Pre Baselworld 2019: Bell & Ross BR 03 Bi-Compass
In a quest to create the ideal utilitarian watch, Bell & Ross broke traditional watchmaking codes in 2005 with the simple idea of turning a plane’s cockpit into a wristwatch. More than an original concept, the Instruments collection is not only reminiscent of the world of aviation but is immediately recognizable.
Pushing further its exploration of aeronautical navigation instruments, Bell & Ross has since developed other unique and high-tech models such as the BR01 Radar, BR01 Altimeter and the BR01 Climb to name a few. The result was a collection of exclusive watches with innovative displays.
True to its philosophy, Bell & Ross introduces a new version inspired by analog instrumentation of aircraft cockpits, where each instrument is a reference point in terms of precision, legibility, reliability and performance: the BR03-92 Bi-Compass. With this watch, Bell & Ross recreates the graphic style of these navigation tools as closely as possible, offering an alternative to the traditional approach of telling the time.
Design That Enhances Legibility
Bell & Ross designers have borrowed the graphic characteristics of navigation tools to create an original and extremely legible display of time. The result is a design and color code that allows the time to be read quickly and accurately.
The simplicity of the BR03-92 Bi-Compass’s design encases the complexity of its inner workings. Built on a two-tier basis, the dial divides its main center part with the outer part - where the minute track is featured - through a small “step” equipped with a minute-circle. To enhance legibility, the hour and minute graduations have been separated to promote the minutes on the main dial – as in original instruments – while the hours are displayed in the center.
The hour reading is indicated by a green triangle marker which appears in the center through an independent concentric disc which is not graduated.
The technical challenge posed by its design and construction required the best watchmaking expertise:
An ultra-light disc needed to be created to ensure that the power reserve nor the accuracy of the watch was not reduced. Furthermore, the disc needs to be sufficiently resistant so as to not become deformed or risk any friction.
This dual challenge has required the development of specific materials and new techniques.
As it rotates, an adjustment to the nearest micron ensures that the disc is constantly parallel. The accuracy of the assembly requires all the know-how of master watchmakers.
The typography used for the numerals is identical to that on analog aviation counters (Isonorm).
2 Colors Serving Utility
The use of color is important in aviation for the coding of signals, hence the need to set adequate color requirements to ensure that flight crew can recognize information at a glance.
The Munsell green hue indicates the hours and is covered in a photoluminescent coating (Superluminova) that contrasts with the black of the dial, ensuring they can be easily read both during the day and at night
The “coquille d’oeuf” hands and numerals on the dial unveil the minutes and seconds and echoes the legibility principles of professional aeronautical instruments. This color scheme was commonly used on instruments, specifically on US Navy aircrafts.
The anti-glare, black matte ceramic finish of the case is inspired by the color of an instrumentation panel, designed to make the dial easier to read by eliminating glare.
The new BR03-92 Bi-Compass will make its owner feel as though they own a fragment of an aircraft’s cockpit, delighting both aviation fans and watch collectors.
Bell & Ross BR 03 Bi-Compass
Movement: Calibre BR-CAL.302. Automatic mechanical.
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date.
Case: 42 mm in diameter. Matt black ceramic.
Dial: Matt black. Hands, numerals and indices coated in Superluminova.
Crystal: Sapphire with antireflective coating.
Water-resistance: 100 metres.
Straps: Black rubber and ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric.
Buckle: Pin. Black PVD coated steel.
Limited edition to 999 pieces
The price for the Bell & Ross BR 03 Bi-Compass is EURO 3,500.