Speed has always been a key source of inspiration for Bell & Ross. Since it was founded, the watch brand has also demonstrated a passion for the very latest technology. These factors constantly push the brand to excel, and to develop highly complex mechanisms for its watches. By extension, Bell & Ross is interested in all extreme machines.
This year, Bell & Ross has returned to its passion for engineering, creating its retro-influenced Bellytanker racecar, with missile-like aerodynamics. It is built using a fuel tank from a fighter plane. Fitted with an engine and four wheels, this tank is transformed into a streamlined racer. The Bellytanker is best known for taking part in speed trials on the huge salt lake flats of the North American West. These gigantic open stretches of desert, where most of the water has evaporated, are particularly well suited to motor racing competitions. The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah are the most famous example.
Originating in the forties and fifties, the term «Bellytank» initially referred to the emergency drop tank fitted in the belly of fighter planes. «Bellytanker» is now mainly used for the high-speed race cars manufactured directly from these spare tanks.
So Bell & Ross have released the Bellytanker Collection of watches inspired by this Bellytanker racecar. These watches are limited and numbered. It comes in a time a date version on a strap limited to 500 pieces and it’s also available with a chronograph function on a strap and on a stainless steel bracelet limited to 500 pieces.
BR V1-92 Bellytanker Limited Edition of 500 Pieces
The time and date version pictured above is stainless steel is 38.5 mm in case diameter, It has a curved AR-coated sapphire crystal and it is water resistant to 100 meters. The engraved caseback features a profile of the Bellytanker racer. The movement is the Swiss automatic Bell & Ross caliber 302 (base Sellita SW300-1) with 25 jewels, 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 38 hours. Functions are: hours, minutes, central seconds and date.It has a unique metallic copper gilt dial with metal applique numerals and indices. Metal skeletonised SuperLuminova hands. Aircraft-shaped counterweight on the seconds’ hand. It’s fitted on a vintage dark brown calfskin leather strap with a steel pin buckle. This is limited to 500 pieces and retails for $2,300. Honestly, I thought I would like this version better than the chrono but I am not a fan of the date and 38.5 mm is too small. If there was no date and it was bigger it would be a tough decision. That being said it has nice dial with applied numerals & indices and it’s somewhat clean at an affordable price point.
BR V2-94 Bellytanker Chronograph Limited Edition of 500 Pieces
The chronogragh version pictured above comes on a bracelet or a vintage style brown leather strap. The one on a bracelet is more my speed. It has that vintage Rolex Daytona look with black contrasting subdials. The case is bigger at 41mm and it has a fixed bezel with tachymeter scale and screw-down crown and pushers. It has a curved AR-coated sapphire crystal, a sapphire display back, and it is water resistant to 100 meters. The solid caseback version has an engraved profile of the Bellytanker racer. The movement is the Swiss automatic Bell & Ross caliber 301 (base ETA 2894-2) with 37 jewels, 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 42 hours. The functions are: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock. Date. Chronograph: 30-min timer at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds. The only things I am not a fan of are the date, the movement and the price. At $4,700 it’s more than double the price of the time and date version. To be honest, both versions should have in house movements. Tudor has proven to us that reliable in house movements can be manufactured for not much more than non in house manufactured movements. For $350 more I would rather have the Tudor Black Bay Chronograph which you can read about HERE. That being said I am in love with the color of the dial on this watch and the black contrasting dual regisitered chronograph subdials as well as the stainless steel bracelet. I would have liked to have seen both strap versions be a lighter distressed tan color but that’s just me. You can always purchase custom made straps from many different manufacturers after.
Contact me HERE to help you get either of these watches at a better price and no tax depending on where you live.