Finding new sources of inspiration and design is, for a watch brand, both necessary and dangerous. A certain, Italian-born brand creating dive watches might be the best example of the non-success of “staying true to its roots“. Evolution is a mandatory evil. It is also the raison d’être of the AeroGT collection by Bell & Ross, a necessary move in a different direction, away from its military roots, and instead shifting the focus to super-cars. Based on the chronograph model launched in 2016, a second version, the Bell & Ross BR03-94 AeroGT Orange Skeleton Chronograph, has now been unveiled.
Back to the 2016 model. Just as they did in 2014, with the B-Rocket models, the AeroGT collection was not just a model based on sketches. It find its justification in something actually rather cool, and quite unique in the watch industry. No aviation or military DNA here, but supercars. While the instrument watches, inspired by dashboard-tools will remain the cornerstone of the B&R collection, the brand had to move in different directions, in order to prevent collectors from getting boredom and to find new opportunities. Never rest on your laurels…
The Bell and Ross Aero-GT3, a 3D-prototype designed internally, by Bruno Belamich
The AeroGT is based on an internal design, not of a watch, but rather a sports-car (designed by the Bell of Bell & Ross, co-founder Bruno Belamich). The idea was to design a car that could be the interpretation of the Bell & Ross spirit. The AeroGT Concept Car was the starting point for the creation of a new pair of watches inspired by the automotive world – the BR 03 AeroGT models. And for 2017, both the car and the watch undergo a facelift, with a new color scheme.
The word Supercar is synonymous with the terms lightweight, technical, mechanical, architectural shapes, modern lines and of course, that fuel-power and engine-taste many watch aficionados also enjoy on a regular basis. As a result, a supercar-inspired watch usually means a chronograph – as the chronograph is the definitive instrument to wear in such cars, particularly if the idea of timing a lap or the 0-60mph pops into your mind. While the first batch of AeroGT watches also included a skeletonized 3-hander, the main focus was the chronograph version, the BR03-94 AeroGT, a limited edition of 500 pieces. This is this exact watch that today receives a strong and bold color scheme, with bright metallic orange accents all around.
To maintain some consistency with the car that inspired the collection, the choice has been made to have a skeletonized version of the automatic chronograph movement. Thus, the face of the Bell & Ross BR03-94 AeroGT Orange proudly exposes its mechanics, with sharp and angular bridges, reminiscent of the chassis that surrounds the engine of a supercar, brightly plated in orange. The movement, calibre BR-CAL.319, displays the indications in a 6-9-12 layout (the base movement is an ETA 2894-2). The orange color is also found on the tachymeter scale surrounding the dial, as well as the accents on the hands and the tracks.
The case used for the Bell & Ross BR03-94 AeroGT Orange is the traditional and iconic round-within-a-square, dear to the brand. It is here presented in a 42mm x 42mm version, in steel, with circular-brushed flat surfaces and polished accents on the bevels. Again, some orange accents are found, for instance on the starting pusher and on the perforated leather strap. As usual, the watch wears rather large (square shape obliges) and imposes a certain presence on the wrist, with the orange color making it quite visible.
Just like the first versions of 2016, this new Bell & Ross BR03-94 AeroGT Orange is a rather cool watch, which must be seen as a nice evolution of the brand’s design codes. The addition of orange all around won’t make it easier to wear and definitely sets it apart. Is it a watch for the masses? Certainly not. It is a piece that must be assumed. However, this is not the point of such limited editions, as again, we are talking about 500 pieces for this version. Price: EUR 7,900. More details on the dedicated page on bellross.com.
Technical Specifications – Bell & Ross BR03-94 AeroGT Orange Skeleton Chronograph
- Case: 42mm x 42mm square case – stainless steel, brushed and polished – sapphire crystal on the dial side – 100m water resistant
- Movement: calibre BR-CAL.31 (ETA 2894-2 base) – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 42h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date
- Strap: perforated leather strap with steel pin-buckle
- Reference: BR0394-SC-ORA/SCA
- Availability: June 2017
- Price: EUR 7,900