Bell & Ross' BR-01 Airborne limited edition released at the last Baselworld Fair was a great hit. It may not exude professionalism like its more traditional counterparts, but the design of the watch is all about paying tribute to the type of professionals that Bell & Ross base their company credo on. With the new limited edition BR-01 Airborne 415 and BR-01 Airborne 672, Bell & Ross bridges a fairly wide gap between Military and bejewelled Haute Joellerie watches.
Only 99 examples of the Airborne 415 and 99 of the Airborne 672 will be manufactured. The skull is directly inspired by the symbol adopted by many Airborne divisions of the US military forces. It juxtaposes both the power and vulnerability of these courageous paratroopers. Many regiments adopted the motto "death from above" to inspire fear in their enemies. Perhaps the phrase "fire from above" would suitably capture the fire and brilliance presented by these diamond studded watches.
The nomenclature for these timepieces is based on the number of diamonds that are set on their cases. Both watches offer a dial that is paved with natural white diamonds. The 259 full-cut round brilliants are individually set by hand to fill the shape of the skull. The 156 black diamonds are set on the bone-shaped bezel of the Airborne 415 to compliment the dial, while 413 black diamonds adorn the watch's entire face on the Airborne 672. The diamond weight total's 2.78 and 5.57 carats of high quality diamonds on each watch respectively.
The BR-01 Airborne 415 and 672 both come with a new version of the wide BR strap made of black shagreen. The traditional black rubber strap found on many of the other Bell & Ross "Instruments" is included as a secondary option. The new band is made with natural grained galuchat. This comes from the leather of sting rays and actually consists of hundreds of tiny ivory beads that offer a unique, exotic, and luxurious glossy finish.
A water resistance rating of 100 meters, a secondary rubber strap, and the military skull and bones symbol retain the symbolic link to military airborne divisions that the original Bell & Ross BR-01 Airborne presented. But the rare, diamond studded 415 and 672 Airbornes are more suited to be luxurious, high-quality, fashion accessories then professional instruments. The high brilliance of the hundreds of hand-set diamonds, the sumptuous shagreen strap, and the precision Swiss manufacturing of the automatic movement and case will please any watch collector or luxury fashionista.
Images: Included in the images are the Bell & Ross Airborne 415, the Bell & Ross Airborne 672, and a side-by-side comparison of all three limited edition Airborne models.
By Marco Gagliano
Expert of Bell & Ross watches, mattbaily.ca