By Jovan Krstevski
If you remember the impressive Bellytanker racer, you will love the new watches presented by Bell & Ross, the BR V1–92 and BR V2–94 Bellytanker. As for the Bellytanker, it was such a streamlined race car using a concept based on a freaking fighter jet fuel tank so yes, it was very aerodynamic and it is very cool to see this feature in a BR watch.
The automatic BR V1–92 Bellytanker is the simpler watch displaying the hours, minutes and seconds with a subtle date window at 4.30. Where it excels is on its streamlined 38.5 mm case in brushed steel which is perfect for dressy occasions. The metallic copper dial reflects the color of the wheel rims of the race car and boy it is that rustic. The nose of the Bellytanker is also echoed on the minute track with black color. As for the ultra-curved sapphire crystal, well it reflects the windows of the race car as well as the classic fighter plane’s cockpits. The metal indices and numerals are appliques and adding more legibility is the Super-LumiNova used on the skeleton hands. The subtle round date window between 4 and 5 o’clock is also very nice.
Powering the BR V1–92 Bellytanker is the BR-CAL.302 movement encased in a solid caseback sporting an engraved profile of the B&R Bellytanker. It beats at 28,800 vph and cranks out 41 hours of power reserve. Finally, the watch wears on a dark brown leather strap aged to a vintage appearance. The BR V1–92 Bellytanker is limited to 500 pieces and sells for Euro 2,300 each.
The second watch is the BR V2–94 Bellytanker, a chronograph with two counters: a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock and a 60-second counter at 3 o’clock. The 41 mm case is crafted from satin-finished polished steel offering that sporty yet classic look. What we like about this case is the fixed bezel with a tachymeter scale, it is a solid vintage element used for noting the speed of a race car at any time. Plus the crown and push buttons are screw-down adding more water-resistance capabilities to the watch so you wouldn’t really be afraid to use this piece on a wet racing event.
That led them to Dubois Dépraz, the famous manufacturer of mechanical complications located in Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux. DD is famous for its chronograph modules. Bell & Ross selected Dubois Dépraz’s automatic chronograph Caliber DD2169. Collectively, they put about customizing it.Says Belamich, “We worked together with Dubois Dépraz to have a skeleton structure with our plates and our own finish so we can provide a more original motion, more special, more Bell & Ross.” A sword motion in a chronograph is unusual. But that was just the beginning of it. Bell & Ross desired a particular construction for the top bridge; Belamich had designed one in the shape of an X to reinforce the X-1 theme. They wanted all the bridges treated using a black PVD (physical vapor deposition) finish of their option to provide an haute horlogerie touch to the motion. Belamich wanted two counters, not three, to make the chronograph simpler to read. He desired the chronograph 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock to be larger than the running minutes counter at 3 o’clock. Additionally, he designed a exceptional chrono minute counter featuring an aluminum disc shaped like the blades of an airplane engine turbine. A red pointer on one of the four rotating turbine “blades” suggests the passing minutes. In keeping with the aviation issue, he made the indicator on the small-seconds subdial at 3 o’clock to resemble the radar display on an airplane dashboard.All these adjustments to the original Dubois Dépraz caliber resulted in a exceptional motion that DD makes only for Bell & Ross.
As for the “Panda” dial of the BR V2–94 Bellytanker, it is called as such because of the contrast between the black counters against the gold dial – elements found on the race car. The date subtly sits between 4 and 5 o’clock just like the first watch.
The BR V2–94 Bellytanker sports a sapphire case-back showcasing its chronograph mechanism’s gear train. The 4 Hz BR-CAL.301 calibre sports about 41 hours of power reserve. The version with a solid case back features an engraved profile of the B&R Bellytanker.
The watch wears on a retro-inspired dark brown leather strap and retails for Euro 3,990 and limited to 500 pieces only. It can also be be mated to a sportier metal bracelet for Euro 4,300. Both watches are rated to 100 meters / 330 feet of water resistance. For more info, please visit bellross.com