Bell & Ross Vintage Bellytanker: Singapore Price And ReviewWritten by Alvin Wong
Taking the old-school route with Bell & Ross.
For those who don’t know, Bellytanker isn’t a cute nickname for a beer-chugging mate. The name refers to a niche of high-speed racecars made from emergency drop tanks hung from the bottom of old fighter jets, which are known as ‘bellytanks’. In the 1940s, a speed freak known as Bill Burke wanted to build a super-fast car to compete in races, and decided that the teardrop-shaped bellytanks were aerodynamically perfect. So he hooked up a V8 engine to the bellytank, and hey presto, a cult of crazy racers was born from that moment on.
But back to Bell & Ross. The watch brand has been cosying up to the world of motor racing of late, evinced from its sponsorship of the Renault Sport F1 Team, as well as taking an interest in the development of motorbikes and racecars, such as the B-Rocket motorcycle from 2014, and the Aero-GT, an avant-garde aircraft-inspired supercar from 2016. This year, with the development of the watch brand’s own Bellytanker racecar, Bell & Ross again took the chance to introduce limited edition tickers to commemorate the project.
Given the retro spirit of the Bellytanker, Bell & Ross enlisted its Vintage collection to deliver the nostalgic feels. The choice of the throwback-inspired range isn’t just apt, but a refreshing change of scenery, given the omnipresence of the signature BR collection, which has dominated the brand’s roll-outs.
We love how Bell & Ross has gone all-out to frame the limited editions through sepia-toned lenses. The watches’ classic round cases, domed sapphire cases, cream-coloured dials and leather straps are straight of the 1940s to 1950s aesthetic rulebook. The effect is especially pronounced on the chronograph models, which feature contrasting ‘panda-style’ sub-dials, recessed bezel engraved with tachymeter scale and screw-down chronograph pushers.
Bell & Ross fans will have a challenge choosing between the classic three-hand model (BR V1-92), and the sportier chronograph (BR V2-94). Although the chronograph appears more striking and is endowed with greater presence, the three-hand model is, in our opinion, the more versatile option, which works brilliantly whether as a dress watch or weekend accompaniment. Either way, though, owners of a Vintage Bellytanker can lay claim to having a very special watch, as only 500 pieces of each model will be produced.
38.5mm, stainless steel (BR V1-92)
41mm, stainless steel (BR V2-94)
|Copper, with contrasting 'panda' sub-dials for the chronograph|
Automatic Calibre BR-CAL.302 (BR V1-92)
Automatic Calibre BR-CAL.301 (BR V2-94)
|Brown calfskin or satin-polished steel|
Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph (BR V2-94)
Hours, minutes, small seconds, date (BR V1-92)
500 pieces each
S$3,700 (BR V1-92)
S$6,900 (BR V2-94)
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Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.