For the third time in four years, Bell and Ross has taken a unique approach to watch design, drafting a unique concept vehicle around which to design a new series of limited edition watches. Last year the AeroGT concept surfaced, looking perfectly suited for the Geneva Auto Show floor, but when it comes to the Bellytanker there is much more history at play.
The Bellytanker concept’s roots trace back to hot rod legend Bill Burke and the creation of the P-51 Bellytanker. The speed-obsessed Burke had grown familiar with the P-51 whilst fighting in the South Pacific, and one day in 1946 the idea struck him to turn one of the plane’s aerodynamic belly tanks into a land-speed racer destined to dominate the salt flats.
Playing on the vintage charm of the Bellytanker, Bell and Ross created a pair of timepieces, each limited to 500 examples. The BR V1-92 ($2,300) is the simpler of the duo, coming in a 3-hand configuration with a muted copped dial and black and white accents mimicking the Bellytanker’s copper trim and fuselage details. The BR V2-94 (from $4,400) adds a chronograph complication to the equation with contrasting black subdials and a steel tachymeter bezel. Having recently spent time with the non-limited BR V2-94 Black Steel on bracelet, we can attest to the charming design and comfortable proportions of the 41mm self-winding chronograph. The addition of its aforementioned bezel and unique dial color significantly add to its appeal for anyone looking for an approachable daily-wearer with a bit of personality.