Back to Basics for Bell & Ross with the Vintage BR V1-92 Military
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…
The Bell & Ross Vintage BR V1-92 Military is now available in stores and on the B&R webshop, for a price of EUR 1,990. More details on www.bellross.com.
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
Having the date window cutting the “20” and “25” kills it for me. Also, the “Bell & Ross” logo is wrongly positioned. It should be a bit smaller and further down for a more balanced design.
Me too: bothered by the position of the date window. And there are practical reasons that cases and crowns got larger. At least a 40mm case and a larger crown would help.
Bell & Ross need to hire Luciano as the designer. Or … anyone!
Ditto for me
Logo too big and date window all wrong
Have to agree with Luciano on this one. I really want to like this piece as I like to see non-square watches from B&R, but the date window is just sloppy and really kills an otherwise nice dial.
Date window kills the design. Somehow it has a cheap-o look. Liked the smaller diam size and the low-keyed demure. At the end of the day, this is NOT a B&R watch.
That date window eating away the number is a huge flaw in design. I am glad watch manufacturers are going back to making reasonable size watches.
Since when does 28 comes before 25 on a Fleiger military watch?
The Bell & Ross logo should be smaller and a bit lower on the face, the date window ruins the dial, aside from those details the watch is fine.
I have one and I agree with the comments, but in a month with the watch in the wrist you forget these aspects.
There is another aspect that is only noticeable when you wear the watch for some time: it is a watch more ‘quelconque’ (boring) than it seems, you forget that you wear it.
In spite of everything, if you get a good discount, it’s worth it. It’s my case.
Get rid of the date and half the price and I’ll buy it.
You read so many people singing the praises of Hamilton online but this watch shows what Hamilton could and should be. Yet another very pretty watch ruined by a stupid, stupid date wheel!
I like very much the layout, though I agree that the dial should have been better without date window…With a BIG discount I’d grab this watch.
A dial devoid of 6s, 7s, 8s, & 9s is cool.