Bell & Ross is known for its bold watches inspired by the world of aviation. A few years ago, the brand partnered with Shaw Harley-Davidson in the UK to develop a custom motorcycle and watch duo. Last year, they created a watch inspired by the French Rafale fighter jet.
This year, Bell & Ross is stepping into the automotive world with both feet, introducing the Aero GT concept car and watches.
“We enter into a new universe, like our partnership now with Formula 1, with which we share common values like technicity, performance, excellence and innovation,” says Bruno Belamich, design manager, Bell & Ross. “Thanks to this combination of expertise, we aim to push the watchmaking discipline to another level.
“Every year, in order to create new models, I need new sources of inspiration,” he continues. “Following the success of our B-Rocket motorbike in 2014, I wanted to go even further and design the Bell & Ross car. The aim was to produce a car that can ‘hold its own’, even amongst automotive professionals. But above all, this challenge was a great joy. 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.”
The 42mm steel AeroGT watches come in a chronograph version as well as a three-hand model, both skeletonized to showcase the movement and create a 3-D effect. Both versions are strictly limited to 500 pieces each for the world.
Translating the unique style of the car into the watches was a challenge. “It took us over a year to design this concept car and the watches,” Belamich says. “We wanted to create the archetypal driver’s watches, and thus, the aim was to highlight the sophistication and beauty of the watch motor. The two timepieces include details recalling dashboard counters of GT sports cars such as the small fixed triangle indicated 12 o’clock and the use of cultured red on the 3-handed version, but also functions that are devoted to measuring short period of time with the chronograph movement or the tachymeter scale used to calculate the speed of a car. It is also translated in the straps which feature black quilted leather, reminiscent of luxury car interiors, with micro-perforations and red topstitching to recall the seats of the best sports cars.”
For now, the concept car remains a design exercise, but Belamich is open to actually producing the car. “First and foremost I took great pleasure working on this project and I hope that people will feel the transposition of our passion through this concept,” he says. “I am rather proud of the coherence we were able to maintain with our brand identity and our DNA. It shows exactly what a Bell & Ross car might look like! At this moment we do not have any plans to build a prototype, but of course we are exploring the possibility.”