Friend of Revolution, Azzam Jamil (a.k.a. @tourbillonlifestyle) pens his thoughts as an owner of the special edition Bell & Ross x The Rake & Revolution “El Mirage” chronograph.
My Omega Speedmaster is a trusty companion of mine. It’s no secret that the ‘Speedy’ is a great machine, but when you’ve worn the same watch for as long as I have, sooner than later the itch for something new to strap on, can become quite the preoccupation. And if you’re anything like me in such a state of mind, you’re most likely to start obsessively trawling through the web for the next addition to your collection. Lucky for me, my search was not a long painful one. Very quickly, my search, led me to the Bell & Ross Bellytanker “El Mirage” created specially for The Rake and Revolution. The rest, shall we say, is history.
It’s difficult to list down a set of rational reasons why the El Mirage was “it” for me, except to say that, from the moment I first saw photographs of the watch, that champagne dial really stuck in my brain. The 2017 launch version of the Bellytanker had been on my radar since its introduction. But I always felt there was something to it that was missing. So, my initial interest in the El Mirage wasn’t much of a surprise.
What was, however, a surprise to me is just how deeply the El Mirage became etched into my head. It got to a point where I might as well have put the page listing the watch on Shop.Revolution.Watch as my desktop wallpaper. I was clearly infatuated. No spoilers then to say that my infatuation soon turned into commitment. I put pen to paper and placed an order for my very own El Mirage.
My El Mirage arrived at my doorstep a few days later, which to me, felt like a lifetime. I know that a lot of you are used to buying watches through online stores without having first seen or handled it on your own. I on the other hand don’t always find myself comfortable with the thought of buying something without having handled it for myself. So, you’ll have to excuse the apprehension I felt as I took my El Mirage out of its box.
As I held my new watch in my hand for the first time, the feeling that was coursing through my veins was that of confusion. The watch looked nothing like the images I had memorized by now. In fact, it looked even better.
The deep gold hue of the dial accompanied by the glossy hour markers of the El Mirage, creates for character that is far richer than is possible to convey or perceive through images. Even the best pictures I’ve seen of the watch on Instagram and on the Internet, fall short of the watch’s true self.
Additionally, the dark brown subdials give the El Mirage a warm, worn feeling — an effect that I believe, Wei Koh and Bell & Ross CEO, Carl Rosillo have absolutely nailed. Not to mention the stabilized bronze case, which creates the mirage (pun completely intended) of aged gold.
It’s really a matter of personal taste, but I can’t say I’ve ever been too much of a fan of the overly patinated bronze watches that seem to swarm my Instagram feed. In the case of the El Mirage, the stabilized bronze results in a more gradual aging. So, while I’m thankful that my El Mirage is not going to turn into a grimy, green monster any time soon, the subtle patination it does take on showcases the life it’s lived with me, without trying too hard.
It is a combination of all these little details that to me makes the El Mirage the perfect homage to the chronographs of yesteryear. The 41mm case is perfect for my wrist (which is probably average/small and used to a 44mm Speedmaster).
An unlikely but important thing to point out is that the El Mirage’s leather strap is extremely comfortable. The strap, in fact, has received just as many (if not more) compliments as the watch itself.
Over the two months that I’ve worn the watch now, the leather of the strap, too, has taken on a beautiful patina. It seems to be getting darker over time, complimenting the stepped chocolate subdials that appear to take on different shades in various lighting conditions.
As my fingers are typing away, I’m wearing the watch on a brown perlon strap (more suited to the heat of summer) highlighting its versatility; a quality I plan to take full advantage of, when wearing the watch with layers in the cooler months ahead.
The El Mirage is certainly a unique watch, and will no doubt stand out when accompanied by the pieces to enter my collection in the latter half of this year. I didn’t manage to touch on the watch’s backstory, but you should definitely have a read of it, here.