Recently I found myself marvelling over the design of a 1980’s Metro dashboard. It may be no Bugatti or Pagani but there is a certain charm to the graph-like lines and no-nonsense layout. Of course, I’m not the only person looking at dashboards for inspiration. Bell & Ross have practically built a brand out of the utilising the legible design-codes used in aeroplane cockpits.
Their latest release goes right back to their routes in this sense. The HUD (heads-up display) is based on the literal view of a fighter pilot while in combat. With no time to look down at the instruments while travelling at supersonic speeds, all the necessarily information is displayed on transparent glass screen. It’s a handy gadget which has made its way into luxury cars over the past decade.
Bell & Ross have created numerous watches centred around the design of aviation instruments over the years – radar, altimeters and last year’s Bi-Compass, which is very much this watch’s predecessor. It shares the same black PVD 42mm x 42mm square case, the same rotating inner disc indicating the hour and even the same multi-tiered dial used to differentiate the minutes.
The difference is of course the luminous green painted expansively across the dial. Except it isn’t painted. What gives this watch it’s unique digital look is a tinted sapphire glass which uses a green pigment coating applied to the underside to prevent degradation.
On the dial you have bold Arabic numerals for 12,3,6 & 9 with the minutes displayed in multiples of fives, strong indexes and of course the box corners completing the homing missile look. It’s as if an enemy fighter could appear at any moment and the words ‘locked’ flash up while you blast that sucker to smithereens. With legibility in mind, all of these are coated in Super‑LumiNova C3.
Powering the watch, you have the automatic BR-CAL.302 which is a modified version of the Sellita SW 300-1 ébauche, offering 42 hours of power reserve.
Although 42mm sounds large, it’s slightly smaller than we’re used to from the brand and when combined with the lack of lugs and strap options (rubber or synthetic Velcro) you can bet it will be comfortable to wear. 999 units will be produced at a cost of €3,500.
Price & Specs:
Brand: Bell & Ross
Model: BR 03-92 HUD
Case/Dial: 42mm, matte black ceramic
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre BR-CAL.302 (Sellita SW 300-1), automatic
Functions: Hours by disc, minutes, seconds, date
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Strap: Black rubber and ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric and additional black PVD-coated steel pin buckle
Price/availability: €3,500 EUR, limited to 999 pieces
More details at Bell & Ross’ website.