The Bell & Ross Limited Edition Heading Indicator5:09 am
From night time flying to low visibility flying, a pilot must always trust his instruments. And a pilot’s survival often depends on the accuracy and reliability of his analog instruments that help him navigate and enable him to keep track of other critical data.
Bell & Ross has been producing watches inspired by actual aeronautical instruments since 2010. The designs are primarily based on cockpit controls that are essential for flying and navigation. B&R, with its 3 latest additions to the aviation line, embodies the same reliability, legibility and performance that these instruments deliver. Time and again, B&R designers have pushed the boundaries by integrating tools from the cockpit to the wrist where each timepiece is made with extreme craftsmanship for utmost precision. The final creation is not just technically spot-on but has a highly functional side to it too.
Video courtesy Bell & Ross: The aviation collection
This time we present the Bell & Ross Limited Edition Heading Indicator; it’s easy to see where the watch took its inspiration from. This watch is definitely a conversation starter; the work of the best watchmaking engineers out there. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of its design for it well camouflages the great complexity of its inner workings! Let’s explore some of them.
FLYING ON COURSE WITH AN AIRCRAFT HEADING INDICATOR
Flying an aircraft involves dealing with a collection of complex functions and the heading indicator, commonly known as the gyro-compass, is one of the important ones. It is a type of non-magnetic compass that’s based on a fast-spinning disc which tracks the rotation of the Earth to automatically find the geographical direction that the plane is heading in. It plays a crucial role in maintaining a consistent course on an aircraft as well indicating the course – both on autopilot and manual modes.
The BR 01-92 Heading Indicator graphically represents the gyro-compass. Echoing the elements on the original instrument, there are indications on the outer disc – W, E, and S (for West, East and South) and a yellow triangle (for North; also used to indicate the hours). It has a cool layout, with its graphics creating an original and innovative appearance.
TIME TELLING INSPIRED BY THE HEADING INDICATOR
The dial has been constructed with three independent concentric disks. The first two are reserved for the hours and minutes to tell time in a way that resembles the instrument’s function. The seconds’ disk is displayed in the centre, which is not graduated but features a yellow coloured marker. Hours are read by the yellow triangle, which appears on the outermost disc. And minutes can be read from the intermediate disc. The rotating discs ‘hours-minutes-seconds’ show the time, and as much as the Heading Indicator resembles a navigational instrument, it is actually a watch!
And then there were challenges
The watch posed a technical challenge, as each disk weighs 30 times more than a watch hand. So, the discs needed to be ultra-light in order to maintain the watch’s power reserve and accuracy. At the same time they had to be strong enough to avoid deformation and minimize friction. To solve this dual challenge posed by its design and production, and to get the mechanism to work flawlessly, a special new material and technique to adjust the rotation to the nearest micron was innovated by master watchmakers.
Another very distinct element from the original instrument is the yellow outline of a plane on the top layer of the dial, just as seen on an actual gyro-compass. So, here are the important takeaways from the BR 01 Heading indicator – it is a highly sophisticated work of art and an unconventional time display inspired by aviation, inside the sporty exterior is an ETA – 2892-A2 based movement and a power reserve of 40 hours (aviators definitely need a good power reserve). The 46 mm black carbon PVD finish case is intended to emulate the look of a cockpit instrumentation panel and to make the dials easier to read by eliminating glare. As always, it has a solid case back. The watch is water-resistant up to 100 meters.
The aviation watch comes in a 999 piece limited edition along with a special packaging and a rubber and heavy-duty synthetic fabric strap. The watch has superb visibility and goes beyond the concept of the traditional reading of the time. The BR 01 with all its intricacies and inimitable characteristics is definitely a collectable for a watch connoisseur.