Being a brand specialized in pilot’s watches – and not only aeroplane pilots, but also racing pilots with a Formula 1-based partnership – Bell & Ross is no stranger to the chronograph complication. In fact, you can find this kind of movement in pretty much all its collections. And today, there’s a new member coming to the Vintage family, with a case design that doesn’t feel familiar (at first…) Meet the new, robust, more masculine Bell & Ross BR V3-94 Black Steel.
The “Vintage” collection is B&R’s take on the classic, round watch – opposed to the signature, iconic BR01 and BR03 collections, with the typical “circle within a square” design. As such, it is more traditional and plays on the retro trend, with smaller proportions, highly domed sapphire crystals and clean displays. There are even some pretty cool editions in bronze, as this JPS-inspired model. As such, it is less of a tool/instrument piece than the rest of the collection… but today, the Parisian brand brings some robustness and boldness to the collection with a larger case and a redesigned shape. This is the new BR V3-94 Black Steel – compared below with the other classic chronograph of the collection, the BR V2-94.
As you can see, we’re not just looking at an increase in size but a complete overhaul of the watch… Basically, a new concept with a different vocation. The new Bell & Ross BR V3-94 Black Steel now has a 43mm case, with more massive shoulders and lugs, as well as an integrated inner-lug module. In fact, it isn’t entirely new to B&R, since this case was used in the past for Renault F1 Limited Editions only, and it now finds its way into the permanent collection.
More evolutions are noticeable. Other than the shape and size, the bezel is now bi-directional with a 60-minute scale printed on an anodized black aluminium insert, the layout has evolved from a bi-compax to a 3-6-9 display and the chronograph pushers are simple pumps instead of (not so practical) screwed buttons. All in all, this watch is better adapted for racing and action. A tachymeter scale is also present, printed on the inner flange.
In classic B&R style, the dial of the BR V3-94 Black Steel is matte black with highly contrasting white numerals and markers, and all the elements (hands and indexes) are filled with Super-LumiNova. This makes for a very monochromatic, technical and sporty watch with a more instrumental look than the BR V2-94. A date is positioned at 4h30 in a circular window.
Powering this new model is the Calibre BR-CAL.301, an automatic modular chronograph based on the tried-and-tested ETA 2894-2 architecture. It runs at 4Hz and stores up to 42 hours of energy. It is visible through a sapphire caseback. The BR V3-94 is available in two versions, on a black leather strap or on a steel bracelet. Both are equipped with folding clasp.
Price and availability
The new Bell & Ross BR V3-94 Black Steel is now available at retailers and on the brand’s e-commerce website here. It is priced at EUR 3,900 on leather strap and EUR 4,200 on steel bracelet. More details now at www.bellross.com.