Miami Beach, Florida – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
Bell & Ross has always been passionate about military history, and particularly that of aviation, which made precise timekeeping one of its key navigational tools. In 2011, Bell & Ross reached a key stage in its history, updating the first wrist watches worn during the First World War: the PW1 (Pocket Watch 1), and its development into a wrist watch, the Vintage WW1 (Wrist Watch 1). This year, Bell & Ross is marking another key moment in the history of military watch making by reinterpreting Second World War navigational instruments with the Vintage WW2 Regulateur Heritage. With this new release, Bell & Ross pays tribute to the timekeeping instruments used by bomber navigators in the 1930s and 1940s. The Vintage WW2 observation watch emphasizes the minutes display, essential for aviators in calculating their position or flight speed and possessing the ergonomics and immediate legibility of a navigator’s watch.
Watches of the period needed to be immediately clear to respond to the pilot’s needs and the Vintage WW2 adopts the same style with its large 49mm diameter case. To ensure perfect legibility, the minutes are displayed across the full width of the dial. This aspect is again highlighted by the sand-colored digits contrasting against the black dial. Bell & Ross has opted for a regulator movement that ensures optimum legibility of the minutes by separating the time information. The Vintage WW2 therefore features a central hand for the minutes, a counter for the hours, and a small independent seconds hand, enabling a fast and precise reading of short amounts of time. It is a swiss-made complication movement.
The most characteristic identifying element inspired by the navigational instrument, the large bidirectional notched bezel, is used to mark a certain point in time. For greater comfort, the oversized crown has been placed on the left at 9 o’clock, rather than the more traditionally placed 3 o’clock. The large grooved crown and the very wide-notched bezel ensure optimal ease of use, facilitating operation while wearing gloves. As with the original timepieces, the Vintage WW2 has mobile strap fastenings which adjust to the wrist for absolute comfort. It also features a case with a gun-metal grey steel finish that conveys an aged look, giving it the appearance of a watch which has gained a patina over time. The sand-colored hands, numerals and index markers, and the mat leather strap emphasize the authentic nature of this timepiece.
The Vintage WW2 Regulateur Heritage is a true embodiment of master watch-making expertise, combining a complication movement with a sophisticated case. By accurately reflecting period style, this model illustrates the watchmaking firm’s philosophy, which favors the absolute legibility of the time.