Functionality, durability, reliability: Bell & Ross WW2 Military Tourbillon

Thread: Functionality, durability, reliability: Bell & Ross WW2 Military Tourbillon

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    Functionality, durability, reliability: Bell & Ross WW2 Military Tourbillon

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    The First World War ushered in the acceptance of the wristwatch for men. Until that time it had been mainly the preserve of ladies. Things were to change rapidly. With new weaponry such as fighter planes and armoured vehicles appearing on the battlefields, time-keeping devices had to keep up with the changes in technology.

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    Functionality, reliability, precision and durability, became crucial factors. In order to protect the fragile glass covering the dial, some watches were protected behind fully fledged metal grilles. Unveiled at Baselworld earlier in the year, Bell & Ross’ Vintage WW2 Military Tourbillon, is reinterpreting a glorious watchmaking past, with an exceptional timepiece that incorporates four complications within a 45 mm titanium casing, equipped with a protective cover.

    Once serving as armour plating, today the protective cover serves as a frame to display the complications

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    Throughout the First World War, combat —both in the air and on the ground— posed the greatest risk to the fragile mineral glass of watches. The metallic grilles protected the dials, but also hampered visibility and made watches difficult to read.

    Today’s watch glasses, made from sapphire, are solid and no longer require the use of protective shields. For this reason, the cover of the WW2 Military Tourbillon goes becomes an integral part of the watch. The openings that have been incorporated into the design of the metal reveal all of the information provided by the timepiece and its complications, thereby enabling the wearer to focus on the essential when glancing at the watch face.

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    Thanks to the option of having the cover open or closed, this WW2 Military Tourbillon has two faces. And while it evokes a military past, its protective shield design now serves merely to add visual appeal.

    Bell & Ross have chosen to fit their top-of-the-range watches with a tourbillon. Due to its capacity to compensate for the effects of terrestrial gravity on certain of the major components movements, this concept, developed in 1801, still remains the iconic symbol of fine watchmaking.

    Four complications in the same casing

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    Four tourbillon complications, the precision indicator, regulator and power-reserve are integrated into the round casing of the Vintage WW2 Military Tourbillon.

    The crosswise layout of the various functions combines readability and functionality. Raising the protective covers reveals the dial in all its glory. The contrast of the matte black flange around the circumference, the “Côte de Genève” decorated metallic surfaces and additional counters, which play on this contrast to reinforce readability, creates visual depth.

    The WW2 Military Tourbillon features a regulator movement, a watchmaking principle whereby hours and minutes are displayed via separate dials. While the minute hand has a central axis and sweeps across the entire dial, the hour hand has a dedicated miniature dial positioned at 12 o’clock.

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    At the 3 o’clock position, another hand (Trust Index), turning on a semi-circle, indicates the level of precision of the movement on the basis of the tension of the barrel spring. At 9 o’clock is the power reserve indicator (5 days), which rounds off the information provided by the precision indicator. Between them, these complications mean that the wearer of the watch is not required to wind up the movement to ensure the optimal function of the watch.

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    Finally, the dial opens at 6 o’clock revealing the tourbillon’s pink gold “cage”, of which a rotation lasting one minute allows the Bell & Ross «&» symbol to play the role of a small second.

    Details in the construction and finish of the casing capture the spirit of a period timepiece

    Although the casing seemingly stems from the past, with its patina style and its oversized striated crown to allow for good grip, it is made from satin-polished Grade 5 titanium, to which a PVD treatment lends a gunmetal grey colour, entirely in keeping with the spirit of the watch. The use of titanium enables the reconciliation of the 45 mm diameter of the casing with Bell & Ross requirements regarding weight and strength. The bracelet, available in aged leather or brown alligator skin, is comfortable and allows flexibility thanks to the movable lugs.

    All of these construction and finish details enable the Vintage WW2 Military Tourbillon to authentically convey the true era of the timepiece.

    Visit the Bell & Ross website
    Last edited by Michael Weare; October 24th, 2013 at 03:58.

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