Bell & Ross showed their two Heure Sautante (Jumping Hour) WW1 watches at Kronometry 1999 on London's Bond Street last week. Two new models (first shown at BaselWorld 2012) were on display: a rose gold piece (at left), with jump hour displayed within a small circular window at twelve, regulateur minutes and power reserve at six; and a platinum version with a two-tone dial and slightly different power reserve window (below right). The movement was designed for Bell & Ross by AHCI member Vincent Calabrese, who set up NHC and is now, I believe, working with Blancpain.The jump hour complication is still relatively unusual in modern watches, and it's nice to see a brand like B&R trying something a little bit different At first glance, these watches seem slightly out of character for Bell & Ross, a design-led brand that was originally supplied by Helmut Sinn, created the trend for large, square aviation watches, and has recently launched a range of aircraft instrument-inspired pieces (see more photos here).
However, some of you may remember that a similar watch was debuted at Basel almost a decade ago, using a the same movement, but in the BR 123 case and a limited edition of 99. At the time of their launch in 2003, I believe these watches were the first jumping hour movements to include a power reserve. These new watches are part of Bell & Ross' "new" Vintage WW1 range, a family of pieces that now includes a Monopoussoir. The rose gold version of the Heure Sautante is available at £17,000 and is limited to 50 pieces; the platinum version is limited to a mere 25 pieces and is available at £26,000.
Many thanks to Michel at Bell & Ross, and all at Kronometry1999 for their kindness and hospitality.