The Vintage Garde-Côtes Automatic by Bell & Ross was designed as a tribute to French coastguard helicopter rescue services. In addition to this automatic version, a chronograph with pulsometer scale is also available. The orange, grey and white colour scheme was directly inspired by the equipment used by the Garde-Côtes services. The water resistance of 100 metres – sufficient to resist splashes, rain, even surface swimming – and the bi-directional rotating bezel make this the perfect all-weather watch.
The watch has several of the classic Bell & Ross design features, such as large hour numerals in the brand’s habitual typeface, with generous SuperLuminova for good night-time visibility, and an orange seconds hand with aircraft-symbol counterweight. The small date window is nicely integrated into the design, with vertical numeral. The case is 41 mm in diameter, in stainless steel. The steel rotating bezel has a ring in black aluminium and a 60 minute scale. This makes it possible to take approximate measurements of elapsed times, or to set a countdown, with a degree of approximation.
The crown is screw-down, with a protector on the caseband. The watch is powered by the self-winding BR-CAL.302 movement, which is presumably a personalized version of the Sellita SW300. Power reserve is 38 hours, and the watch runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hertz). The watch has a sapphire caseback revealing the movement, no photos as yet.
Price and reference
The Vintage Garde-Côtes Automatic by Bell & Ross is available on a black rubber strap with steel pin buckle, reference BRV292-ORA-ST/SRB, price €2,600, or on a steel bracelet with folding clasp, reference BRV292-ORA-ST/SST, price €2,900. In many ways it is quite similar to the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club, for example in the orange highlights and overall sports watch layout. Further information on the Garde-Côtes Automatic from the Bell & Ross website.