpit, so that the connoisseurs of the topic will probably enjoy it. This instrument serves as the flight symmetry indicator that prevents the aircraft from sliding or slipping. By taking its graphic, the Swiss watchmaker used the upper part of the dial for indicating time, by three concentric discs. The outer disc displays the hours, while the smaller disc in the middle indicates minutes. Finally, there is a central turning disc that shows seconds.
At the end, there is a BR 01-92 Horizon timepiece which is the most avant-garde watch in the collection. It looks like a contemporary artistic piece which mimics the design of the instrument called artificial horizon. The bi-level dial is divided into black and gray parts, by the luminous horizon line. Indices at the outer rim, as well as hour and minute hands are highly legible and at the same time, they make a nice contrast with the surface.