Inspired by aeronautical design, watchmaker Bell & Ross has once again commissioned Shaw Harley Davidson to design a concept bike with a sleek and powerful look evoking the modernity of the 1960s and the very first American jet aircraft. Bell & Ross and Shaw Harley Davidson worked side by side for over a year on the design of the B-Rocket. Does it drive or fly? The answer lies in its uncompromising aerodynamics.
A low driving position is selected and this ensures that the motorcycle and rider are as one. For the rider’s comfort, strips of padded leather are placed on the center of the fuel tank and turbines where the knees rest. A conical nose resembling that of a jet plane is attached in the front to improve air intake. A matte black strip crosses the glossy paintwork for an anti-reflective effect and a glass windscreen enables the rider to see his route. Meanwhile, two adjustable fins on both sides of the fork can be used to increase or reduce contact with the ground.
The curved rear section required many hours of craftsmanship. Inspired by an aircraft cabin, this hand-worked area was manufactured using more than 30 different sections of steel. The concept bike also features an impression reinforced by stabilizing lines of its tail fin.
The almost invisible Plexiglas sections around the rear wheel reveal the pinion, chain and brake calliper. Finally, the wheel rims add an ultra-aerodynamic touch to the B-Rocket, while the sold, fixed aluminium wheel covers conceal the 10-inch brake disks. These are cooled via impressive brass grills which allow hot air to escape and reinforce the overall impression of floating and controlled speed.
The technical originality of the B-Rocket can also be seen in its two side-mounted turbines. Two new types of filters have been incorporated into these turbins: the first, on the right, for the intake of air; the second, on the left, to cool the oil. These two jet engines are united by a hand-crafted stainless steel grille protecting the hydraulic tanks during activation of the clutch and the brakes. The symmetry of these two engines strengthens the symbolic appeal of this unique airplane-motorcycle.
Finally, a tachometer designed by Bell & Ross has been incorporated into the front fairing to allow the rider to remain attuned to his machine’s heartbeat. Here again, esthetics merge with functionality; the canopy and the tachometer combine extreme legibility with the rapid display of information regarding speed.
In the wake of the B-Rocket, Bell & Ross is launching two watches which perform complementary functions. The BR 01 B-Rocket is the ultimate watch for drivers. Just like the high-speed motorcycle it is designed to go with, this instrument is impressive. However, it is the chronograph that sets the BR 01 apart.
It has a large minutes counter with a tachymetric scale on the outer edge of the dial, which measures short periods of time and allows your performance to instantly be displayed. It also has three additional counters which provide further information: a 60-second, 30-minute and 12-hour counter. From a functional point of view, the chronograph is automatically triggered by the highway push-piece. In a flash, the small seconds counter, at three o’clock, replicates the graphic display used in experimental vehicle testing.
In the more elaborate BR 03 B-Rocket version of the watch, the 42 mm satin-brushed steel case is fitted with two complications. The hours, minutes and seconds display features a large date window and a power-reserve indicator. In regards to the sub-dial, there are cut-outs in the dial revealing the discs operating the large date window, highlighting just how sophisticated the mechanism is.
The circular power-reserve counter at 6 o’clock is reminiscent of the fuel gage seen on racing motorcycles or cars. With their sophisticated finishes, the BR 01 and BR 03 B-Rocket can communicate, making dimmed headlights within easy reach. In terms of colors and materials, nothing has been overlooked in the detail of the finish of these models: red, black, steel and padded leather are there to prove it. Their satin-brushed steel cases, worthy of the most superb fuselage, are powered by a self-winding Swiss mechanical movement.
The matte black dial and the graphic display emphasizes the colour contrast. To accentuate the emphasis on readability, the skeletonized hours and minutes hands are also coated with a photo-luminescent material. To stress their association with the world of driving, a red triangle marks 12 o’clock echoing the triangle visible on the B-Rocket’s tachometer and turbines.
Finally, both watches are fitted with a padded leather strap, lined and edged in red, modelled on the seat of the B-Rocket. Naturally, to meet the requirements of Bell & Ross in terms of reliability, resistance and readability, both the BR 01 and BR 03 B-Rocket are water resistant to a depth of 100 meters and fitted with anti-glare treated sapphire crystal.