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