A Grey Dial Bell & Ross BR03-94 Rafale Replica Watch is the obvious choice for this sort of pilot’s piece, for a WWI or WWII warbird you might be able to get away with a time-only watch, but a supersonic jet-fighter? That deserves a little bit of complication.The only other break from the monochromatic goodness that is the Rafale is the tachymeter text, which breaks the symmetry of the dial for me, but I understand that visually the watch is highlighting the functionality – as befits the utilitarian spirit of the piece.
To celebrate the Falcon Bell & Ross released special editions of their vintage feeling BR 123 and BR 126 watches.This isn’t the first partnership between Dassault and Bell & Ross. In 2013 B&R celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Bell & Ross BR03-94 Rafale Replica Watch Falcon, which is one of the world leaders in the rarefied realm of private jets, and its success is partially due to the fact that the civilian design draws strongly from the technologies and design considerations of speed and manoeuvrability that dominate in the world of military aviation.
The fiercely independent French are pretty proud of the Bell & Ross BR03-94 Replica Watch, so it makes sense that Parisian based Bell & Ross, who are partial to a timepiece inspired by the world of military aviation, would pay homage to this home-made machine with its own watch. The BR03-94 Rafale is a unique version of their square chronograph and is limited to 500 pieces. And when we say the plane is French we mean it – it is almost entirely built and developed by Dassault in France.The Rafale is France’s next generation fighter, capable of anything from photography to nuclear strikes.
(It’s a very cool logo by the way). Dassault were involved in the design of the watch, and when they saw Bell & Ross’ initial proposal they wanted to see more of the plane represented.Be assured though, the partnership involves more than just slapping a picture of the plane and a Rafale logo on the dial. So the dial colour is a perfect match for the paint used on the plane, as are the Arabic numerals. As you do. According to Bell & Ross after these changes were implemented the President of Dassault managed to find some time while he was negotiating the sale of jets to India to sign off the design.
The big ceramic case of the Bell & Ross Replica Watch just looks right with the distinctive delta wing silhouette of the Rafale emblazoned on it.But while the civilian Falcon model was nice, the Rafale is so much more ‘on-brand’ for Bell & Ross.