These two jumping hour watches from Bell & Ross represent their most high-end timepieces for 2012. In the past, Bell & Ross has offered a few other jumping hour pieces – a style and complication that the brand executes very well. Called the WW1 Heure Sautante (Jumping Hour), Bell & Ross didn’t want to just offer one watch in two materials. Instead, the brand decided to offer two distinct dials for the 18k pink gold and platinum models. Both are very beautiful, these are going to be highly limited edition watches.
Bell & Ross mostly offers nice watches at an under $10,000 price point. However, in the past they have dabbled with some ultra high-end pieces. This exploded during the economic boom of several years ago as Bell & Ross became a client of now erased BNB Concept with some rather impressive tourbillon and other high-complication models. While a few tourbillon-based timepieces still exist in the Bell & Ross collection, the brand is really about good looks and everyday wearing comfort at comparatively lower prices. At the same time, CEO Carlos Rosillo often thinks about the watches and images that inspire him. His WW1 (wrist watch one) mission led him to a number of classic shapes and concepts that beg for a more luxurious treatment.
The WW1 Heure Sautante timepieces don’t inherently need to be in precious metal cases, but it helps Bell & Ross define the collection and concept. There is a simplicity to the designs that really asserts some of the minimalistic values the brand has. These are hard timepieces not to like, as they look striking on the wrist. Inside the watches are base ETA automatic movements which have been decorated and augmented with special jumping hour modules. These modules offer the time with instant-jumping hour and a power reserve indicator. There is a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback on the rear of the watch. And the cases are water resistant to 50 meters.
If you believe about Bell & Ross as a manufacturer of mostly oversize, square-cased, aviation-oriented watches, you are not alone. But, Bell & Ross are also the manufacturers of a growing collection of heritage-inspired aviation bits that they predict their Vintage Collection. Today, Bell & Ross have further enlarged the 38.5mm BR V assortment of the Vintage Collection with the newest Bell & Ross V1-92, an aviation-inspired sport watch with a domed sapphire crystal and B&R’s Cal.302 automatic mechanical movement.Clearly drawing design cues from aviation instruments and timepieces of yesteryear, the V1-92’s dial is glossy black with faux vintage colored Super-LumiNova coated baton hour mark, a second scale and sub divisions printed in white, in addition to white printed moment markers rather than hour markers at five-minute increments. The election to go with notable minute markers instead of hour markers demonstrates B&R’s dedication to the vintage flyer feel of the piece as well as a nod to historical pilot’s watches out of IWC and Laco. The twelve o’clock index, a triangle and two dots, is also borrowed from classic pilot’s watches. A white on black date wheel is visible through a window neatly tucked to the 4:30 position — though it’s partly cutting off a few of the figures.
I love the style of the case. It is a bit different than the other WW1 collection pieces, but it retains the loop-style lug structures. Rounded on the edges and totally polished, they are simple but not boring. The cases are 42mm wide, and will be offered either in 18k pink gold or platinum.
While each version of the WW1 Heure Sautante watch has the same movement, you can tell that the dials are totally different. It is hard to choose a favorite because they are both so different. The 18k pink gold model has blued steel hands and I think baton hour indicators. The jumping hour window is framed in gold with a white face. Legibility is perfect given the attractive high-contrast dial. The power reserve indicator helps even out the dial. The only thing missing is a seconds indicator. On the platinum model you have something totally different. The power reserve indicator is mounted the other way around using a disc rather than a hand. Most of the face is gray, with a white inner dial separated by a textured border. This face actually looks more characteristically “Bell & Ross” if you are familiar with some of their older model designs. Attached to the watches are alligator straps.
Bell & Ross will produce 50 pieces of the 18 pink gold WW1 Heure Sautante ($26,000), and 25 pieces of the platinum model ($39,000).
Do you like the design of the Bell & Ross WW1 Heure Sautante Watches?