For 70 years, the Patrouille de France has established itself as one of the most prominent aerobatic display teams in the world. Founded in 1953, the elite unit of the French Air and Space Force has built its reputation on the brilliance of its pilots, chosen from among the best, who have acquired through training a mastery in the art of French piloting and aerobatics.
A partner of the prestigious unit, Bell & Ross is dedicating a special edition BR 03 timepiece to mark its Platinum Jubilee. "The BR 03-92 PAF 70th Anniversary seals this date with a unique timepiece, which is the result of a rich and prestigious history between the house of Bell & Ross and military aviation", says president and co-founder Carlos Rosillo.
The primary goal of the French house is to meet the needs of pilots. As such, the watch was designed alongside them. It adopts the structure of the BR 03, an ultra-light square-shaped case in high-tech ceramic treated with a black coating. Its water resistance — up to 100m — protects the automatic mechanical BR-CAL 302 movement, which indicates the hours, minutes, seconds and date. A luminous shade of blue, evoking the flight suits of the pilots of the Patrouille de France, adorns the dial. Circled in the colours of the French flag, it is also marked with the insignia of the elite display team in addition to its 70th anniversary logo.
Turn it around to find the silhouettes of five legendary aircraft flown by the Patrouille de France since its inception engraved on the caseback. It features the Thunderjet, which entered service in 1953; the Alphajet, in service since 1981; as well as the Ouragan, Mystère IV and the mythical Fouga Magister. The BR 03-92 PAF comes with a matching strap that combines blue alcantara with an ultra-resistant black synthetic material, topstitched in blue, white and red. And the exclusive edition is limited to 999 pieces.
"Since 2021, the French Air and Space Force and Bell & Ross have forged a partnership of trust built around the Patrouille de France brand and strong common values. Self-transcendence, constant innovation, rigour, precision and a spirit of cohesion bring life to the teams of the ‘Grande Dame’ and those of Bell & Ross on a daily basis. And what’s more, it is the demand for excellence and the desire to raise the prestige of French wings to the highest level that brings us together and gives meaning to our association. The French Air and Space Force is proud to celebrate alongside Bell & Ross the 70th anniversary of the Patrouille de France with this latest watchmaking achievement, the fruit of our shared passion," says colonel Yann Malard, the director of SIRPA Air and Space.
This article first appeared on May 29, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.