This year, meet the BR 03-92 MA-1: a streamlined take on Bell & Ross’ purest pilot watch, with subtly deployed details paying tribute to the US Air Force’s now-legendary MA-1 flight or ‘bomber’ jacket of 1958. Encased in dark-khaki ceramic, with a sandwich dial stenciled to reveal the orange luminescent beneath, plus reversible khaki/orange calfskin strap, this is a watch that like the jacket rewards the wearer with military know-how.
Like Bell & Ross' professional watches, the MA-1 flight jacket answered a critical brief in a highly functional way - its sharp aesthetic was a form that simply followed. The widespread adoption of jet aircraft in the Fifties meant that altitudes went higher and therefore much colder. Streamlining and an explosion in avionics also meant that cockpits were more compact.
The MA-1 was reversible too, so its orange lining could serve as a wearable beacon while a downed pilot was waiting for Search and Rescue. The jacket then had a resurgence in the 1970s, becoming a style icon.
The orange khaki color combination has always been synonymous with the military. Dark green shades keep the wearer camouflage in the most extreme conditions whilst orange has deep roots in aviation. Still used today it highlights the most crucial and urgent commands within the cockpit of the plane, from where Bell & Ross originally took its inspiration for the Instrument watches.
Like the jacket, the khaki calfskin leather strap of the BR 03-92 MA-1 is not only lined in orange but is also instantly reversible. Even the stitching is in dark khaki to be completely camouflage, in contrast with the orange detail that is kept hidden underneath ensuring the function of the underside of the strap is a secret to everyone but the wearer.