Bell & Ross AeroGT: watchmaking supercar
The watchmaking and automobile industries have always had a close bond and the also share some common values. Traditionally associated with aviation, today Bell & Ross collaborates regularly with car manufacturers and has introduced the AeroGT in 2016.
After the "Festival Automobile International" in Paris and its recent partnership with French Renault Sport F1 Team, Bell & Ross has introduced its own futuristic concept car – the AeroGT. The brand has also designed two commemorative watches for the occasion – the BR 03-92 AeroGT and the BR 03-94 AeroGT.
Since 2008, Bell & Ross has been a partner of Paris’ "Festival Automobile International" as well as of the "Concept-cars and automobile design" exhibition held at the prestigious Hôtel des Invalides. It would seem that the partnership has spurred on the manufacture’s creativitty. Indeed, the brand has recently presented its own concept-car – a supercar with futuristic lines designed by the brand’s Creative Director, Bruno Belamich (the "Bell" in Bell & Ross), who was looking for new sources of inspiration.
Following the success of the futuristic concept-bike “B-Rocket” in 2014,the aim was now to develop a car as if they were the R&D department of a car manufacturer.
The aerodynanamic lines of the AeroGT were of course inspired by aviation, as this is a field Bell & Ross always stays connected to. The aeroplane-car features a squat carbon monocoque body that includes large wheel flanges. The aeronautic-inspired look of the concept-car is also found: in the design of the rear-view mirror, which is shaped in the form of stabilizing wings; in the design of the back with tailpipes in the shape of aircraft nozzles, and with a rear longitudinal aileron on the engine hood. The large louvres at the front and on the sides supply fresh air to the engine.
It is a V8 4.2 liter twin-turbo engine that is installed in the rear central position and is linked to a dual-clutch 8-speed robotized gearbox. With a 610-horsepower engine, it lives up to its supercar name – maximum speed of 315 km/h and it goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds. Unfortunately, though, you can keep your cheque book in your pocket, as the car is not for sale.
Indeed, and despite the interest expressed by some collectors, the AeroGT is a show car and it will never be manufactured to be sold; not even in an ultra-limited series. However, it will be possible to ‘drive’ it virtually on Gran Turismo 6.
To celebrate the association between car manufacturing and aviation, Bell & Ross has designed two limited-edition pieces based on the iconic BR-03, a tool-watch originally conceived for aeronautic professionals. The 3-hand watch BR03-92 AeroGT and the chronograph BR 03-94 AeroGT take their inspiration directly from the supercar.
The two pieces feature the same technical case as the BR03 (water resistant to 100 meters), which looks like an airplane's flight instruments. With a comfortable 42 x 42mm size, it fits all types of wrists. Made of polished and satin-brushed steel, it also features an anti-reflective sapphire glass.
The fluted crown is enhanced with a red, anodized aluminum ring that matches the red aluminum pusher on the chronograph version. The perforated black leather "racing" strap made of ultra-resistant, synthetic fabric is enhanced with piping and red topstitching. It closes with a polished and satin-brushed steel pin buckle.
Both pieces feature an open worked dial that provides a 3D view of the movement, similar to the smoked-glass engine hood of the AeroGT. The two pieces feature self-winding mechanical movements – the BR-CA319 caliber for the chronograph version and the BR-CAL.318 for the 3-hand version. To reduce their weight, they have been skeletonized, as happens with high-performance GT’s. They both provide a 42-hour power reserve.
The dial of the BR03-94 AeroGT chronograph features three small counters fixed on gray tinted glass. The hour and minute totalizers are placed at 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock. The small seconds at 12 o’clock is shaped like a three-spoke steering wheel, which is commonly found in classic racing cars.
The black flange features a tachometer scale, an essential functionality on any watch linked to cars. The chronograph function is highlighted by touches of red on the hands of the two counters and on the tip of the central seconds hand. The metallic applique indexes and the hour and minute hands have a luminescent coating. And last but not least, the chronograph version sports a date aperture at 3 o'clock.
The BR03-92 AeroGT and the BR 03-94 AeroGT have been produced in limited series of 500 pieces each.