Bell & Ross has unveiled its latest horological ode to aviation, the BR 03 Red Radar Ceramic. Marking the tenth anniversary of the original Red Radar, launched in 2011, this new watch is housed in a tough black matte ceramic case with a technically advanced design.

‘The original piece was a phenomenal success at the time and remained one of the brand’s best-sellers for a long time,’ says creative director and co-founder of Bell & Ross, Bruno Belamich. ‘Its design – very similar to an aircraft radar – was surprising and spectacular in equal measure. Its graphics reproduced the scanning motion of the light beam on a radar screen with stunning realism.’

Black bell and ross watch with a red face with planes flying on it

The new piece, while also taking an aircraft control radar as its inspiration, adds a greater dose of realism thanks to two rotating discs that fuse with the dial and appear to conjure up two tiny aeroplanes soaring over the face. The discs also act as replacements for the hour and minute hands in a new way to tell the time. The passenger plane, travelling on the outside disc, shows the hours, and the fighter plane, on the smaller disc, indicates the minutes. A slim hand alongside the two planes shows the seconds.

The distinctive red of the face remained tricky to achieve. ‘The biggest challenge was to determine the right colour,’ explains Belamich. ‘We had to play around with the rendering. We wanted to get that contrast between the time indicators – the planes on the discs – and the sight on the glass. There was a lot of testing. To manage this, the sight was printed in orange on the underside of the glass. As for the luminous beam and the two planes, they were painted yellow to obtain the desired shades.’

With its sharp, design-led technicality and familiar details, such as the circle-in-a-square design that nods to an aircraft cockpit clock, the BR 03 Red Radar Ceramic stays faithful to the instrument watches that are a Bell & Ross speciality. ‘These models make up the instrument panel of an aircraft and offer a completely new way of reading time,’ adds Belamich. ‘Settling Bell & Ross’ instrumental identity, the design approach of the Red Radar display hides a treasure chest of sophistication. Using technical and graphical tools and tips to translate this display type at the tiny scale of an analogue mechanical watch was an innovative exercise at the brand’s creative studio.’ §