June 6th 2014 marked the occasion of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, and current and documented coverage of the greatest seaborne land assault, and arguably the greatest military gamble in modern history, gives us a scant idea of what the bravest young men faced that day and in the weeks and months that followed. We do know and respectfully acknowledge the human sacrifices that were made as the war entered into what would become the final phases of WW2.
Recalling a time in history which pre-dates their own by many decades, the Bell & Ross collection boasts a very limited edition Bell & Ross Military Tourbillon timepiece, a watch which marries the asbolute necessity for robust durability with the refined rarity of haute holology, considered aesthetics and functional design.
Bell & Ross WW2 Military Tourbillon – A Tribute to Endurance
For a simple wristwatch to endure the violence of recoil from the soldiers’ Lee Enfield and M1 rifles and the blast effects of exploding ordnance as well as the general abuse it would have received was a tribute to the many wartime manufacturers whose task it was to provide such a durable watch.
The Bell & Ross Military Tourbillon is a really interesting contemporary interpretation of a front line instrument (ok, the tourbillon might not exactly have been standard issue!), and its most immediate feature is a hinged cover which closes over the face of the watch to protect the array below from potentially damaging impacts – although it’s not the watch to take into ‘mano a mano’ battle. But whereas in the past such a device would have most likely (and affordably) been a metal grille through which time was not so easy to determine, this new Bell & Ross cover is scuplted and hollowed and obscures none of the watches indications, because each of the five functions have been ergonomically laid out on a stunning dial designed for use with the cover closed over, although with its horizontal Côtes de Genève striping one which would be equally, if not more, desirable minus its titanium shroud.
Bell & Ross WW2 Military Tourbillon – Undercover Operation
The principal functions are of course the hours and minutes, and here a regulator option is used, with the hours displayed at the 12 o’clock position with a long central minutes hand whose luminous tip can be seen through a pair of windows in the cover as it sweeps past below. A descending five-day power reserve indicator is positioned at the 9, and opposing at the 3 is a rather unusual but practical metric – the ‘Trust Index’ – which, based on the tension of the barrel spring, displays a precise indication of deliverable accuracy at any one time as its energy is released.
The tourbillon which occupies the 6 o’clock position is the crowning technical embellishment, placing the Bell & Ross Military Tourbillon Limited Edition firmly into the lofty haute horology sector, and uses the top of the signature ‘&’ device to indicate seconds as it rotates inside its pink gold cage.
Weight is minimised throughout with the use of PVD treated satin finished Grade 5 titanium for the 45mm case, cover and striated crown, and this weight conscious theme extends even further through to the uncommon application of carbon fibre for the bridges and plate which offer an unusual vista of the material’s black weaved fingerprint on the hand-winding movement through the sapphire caseback.
Available in a small edition of only twenty pieces worldwide, the Bell & Ross Military Tourbillon is presented on a choice of either brown alligator or aged ‘period’ leather straps, and mobile lugs on the case ensure a wrist hugging comfortable fit. Sticker Price 90,000 GBP.