You may have noticed we’re all about the Bell & Ross AeroGT collection this week. After all, who didn’t spend their childhood creating jet-inspired cars, and imagining a world in which they could exist. Seriously, how much fun must B&R have had working on the AeroGT – and extending the concept out into two very cool watches. We’ve already reviewed the the three-handed BR03-92, but so far we’ve only given you a quick taste of the chronograph with our 60-second video. Now it’s time for a little more focus.
Let’s cut to the chase. This watch is all about the dial. Or rather, the lack of it. The skeletonised dial is at the heart of the AeroGT’s appeal. Rather than opt for something ornate, Bell & Ross has gone for a more brutal approach, with lots of straight lines and machined finishes. It’s an effect that’s entirely on-brand, and brings to mind a racing team removing all superfluous elements from their car in an effort to reduce weight and increase performance. And just in case all the weight-savings aren’t enough, Bell & Ross has added some go-faster details – chronograph indicators and date arrow. Nice elements that break up the otherwise monochromatic colour scheme.
If the dial is fresh, the case is classic Bell & Ross – its square case inspired by airplane instrument panels only adding to the dial’s industrial look. Thanks to the shape, the AeroGT wears larger than the 42mm measurement might suggest, though it’s very comfortable thanks to the short lugs. The chronograph pushers and crown fit neatly into the design of the case, and the red start pusher and matching crown tube add an extra speedy touch, while the four (functional) bezel screws serve as the cherries on top.
The detailing continues to the thick, padded rally-style calfskin strap with its accents of red piping. It has a slightly vintage feel, which is a little at odds with the ultra-modern look of the watch. But though I would have expected to see a rubber and leather combo instead, the rally strap actually works.
The BR 03-94 AeroGT is powered by the BR-CAL.319, based on an ETA 2894-2. Interestingly the layout of the chronograph is tricompax, with three subdials rather than the two that usually show up on Bell & Ross chronographs. The finishing of the movement is utilitarian – no stripes, no anglage – just lots of plumb lines and straight machine brushing. And again, it works.
In some ways the AeroGT is a clear evolution for Bell & Ross. It’s got the square case, the aviation tie-in, and a clear aesthetic link to the BR-X1 range. But there’s enough novelty in the design (not to mention the car) to be confident that the brand’s love affair with the square isn’t cooling off any time soon.
Want to see what happens when I press this red button?
Who’s it for?
Petrolheads who’ll get a real kick out of a watch based on a totally unavailable concept car.
What would we change?
It might end up looking like overkill, but I can’t help thinking a little more contrast in the movement would look cool. Maybe some red movement parts, or perhaps black?
Bell & Ross BR 03-94 AeroGT Chronograph Australian pricing and availability
The Bell & Ross BR03-94 AeroGT, $13,000, is limited to 500 pieces worldwide.