Bell & Ross, the French brand with a penchant for producing military watches, has launched Vintage Garde-Côtes, a set of tool watches that pays tribute to the Coast Guard, specifically the divers and helicopter pilots involved in sea-rescue missions.
These military and civil units operate with helicopters in extremely risky and many times, spectacular tasks. The two watches – a diver’s watch and a doctor’s chronograph with a pulsometer scale on the bezel – are based on two watches that exist in the Vintage line but are inspired by the colors used by the Garde-Côtes.
The metallic grey of the dial recalls the fuselage of helicopters used by rescuers at sea. The orange on the dial and the second hand reflects the visual codes associated with maritime safety. Designed for optimal time reading, it is also the color of the suits worn by the divers aboard during missions because this color is visible at great distances and essential during sea rescues.
The three-hander (BR V2-92) uses a 41 mm satin-brushed stainless steel case. It is fitted with a domed sapphire crystal and a rotating steel bezel with anodized black aluminum ring and 60-minute scale to time mission-critical operations.
The matte-grey dial uses the bold numerals and hour indices style associated with the brand. The numerals, indices and minute hands are coated with Super-Luminova to ensure optimal readability in the dark. A date aperture is placed at 4.30 and the aforementioned orange ring on the periphery of the dial brings a pop of color to the otherwise sober dial.
The sapphire crystal is engraved with the symbol of sea rescuers: the buoy and the anchor. The watch is powered by the self-winding BR-CAL.302, a 4 Hz movement that is based on Sellita SW300-1 and has a power reserve of 38 hours.
The chronograph version (BR V2-94) uses a 41-mm brushed stainless steel case with screw-down chronograph pushers and is fitted with a steel bezel with anodized black aluminum ring with a pulsometer scale and topped by a domed sapphire crystal. The dial has the same color scheme but uses a two-register layout with a 30-minute counter at 9 o’ clock, a running seconds at 3 and a central chronograph seconds hand.
This timepiece is powered by the self-winding BR-CAL.301, which is based on the ETA 2894-2. This is a 4 Hz movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. Both watches are paired with a vintage-style rubber strap with a tang buckle or fitted with a brushed stainless steel three-link bracelet.
Prices? The diver’s watch start from $3,105 (rubber strap) and $3,465 (stainless steel bracelet) and the chronograph is priced at $4,650 (rubber strap) and $5,017 (stainless steel bracelet).