Though the worlds of aviation and motor racing may be miles apart, literally, both share figurative similarities in their requirements for high performance and precision instruments. For a watchmaker such as Bell & Ross, whose roots are mantle-deep in aviation, the difficulties in producing a collection away from its forte are not as challenging as that mixed metaphor we came up with. While Bell & Ross may not elicit the same sort of response as other esteemed brands with closer associations with motor racing, its race-inspired collection is forged with the know-how of the Formula 1 Renault F1 Team. Launched during BaselWorld 2019, the BR 03-94 R.S.19 celebrates Bell & Ross’ partnership with the Renault F1 Team, now into its fourth year.
The driving force behind the partnership is passion, which underpins both forward-looking organisations. For this chronograph, Bell & Ross melds its history in aviation and military specifications with motor racing-inspired elements, producing an instrument of the highest quality.
The BR 03-94 R.S.19 is based on Bell & Ross’ iconic chassis of the Instrument collection, measuring 42mm across in stainless steel. It forgoes the typical codes of stealth and ruggedness with an eye-catching array of green, red and orange colours inspired by the steering wheels of Formula 1 race cars. Shaped by Bell & Ross’ expertise in crafting ultra-functional tool watches for professionals, it races ahead with a black carbon fibre dial, an essential high-tech material for Formula 1. A yellow tachymetre chapter ring adds the finishing touches to the Renault F1 Team’s signature yellow and black colour codes.
Powering the watch is Bell & Ross’ automatic chronograph calibre BR-CAL.301, which is based on the ETA 2894-2 calibre. The chronograph configuration is pretty standard – aside from the riotous colours – with a central chronograph second hand, 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, and small second counter at 3 o’clock. What are decidedly not standard are the chronograph start/stop and reset actuators, which resemble the gear-shifting pedals found on motor racing steering wheels.
An interesting addition to the watch is the bi-directional anodised aluminium countdown bezel. The knurled bezel is used to set the remaining time before or during an event. It works like this: rotate the bezel so that the time remaining is set to the minute hand. When the minute hand reaches zero on the scale your timing event is done. The 999-piece limited-edition BR 03-94 R.S.19 is paired with a perforated black rubber and is water-resistant to 100 metres.
Movement Automatic Calibre BR-CAL.301; 42-hour power reserve
Case 42mm in stainless steel; water-resistant to 100m
Strap Perforated black rubber strap