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Bell & Ross, Alpine Racing, And All Things French

Take a dive into all things French with a French race track, French racing team, and a French watchmaker: Bell & Ross....
Credit: Bell & Ross

In case you didn’t notice, there’s been a bit of a French theme going on here at Ten Pieces Of Eight. There was this piece on Bastille Day and another on who might win the F1 French GP. Now that the 2022 French GP is done and dusted and we know who won (I won’t spoil it here) let’s see if we can keep the French theme going.

Now, the French GP is run at Circuit Paul Ricard. It dropped off the calendar after the 1990 GP for a few years before making a come back in 2018 and 2019, before dropping off again for COVID, and then back again in 2021. There are talks that 2022 might be the last time F1 races here for the time being as the contract has expired and it doesn’t look like a renewal is in the works. F1 is looking to expand further into the US, and there are only so many races that can be held in a calendar year. Adding to this is the fact that the track is only so-so. Not great but not bad either. Having said that, Le Castellet is a very pretty little town if you care to venture out.

Circuit Paul Ricard

There is currently one French team competing in F1, and this is the Alpine Formula 1 team, formerly Reanult. (However, they’re based in Estone, UK like most other F1 teams). The team began its life as Toleman back in 1981, becoming Benetton 1986. Michael Schumacher won two Driver’s championships with the team in 1994 and ’95. Renault purchased the team in 2000 and renamed it in 2002. The team saw success again when Fernando Alonso won both Driver’s and Constructor’s championships in 2005 and ’06. The team became Lotus in 2012, back to Renault in 2016, and then Alpine from 2021 onwards.

Esteban Ocon, one of the drivers for the team is also French, pairing with Fernando Alonso (in his third stint with the team). On their wrists of course, is a French watch company (but Swiss made), Bell and Ross.

Bell and Ross began in 1994, when Parisians Carlos A. Rosillo and Bruno Belamich, set up a watchmaking brand of their own with an initial investment of $20,000. They combined their names to establish the brand, with Belamich serving as the creative force behind the brand, while Rosillo drove its business. A partner of the Renault F1 team and now, with Alpine, the watches perfectly match the F1 racing ethos and design aesthetics. The latest range for the team, the BR03-94 A521 and the BR V3-94 A521. Both chronographs in modern cockpit style, and the more classic pilot style, are limited to 500 pieces each and are currently sold out, but we can expect the next models to be released soon.


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