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Few watches are as immediately recognisable as the iconic square Bell & Ross models. Designed for professionals who demand optimal reliability, Bell & Ross watches meet four basics principles : legibility, functionality, precision and reliability. Thus, every detail has its purpose, its function. This technical precision is expressed through pure lines and timeless elegance. Time+Tide is proud to be the Australian home of Bell & Ross online.

HANDS-ON: The updated Bell & Ross BR S Rose Gold sits squarely between the sexes

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When it comes to watches that are described as unisex, quite honestly, very few do a good job of straddling the gender divide equally. Sure, there are plenty of women who’ll happily wear hefty, so-called masculine watches, but it’s a rare Aussie bloke who’ll strap into anything involving diamonds and pastels, even if it’s marketed evenly at both the XX and XY camps. Sound the gender-neutral klaxon then, because today’s watch sits as squarely in the middle as we’ve ever seen – pun fully intended. The latest evolution of the Bell & Ross BR S Rose Gold, which landed in Australian boutiques in December, was squabbled over by everyone at T+T HQ when it arrived last week. Everyone. And you can see why. The signature Bell & Ross silhouette is in full effect, complete with the usual aviation influences, but in this instance the result is far more elegant – thanks primarily to the materials used. The satin-brushed 18-carat rose gold of the case contrasts nicely with the polished screws. The glossy alligator strap matches beautifully with the moody black starburst dial. In place of the small seconds of previous versions, we see a sweeping second hand that makes for a cleaner, less… Read More

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INTRODUCING: Bell & Ross meets brutalism with the BR 03-92 Horolum

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Bell & Ross’s latest take on its classic square draws inspiration not just from aviation, but also – far less predictably – from the realms of art and architecture. The BR 03-92 Horulum is a monochrome monolith of a watch, a 42mm bead-blasted case with matching sandwich dial and complementary pale green C3 Superluminova hands and markings. On this occasion, the aeronautical tie-in isn’t quite what you might expect. It’s not a tribute to the latest generation strike fighter or specialised avionics instrumentation. No, Bell & Ross has gone for something far more down-to-earth this time around: the humble tarmac. The matt grey colour is inspired by the concrete of the runway, with the green lume evoking the lights that guide pilots when landing at night. So far so Bell & Ross. But where do art and architecture come in? Well, the broader design inspiration for the Horolum comes from the Bauhaus (the German design school, not the ’80s goth band), whose utilitarian take on modernist design was hugely influential in the 20th century. Conveniently, it’s also an approach that fits neatly with the tool-like aesthetic of the watch. For the past few years the word doing the rounds of publications such as Monocle and Cereal has… Read More

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HANDS-ON: Is the Bell & Ross BR 126 Aeronavale the best (and boldest) Vintage model yet?

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Bell & Ross has never been afraid of colour. And their bold, highly graphical square instrument watches are a natural canvas for creative experimentation. The brand’s more traditional round watches are a little bit of a different story – inherently more conservative; B&R tend to play things safer with their Vintage collection. Which is why the Aeronavale range is such a big old bolt from the blue – and boy, did the risk pay off. While the form of the Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale (and indeed the simpler BR 123) is the same as regular versions, the execution is simply stunning. Bell & Ross has managed to turned a 43mm steel chronograph, running off an ETA-based movement into a glittering jewel. Key to this transformation is the rich blue starburst dial, with radial brushing. The twin subdials contrast nicely, thanks to the fine circular engraving. Thanks to this ever-changing finish the watch already dances and plays in different lights, but when you add gold toned hands and applied hour markers you get a watch that doesn’t stop. It looks incredible on the wrist. In low lights it looks dark, almost reserved, but as soon as you a stray beam catches it at the… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The updated Bell & Ross BR S Rose Gold sits squarely between the sexes

BellRossBRSRoseGold2

When it comes to watches that are described as unisex, quite honestly, very few do a good job of straddling the gender divide equally. Sure, there are plenty of women who’ll happily wear hefty, so-called masculine watches, but it’s a rare Aussie bloke who’ll strap into anything involving diamonds and pastels, even if it’s marketed evenly at both the XX and XY camps. Sound the gender-neutral klaxon then, because today’s watch sits as squarely in the middle as we’ve ever seen – pun fully intended. The latest evolution of the Bell & Ross BR S Rose Gold, which landed in Australian boutiques in December, was squabbled over by everyone at T+T HQ when it arrived last week. Everyone. And you can see why. The signature Bell & Ross silhouette is in full effect, complete with the usual aviation influences, but in this instance the result is far more elegant – thanks primarily to the materials used. The satin-brushed 18-carat rose gold of the case contrasts nicely with the polished screws. The glossy alligator strap matches beautifully with the moody black starburst dial. In place of the small seconds of previous versions, we see a sweeping second hand that makes for a cleaner, less… Read More

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IN-DEPTH: Bell & Ross think outside the square with the sharply styled BR 123 Aeronavale

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The story in a second Bell & Ross ditch the tactical style of the flight deck in favour of the formality of the parade ground. Ever since I reviewed the surprisingly seductive beige dialled Vintage BR 123 way back in the early days of Time+Tide I’ve had a soft spot for Bell & Ross’s round watches. The Vintage line offers a solid platform for the design-oriented brand play with colour, materials and military codes. Don’t believe me? Look at the watch above, then compare it to the beige dialled version, and finally check out this blacked-out chrono. Same essential platform – three completely different results. The unifying factor? A link back to the world of aviation. In the case of the Aeronavale the inspiration is more parade ground and less flight deck – the distinctive blue and gold livery comes from the dress uniforms of French naval pilots – the Aeronavale. The dial It seems the French navy know a classic colour combo when they see one, because the deep blue and shining gold of the Aeronavale is a real winner. It translates well on the wrist too. The sunburst blue dial and applied gold tone markers and hands look sharp… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The Bell & Ross BR 01 Instrument de Marine – an eighteenth century take on their classic square pilot

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If Bell & Ross’s Skull Bronze implicitly referenced the golden age of exploration with its nautical case material, the BR 01 Instrument de Marine is far more explicit in its influence. This distinctive watch is inspired by marine chronometres, naval timekeeping devices that were crucial for navigation in a pre-electronic age – the eighteenth century equivalent of a pilot’s dash display. Mixing this extremely classical style of watch with the aviation instrument inspired BR 01 case is quite a stylistic jump for Bell & Ross, but oddly enough it works. Instrument de Marine isn’t a single model, rather it’s a nascent collection of three pieces. The BR 01 is the simplest, and I think, the purest option (there’s a chronograph and a tourbillon if you’re that way inclined). The 46mm case is bronze, with inset side panels of rosewood, with titanium details. Yep, you read that right – rosewood. Not the typical case material, but one that, in Bell & Ross’s square case, echoes the large wooden boxes marine chronometres were stored in. The wood might sound odd, but it’s quite a good look in real life, adding some warmth and texture to the watch. And it would be interesting… Read More

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HANDS-ON: Heavy metal thunder – the Bell & Ross BR 01 Burning Skull

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Bell & Ross has a thing for skulls. Since 2009 they’ve regularly enjoyed the danse macabre (or dance of death if your French is a little dusty). Of course, being Bell & Ross there’s an aviation link – the skull is a symbol commonly used by US Airborne Divisions. But as the years pass, the brand has taken the basic concept of a skull-emblazoned BR 01 in some exciting new directions, like 2015’s Skull Bronze. This year, Bell & Ross continues to explore the themes of adventure, daring and general badassery with the impressive BR 01 Burning Skull. For once the giant skull that comprises the dial isn’t the first thing you notice. Instead it’s the intricate black-lacquer filled engraving that stands out. Inspired by the world of tattoos, the 46mm steel case is dominated by the detailed flames that give the watch its name. These flames engulf the entire watch, including the sides and the caseback, which is hands down one of the best-looking solid casebacks we’ve seen in a long, long time. Hidden in the flames are other common tattoo motifs: a rose, a heart, an hourglass and the ace of spades. The skull itself is rendered in… Read More

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