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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.

VIDEO: The 5 standout watches from the 2017 Bell & Ross collection

When Bell & Ross launched their Instrument collection in 2005, they achieved what every new watch brand sets out to: they created an icon. This distinctive range of watches took the cockpit instruments of aeroplanes as their inspiration and suddenly there was a new player in the watch world that you could spot on the wrist at 100 paces. No mean feat when you consider the history and the hype you’re up against. So it turned out the Swiss watch industry, like John Mayer, has found room for squares. But all things must change, and the collection presented at Baselworld 2017 was the most highly evolved pack yet – with new models in a variety of shapes, materials and complications. The unifying factor, if there is one, is a continuing attitude of looking at things differently and balancing the stuffiness with a sense of play.

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HANDS-ON: A square peg in a round hole – the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver

The first Bell & Ross I ever laid my hands on, back in 2008, was the Marine, an uncommon and somewhat unusual beast that took the brand’s trademark dial and transplanted it into a large, 1000m water resistant, tonneau-shaped case that looked like it could handle anything short of being run over by a main battle tank (and even then it’d probably only scratch the case a little). And it turns out that this isn’t the brand’s first foray into the world of hardcore divers (check out the Hydromax). The only issue is that these older models don’t neatly fit into the Bell & Ross family. They’re round pegs trying to fit in a square hole. The newly minted BR 03-92 Diver has no such problems. Bell & Ross has taken the instantly recognisable BR 03 case shape and turned it into their first ever square dive watch. The first thing I thought on seeing it was – why haven’t they done this before? There is no doubt that the BR 03-92 Diver looks every inch the professional diver, as well it should, given that it has all the bells and whistles required by ISO 6425 – the international standard… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS17, inspired by an F1 steering wheel

Two of the most visible trends at Basel 2017 have been bright colours and unusual materials. For their second collection in collaboration with the Renault Sport Formula One team, Bell & Ross’ BR-X1 combines both in one big, bold package. The chassis for this popping Bell & Ross is the large BR X1 case, in lightweight, hi-tech Carbone Forgé. The engine is the same, skeletonised automatic, modular chronograph we’ve seen in previous BR X1 models. But the real winner is the colourful livery. Renault Sport’s yellow is vey much in evidence, in case details and chronograph rockers as well as the thin outer bezel. But it’s inside the dial where things start to get really colourful. The 60-minute scale is demarcated into bold five-minute blocks, with chronograph hands in yellow, running seconds in green and a date window picked out in red. The combination of size, weight and colour makes this a very fun watch to wear. Of course Bell & Ross did not just pick these colours out of the ether, the inspiration comes from the highly technical steering wheel of an F1 car, where colour is used as the fastest way for drivers to identify functions in an environment where… Read More

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VIDEO: The 5 standout watches from the 2017 Bell & Ross collection

When Bell & Ross launched their Instrument collection in 2005, they achieved what every new watch brand sets out to: they created an icon. This distinctive range of watches took the cockpit instruments of aeroplanes as their inspiration and suddenly there was a new player in the watch world that you could spot on the wrist at 100 paces. No mean feat when you consider the history and the hype you’re up against. So it turned out the Swiss watch industry, like John Mayer, has found room for squares. But all things must change, and the collection presented at Baselworld 2017 was the most highly evolved pack yet – with new models in a variety of shapes, materials and complications. The unifying factor, if there is one, is a continuing attitude of looking at things differently and balancing the stuffiness with a sense of play.

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

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

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?

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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