Back at Baselworld 2017, Bell & Ross pleased collectors by launching a new “Vintage” collection, which had quite a few interesting features: smaller in diameter, with slimmer cases, an overall redesigned shape, and some cool details… A winning combination for many B&R lovers. Among the 3 watches presented (3-hand, 3-hand with rotatable bezel and chronograph), the model that probably struck me most was the simpler HMS version, a no-nonsense utilitarian, small and reasonably priced watch. This Bell & Ross Vintage BR V1-92 today receives its “Military” badges, in a new (and super-cool) version.
At Bell & Ross, everything started with military roots. Their watches were, at the beginning, inspired by the needs of special forces and field action. Remember these pieces with military markings and a concept were driven mainly by their legibility and practicality. Then came the watch that would soon change the brand forever: the BR-01, the squared piece with a round dial, deeply inspired by dashboard instruments found in military planes. This is where B&R gained popularity and created its loyal community of collectors. However, the brand couldn’t stick to this unique inspiration only, and today we can find watches with links to race cars or pieces with highly technical spirit. And if this allowed the brand to grow and to attract new clients, it’s needless to say that the base community is all about the brand’s military DNA.
Today, Bell & Ross have gone back to basics by presenting the Vintage BR V1-92 Military… It’s a simple, utilitarian and essential watch with all you could desire in a Bell & Ross watch, and a strong military inspiration. Fancy, no! Complex, no! Luxurious, certainly not! But don’t get me wrong, there are many details throughout this watch to steal your heart. First of all, and that’s the whole point of this BR V1-92, are its case and dimensions. You see, prior to the 2017 collection, the Vintage line up was quite large and rather sharp in design. However, with the new collection, not only the entire range has been redesigned, but we also saw the addition of an “entry-level”, simple and well-executed model.
The Bell & Ross Vintage BR V1-92 Military is based on a 38.5mm case executed in stainless steel, with nothing more exotic than a satin-brushed finish and no fancy features. And guess what, this clean, almost minimalistic approach simply works here. The restrained dimensions, the thin bezel combined with a highly domed sapphire crystal, the utilitarian look… everything recalls antique (think WWII) military watches, such as those from the dirty dozen. The relatively small crown and the combination here with a dark brown leather strap, slightly aged, makes a great – and quite elegant in fact – package, with great style.
It’s surprising how coming back to a simple and well-proportioned watch can be pleasant… and comfortable too. The main interest in this new “Military” of the Bell & Ross Vintage BR V1-92 is, of course, its dial. While the standard version introduced at Baselworld 2017 was fitted with a black dial with classical 3-6-9-12 indexes and pilot style hands, all painted in white, the present version adds a little antiquity and “armed forces DNA“.
The indexes have a classical theme, with 5-minute markings, while the marker at 12 is done with a triangle surrounded by two dots (again, a traditional feature of military/pilot watches). In addition to that, in order to emphasize the vintage theme, indexes and hands are filled with cream luminous paint, recalling aged tritium. Finally, a red inscription at 6 (again something classical in military pieces) with MT for “Military Type” complements the theme. Overall, it’s a dial with great personality.
The Bell & Ross Vintage BR V1-92 Military is equipped with an automatic movement, based on a Sellita SW-200, a reliable and precise workhorse that perfectly fits the concept of this watch. It is enclosed behind a steel back. It displays the hours, minutes and seconds on the central axis as well as the date, discreetly printed on a black disc and placed in a small circular window at 4:30 – to be honest, we could have done without…
Technical Specifications – Bell & Ross Vintage BR V1-92 Military
- Case: 38.5mm diameter – satin stainless steel – sapphire crystal on the dial side, steel back – 100m water resistant
- Movement: calibre BR-CAL.302 – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 38h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds and date
- Strap: brown leather strap with steel pin buckle
- Reference: BRV192-MIL-ST/SCA
- Price: EUR 1,990
- Availability: October 2017