Raise your glasses to the Bell & Ross #NEGRONITIME for The Rake and #SPRITZOCLOCK for RevolutionThor Svaboe
Wow. I am a confirmed dial fetishist and I love bold colours. So why have Bell & Ross and our good friend Wei Koh, founder of The Rake and Revolution, put me in such a difficult situation of having to choose between these two eye-popping pieces of wrist-candy?
The Bell & Ross #NEGRONITIME for The Rake, and #SPRITZOCLOCK for Revolution are luscious, celebratory versions of the classic Bell & Ross bicompax chronograph that are well worth raising a glass to.
These rally-strapped versions of the BRV-94 are the product of the combined imaginations of Bell & Ross and Wei. Both are charming pieces of watchmaking infused with the alcoholic delights of two please-world-open-the-hell-up-again celebratory drinks, the Negroni and the Aperol Spritz. On its orange rally strap, the #SPRITZOCLOCK would pop like mad with a casual suit on a spring day and surely wring a smile from even the most curmudgeonly onlooker.
The seductive red-orange of a perfect Negroni and the deep sun-infused mandarin of a Spritz breathe fresh life into what is a serious twin register pilot’s chronograph. The deep coloured sunburst dials seem almost liquid through the brilliant lacquer work of the Bell & Ross ateliers and offer pure joy for the wrist.
The inspiration for the watches came from the defiant optimism shown by readers of The Rake during lockdown. “So many people, and especially readers and followers of The Rake, began to post images of their daily Negroni to show they were united in this effort to keep spirits high and positivity going,” explains Alain Gafundi, CEO of the magazine.
Tom Chamberlin, The Rake’s editor concurs. “It reminded me of when British officers would shave immaculately when they were in the jungle and about to face insurmountable odds,” he says. “It was a sign that you would never feel defeated.”
At a slim 41mm, the Bell & Ross Bellytanker Chronograph is a twin register, early 60s pilot’s chronograph classic, with twin large counters for the minute – and running seconds. The case is an ergonomic tool with elongated no-nonsense angled lugs, and a proper crown guard alongside the screw-in pushers. The large 6 and 12 balances out the bevelled steel-ringed counters, while the blood-orange red of the #NEGRONITIME looks superb as a reverse (sunburnt) panda, its black eyes a-popping on the lush dial. As befits an airbourne chronograph, the all-important seconds hand is pure white, with a delta-wing jet-fighter counterweight on both references, crisply matching the pure white print and markings. While a very legible chronograph, the little details do bring a palpable sense of glamour that matches the new bold colours. The raised, polished indices and numerals brings an elegant air to proceedings, while the colour matching underscores one of my favourite date window designs, a porthole at 4:30.
The soft contrast of roughed up leather rally straps work a charm in lifting your spirits further, with what is surely the cheekiest twist on a twin register chrono this year. With a height of 13.55mm, it’s a slim enough spotrs watch to fit under that tailored shirt, its aluminium bezel a great match for the brashness of the dials, protected under their vintage-perfect, ultra-curved sapphire crystals. Under the clear case-back, the 42 hour power reserve of the Caliber BR-CAL301 is a sturdy, ETA 2894-2 movement that makes this a perfect everyday piece of wrist-cool. Just one warning, if like me you are partial to the odd Negroni , the colours here are strong enough to encourage you to drink more than one. Watch out.
The Bell&Ross #NEGRONITIME for The Rake, and #SPRITZOCLOCK for Revolution, price and availability:
The Bell&Ross #NEGRONITIME for The Rake, and #SPRITZOCLOCK for Revolution are $4500USD, limited to 50 pieces each. For more details, visit Revolution here.