Renowned among watch enthusiasts for their huge, square-shaped pilot’s watches, the Swiss watchmaker Bell & Ross has recently extended the model range with the new Bell & Ross BR 01 Horizon automatic watch. Presented at Baselworld 2012 and modeled after a real navigational instrument, the new model sports the most unusual dial design.
Although the usual 12-hour scale, as well as the standard three pointers are still there, the whole layout looks very interesting and fresh. I mean, there are probably hundreds of watches that are styled by all sorts of instruments -starting with cockpit clocks of a WWII-era bomber and going all the way down to modern pressure gauges- but only this one somehow manages to seamlessly blend a dial of a wristwatch with a face of a modern navigational device.
Yes, as one can easily gather from the model’s name, the new Bell & Ross BR 01 Horizon was inspired by so called “artificial horizon” gauge: an instrument that lets you know of whether your plane is climbing or descending when you have no other point of reference.
If you have ever played Microsoft Flight Simulator or IL-2 Shturmovik, you possibly know how valuable the instrument is.
The dial of the watch is divided in two parts: there is a black and grey background with a thick white line posing as an artificial horizon and there is also a special bridge at 12 o’clock that “conceals the attachment of the hands” and is also almost directly transferred from an actual instrument (see the picture below.)
Since the bridge could significantly hamper the timekeeper’s legibility, it has a wide semi-arch aperture closer to the bezel flange that allows you to read the hour (black with thick white pointer) and minute (white) hands.
As usual, the watch is presented in a defiantly oversized body whole 46 millimeters wide. Crafted from black PVD-treated stainless steel, the body hides the good old ETA 2892-A2 automatic movement that, in this particular case, comes sans the calendar wheel and only displays hours, minutes and seconds.
At this time, I can’t really tell whether I like this timekeeper or not: it clearly belongs to the category of gadgets that require some getting used to their design. However, I can say with certainty that the new Bell & Ross BR 01 Horizon watch is unarguably worth a look, especially to those desk pilots that always dreamed about flying a real plane but never managed to get their license.
Photos: Bell & Ross
Bell & Ross BR 01 Horizon Automatic watch specification
Price: $5000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber ETA 2892-A2, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 24
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case material: Stainless steel, black PVD
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Square
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 46.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Black and grey
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber or heavy duty canvas on black PVD steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Transparent