Luxury watches sometimes get branded “boys’ toys”, though seldom by the companies that actually sell them. Then again, when the press release accompanying Bell & Ross’ new BR 03-92 Red Radar Ceramic describes its “playful design” as “reminiscent of a stylised toy” you think, yeah, fair enough – there’s really no better way to describe it.
The French company, known for its square watches based on cockpit instruments, launched its Radar Collection in 2010.
The first model in that collection, the BR 01 Radar, featured a clever way of displaying the time using three concentric disks. It was followed in 2011 by the BR 01 Red Radar, a watch that again used discs, this time to mimic the scanning motion of a radar’s light beam.
A red-tinted crystal topping the case completed the whole "flight control instrument" vibe, and it became a cult favourite and, for a long time, Bell & Ross’ bestseller.
Now the company is marking the Red Radar’s 10th anniversary with a new version of the watch containing multiple updates.
The new Red Radar Ceramic features a reduced size (down from 46mm to a more wearable 42mm), its case has moved from stainless steel to matte ceramic, a lighter and more comfortable material, while the biggest updates have been reserved for the dial, which features a more realistic and playful look.
Two concentric discs are now fused with the dial and time is told using two small screen-printed planes that appear to fly around the face. The passenger plane, travelling on the outside disc, shows the hours, and the fighter plane, on the smaller disc, indicates the minutes. A sweeping red central hand displays the seconds.
According to the brand the biggest challenge was getting the colour right, the distinctive red of the face and the rendering of the planes, to achieve the right contrast between the time indicators.
Tool watch or toy watch? Bell & Ross says you can have both.
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