One of the most anticipated events at each year’s JCK and Couture watch and jewelry shows in Las Vegas is Bell & Ross’s Friday evening cocktail party at its villa in the Wynn. And one of my annual traditions is enjoying a fine cigar — rolled on the premises by a skilled torcedor — with Bell & Ross CEO and fellow cigar enthusiast Carlos Rossillo (the “Ross” in Bell & Ross) at the party. This year, the experience was extra special, since the cigar in question was an all-new, official Bell & Ross cigar — a Nicaraguan puro made specifically to accompany the brand’s Vintage WW1 Edicion Limitada timepiece, packaged in a unique box that doubles as a humidor.
The Bell & Ross Vintage WW1 Edicion, Limitada, with its rich brown and rose-gold color scheme is Rossillo’s attempt to blend the diverse but similarly tradition-rich worlds of watchmaking and cigar making. The 42-mm-diameter rose-gold case is fastened to the tobacco-brown alligator leather strap with fine wire lugs that echo those of the earliest wristwatches, first seen in the World War I era from which the watch takes its name. The font of the Arabic numerals, the highly domed sapphire crystal, narrowness of the strap, and the gilded hands are also elegant, vintage-style touches, and the text on the dial is in Spanish (contrasting with the French verbiage on most Swiss-made watches), a tribute to the language of Cuba and other cigar-making nations.
Since cigar smoking is a leisurely experience, in which one is not expected to be concerned about whether or not one’s timepiece needs winding, Bell & Ross has equipped the Vintage WW1 Edición Limitada with an extra-lengthy five-day power reserve. It’s indicated on the dial by means of a hand that moves along a semicircular arc with the inscription “Reserva de Marcha 5 Días.” The manual-winding movement (Caliber BR-CAL.202) has two mainspring barrels and a three-quarter mainplate, adorned with a côtes de Genève finish and punctuated by blued screws, all visible through a clear sapphire caseback. The front of the watch also offers a glimpse of the inner mechanism: the movement’s balance peeks out of a round aperture at 9 o’clock on the dial.
The Bell & Ross Vintage WW1 Edicion Limitada, a Baselword 2015 premiere that also highlighted the brand’s new products showcased at Couture 2015, is limited to just 99 pieces. It is presented in a distinctive, color-coordinated box made of Makassar ebony, designed to be converted into a cigar humidor (which can store up to 50 cigars) with the addition of a humidifier and a hygrometer. Below, you can check out a few live shots of the watch and the cigars, snapped at Bell & Ross’s villa at the Wynn.