Vintage-inspired watches are nothing new for Bell & Ross, which has been way ahead of that trend for years. In fact, this is the third generation of the Vintage collection, and it’s far and away the most sophisticated yet. There are two three-hand models, one sportier than the other, and an awesome twin-register chronograph to round things out, and the entire collection perfectly captures that old-school pilot’s watch aesthetic that never seems to be out of style. That these are budget-friendly tickers only adds to the appeal.
Here’s a breakdown of the three different models just introduced at Baselworld 2017, including all the details and official pricing.
BR V1-92 Black Steel
No reason to bury the lede here. To me, this is the star of the show. The BR V1-92 is a three-hand-date watch, that is basically the classic pilot’s watch in an easy-to-wear execution. The steel case is 38.5mm (which is pretty close to the perfect size for nearly any watch) and has mostly brushed finishes, giving it a more low-key look. It’s also slim, with a domed crystal that completes the package.
The sleek matte black dial has baton indexes and large-but-slim numerals at the poles. The sword hands are a more refined take on the typical pilot hands too, and the date down at 4:30 is nearly invisible except when you’re looking for it (a very good thing). Underneath the dial sits the automatic BR-Cal.302 movement, the brands take on the Sellita SW300-1. It has a 38-hour power reserve and is a great workhorse movement for a watch like this.
The BR V1-92 retails for $1,900 on a leather strap. Like I said, these are wallet-friendly and deliver big on style.
BR V2-92 Black Steel
Stepping things up one level, we have the BR V2-92. This is still a three-hand-and-date pilot’s watch, but with a much tougher look and build. The 41mm case is beefier than that of the BR V1-92, but when compared to previous Vintage collection watches you’ll notice it actually has curvier lugs to help it wear better. For the first time you’ll also notice the addition of crown guards too.
The most obvious difference though is the 60-minute rotating timing bezel that makes this sort of a hybrid pilot/dive watch. The screw-down crown helps the BR V2-92 achieve 100-meter water resistance, so you definitely could take it for a serious swim. Inside is the same BR-Cal.302 movement found in the watch above.
The BR V2-92 retails for $2,900 on a leather strap and $3,200 on a steel bracelet.
BR V2-94 Black Steel Chronograph
And, finally, we’ve got the chronograph. The BR V2-94 is a two-register affair that starts with a 41mm steel case that features the same curved lugs and crown guards as the BR V2-92 with the addition of screw-down pushers. The black tachymeter bezel (made of anodized aluminum) ups the visual impact of the watch, while allowing the dial to remain crisp and clean. The totalizer at left counts up to 30 minutes and there is a running seconds register on the right (with the date window tastefully tucked underneath).
The BR-Cal.301 movement is Bell & Ross’s take on the ETA 2894-2, which is an automatic chronograph movement with a 42-hour power reserve. Getting the balance right on a chronograph like this isn’t easy, but I have to say Bell & Ross has done a great job maintaining the clean lines of the time-and-date models while adding a useful complication to the mix.
The BR V2-94 chronograph is priced at $4,300 on a leather strap and $4,600 on a stainless steel bracelet.
For more on the new Vintage collection, visit Bell & Ross online.