What exactly is a bellytanker?

The bellytanker or belly tank racer was and is a form of race car developed after the second World War. Innovative racers and mechanics saw abandoned drop tanks, which were portable fuel cells designed to extend flying time for planes, laying around scrap yards once the Air Force was done with them and sought to use them as an aerodynamic chassis for racing. 

In time, the sport grew and so did the cars. 

This year, Bell & Ross pays tribute to the extremely niche sport of bellytanker racing – a fitting partnership for the brand given co-founders Carlos Rosillo and Bruno Belamich’s obsession for all things aviation and race-inspired. In a sense, the bellytanker is the perfect Bell & Ross vehicle. Part airplane, and part race car. It’s not the first time that Bell & Ross has built a racing machine, of course. Fans may remember the B-Rocket, a retro-futuristic motorcycle, and the Aero GT, a supercar, from yesteryears.

Bell & Ross’ version of the bellytanker takes design cues from the world of watches. The metal of its bodywork has been crafted to mimic the case of a watch with the glass covering its cockpit looking like a curved sapphire. If you’re wondering about the copper rims on the wheels, Bell & Ross chose it for the similarity to the colour of dials found on timepieces from then, a vintage appeal. 

To celebrate this new vehicle, the brand has also released a new timepiece collection under its Vintage collection.  

Above is the new BR V2-94 Bellytanker, a panda-dialled chronograph that contrasts the copper tones of the general dial area against the black of the chronograph counters. The entire colour scheme of course, pays tribute to the Bellytanker that Bell & Ross designed. The stainless steel case matches the colour of the Bellytanker with the copper dial matching the rims. The black can be found on the nose of the race car itself.

Powered by the automatic calibre BR-CAL.301, the 41mm-sized watch comes both in a version with a matching steel bracelet or one with a brown calfskin strap. 

The other option for the man who may not want the complexities of a chronograph is the new BR V1-92 Bellytanker. The simple three-hand watch sees the same colour scheme as the V2-94 Bellytanker but with much less black. The date aperture sits neatly at 4.30 on the dial with the background maintaining the same copper scheme so as not to distract the eye. Accompanying the piece is a brown aged calf leather strap that’s supple and soft.

Both timepieces are limited to just 500 pieces. 

The new BR Vintage Bellytanker collection is available at the Bell & Ross boutique, #01-15 Mandarin Gallery

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