Welcome to Always On Time, where we’re always there when you call with the most interesting new watches in the world.
The watches: the Bell & Ross Alpine F1 Team collection.
The single best thing about these watches: They wanna go fast.
The backstory: While the hottest racing-inspired timepiece in the world is the Rolex Daytona (inspired by the famed NASCAR race in Florida), there’s reason to believe Formula 1 could be the dominant force in watches in the not-distant future. Along with Netflix’s Drive to Survive series, which documents the sport behind the scenes, collaborations with brands like Bell & Ross are giving watch collectors another reason to pay close attention to the European race series. Of course, if you’re already an F1 fan, you’re probably a watch person, and vice versa: between IWC sponsoring Lewis Hamilton and Richard Mille taking inspiration from the McLaren team (and even the president of the FIA, F1’s governing body), the overlap between racing and watch fans is well documented.
Now, Bell & Ross is releasing three new pieces to commemorate the first year of the Alpine F1 racing team. (Alpine used to be known as the Renault team—which Bell & Ross has sponsored since 2016.) The new branding means B&R are trading out Renault’s classic black-and-yellow color scheme for Alpine’s sleek black-white-and-blue palette. The colors are seen across a trio of new pieces: the round V3, the square 03, and the supersized square and skeleton-dial X1. The new colors are nice, but my favorite detail is a small one: the counterweight on the blue seconds hand is an “A” with a bolt running through it. The design is technically borrowed from the Alpine logo, but it has big Avengers vibes.
We’re flying: Bell & Ross’s roots are in aviation—among the company’s most famous pieces are special editions for the French Naval Air Force and German astronauts. However, it’s easy for pilot watches to slip into the cockpit of a Formula 1 car (or for a racing watch to suddenly find itself in orbit). The Omega Speedmaster, famously known as the Moon Watch, was originally built for the racetrack. Bell & Ross’s new Alpine watches have no problem going in the opposite direction.
Where and when to buy them: the Bell & Ross V3 (on a leather strap for $4,400, or on a bracelet for $4,700) 03 ($6,400), and X1($21,500) are available for preorder on the brand’s site now.