Many have often written off Bell & Ross as an overpriced 46mm square “aviation-inspired” watch brand with stock ETA movements. Others (like myself) have waited in quiet reverence for the day to finally arrive- The Vintage WW1 Heure Sautante from Bell & Ross. A grand complication with the simplest of dials, B&R’s latest collection stands proudly, shoulder to shoulder among the ranks of haute horlogerie.
While Jumping Hours are not exactly a new type of complication (last seen from the William Baume collection) I do applaud Bell & Ross and their collaboration with Vincent Calabrese. Rather than the usual minute and hour hand, the hours are printed on a rotating disc with numerals viewed through the aperture at 12 o’clock; and because it lacks the ticking seconds hand, the power reserve indicator at 6 serves an important function- letting the user know how much power is left. That said, B&R’s foray into manufacture movements heralds an interesting addition to the world of haute horlogerie. Perhaps a subtle declaration of war against their naysayers but I say without irony (or pun), “it’s about time.”
Available in pink gold and platinum, I was quite glad that Bell & Ross has stepped away from their signature squares and skulls and this time brought some classic elegance and prestige to their timepieces. Like other high end timepieces, the movement is decorated with hand finished cotes de geneve on all the right places- bridges, main plate and oscillating weight. The models are the sincerest replica of old school 1920s wire handle “lugs” that are soldered to the case much like the original wrist watches. Sensually curved and accompanied with narrow watch bands, the Vintage WW1 Heure Sautante are Bell & Ross timepieces you can finally call true dress watches.