While not a motoring timepiece per se, the Bell & Ross Type Demineur arguably makes a fine motoring accessory. A specialist tool watch originally designed for the demands of the French bomb squad – the Ministere De L’Interieur Deminage – it came equipped with a highly accurate quartz movement, antimagnetic case, and a dial and bezel designed for legibility. Perhaps its attributes of precision and toughness coupled with light weight would easily translate into motoring circles?
Supplied with either a bracelet or rubber band on a deployant clasp, the slim 39mm case did not seem to scale well with these options. With the simple substitution of a Hirsch Rallye strap the Demineur deserves a second look. The Rallye’s black perforated leather and contrasting white stitching contribute details that reinforce the lightweight aesthetic.. With this band the whole package becomes better proportioned, even vintage in its appearance. A subtle transformation that makes the watch a great perfect complement to your favorite driving gloves and acetate sunglasses.
As it is long out of production finding a good example may pose a small challenge but as any car collector will happily concede, the hunt is also part of the enjoyment.
The Hirsch Rallye strap is slim enough to fit within the recessed lugs of the Demineur. It takes 20mm straps.
A thin case and crown at 4 o’clock make it sit unobtrusively on the wrist.
Backdrop: An issue of the French daily Midi Libre from July 19, 1970. The article describes the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch the day prior. With characteristic grand prix drama, Jochen Rindt/Lotus-Ford was the eventual winner after Jack Brabham’s car ran out of fuel on the last lap.