Since now over a decade, Bell & Ross have had in their collection “another” watch, rather different at first from the sporty or military-oriented pieces, such as the iconic square BR01. This watch is the Vintage, a watch made to be more classic, more elegant and cleverly using 1960s elements. Don’t think that it is not 100% Bell & Ross though, as it has taken its inspiration from the history of aviation. For Baselworld 2017, the Bell & Ross Vintage Collection is slightly revamped and now comes in a smaller, slimmer and more elegant design.
Like all watches from Bell & Ross, the Vintage collection has a military DNA. They meet a set of specifications and requirements established by the armed forces. Understandably, legibility, functionality and precision are priorities. However, these specifications are here mixed in more classical and more elegant way. Military-inspiration, but not tool watches. This means a traditional round case, more subtle dials and more curves.
The first generation is characterized by a classic dial, rounded lugs and the absence of a bezel. The second generation was extensively revised in 2007. The case and dial were redesigned to bring coherence to the collection. The objective was to create a clear link with the new BR 01 line. This second generation features a case with a larger diameter and has a bezel. The shape of the lugs changed and they became more angular. The dial takes its aesthetic codes from the BR 01, including the distinctive sword-shaped hands. The third generation market another step in the history of this watch. While the overall identity remains (military numerals, sword-shaped hands…), everything becomes more elegantly designed, more refined and more subtle, to set this collection apart from the tools that are the BR01 and BR03. The case becomes more sophisticated. The diameter has decreased and the watches are slimmer. Finally, the rounded lugs perfectly integrate the strap.
For the launch of the 2017 Bell & Ross Vintage Collection, 3 watches will be introduced: a sleek 3-hand, a sportier 3-hand with rotating bezel and a chronograph.
The Bell & Ross BR-V1 Vintage
The first watch of this new collection is the Bell & Ross BR-V1 Vintage. It is the most simple version, both in terms of design and functionalities. A watch that goes to the essential. However, it drastically changes from the habits of the brand, especially in terms of size. Indeed, it features a 38.5mm diameter case, which adapts to any wrist (think unisex version here). Considering the look of the watch and its vintage inspiration, this is a clever move. It is paired with a highly curved sapphire crystal for a truly retro look – a feature that also allows the thickness of the case to be reduced. The case is entirely circular brushed and remains as clean as possible, so you’re sure to have your attention focused on the dial.
The dial of the Bell & Ross BR-V1 Vintage stays true to Bell & Ross principles. It keeps the military 3-6-9-12 indexes, somehow a hallmark for the brand, together with resigned hands – still extremely legible but slender than before. The dial is uncluttered and offers an instant legibility of the time. A date window is discreetly located at 4h30. As a new feature, the counterweight for the second hand is designed to look like a stylized plane profile. To power this watch is an automatic movement.
The Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Vintage
The second watch in this new Vintage collection is a sportier take on the 3-hand concept. While sharing the same dial as the BR-V1, with a classical time-and-date display, this Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Vintage adds some robustness to its case. First of all, it measures 41mm. Yet, this means a decreased size compared to the previous Vintage watches with external bezel, which were sized at 43mm. Comfort and elegance will benefit from this choice. Second evolution is that this BR V2-92 now features a bi-directional rotating bezel (with a 60-minute diver style insert), an evolution compared of the fixed bezel of the previous collection.
The combination of this rotating bezel with a 100m water resistance, without making this watch a proper diving tool, will be sufficient for most of the recreational plunges. The Bell & Ross BR V2-92 will be available on a black leather strap or on a new polished and satin-finished steel bracelet, for a sportier look. Inside is an automatic movement with date.
The Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Vintage Chronograph
The final watch in this Vintage trilogy, the Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Vintage, is an automatic chronograph. It shares most of its design elements with the V2-92 version, meaning a 41mm steel case with polished and brushed surfaces, a more elegant and refined look, and a case with discreetly integrated protection (around the crown for instance). Again, it features an external bezel, yet this time it is fixed and the insert shows a tachymeter scale. The screwed pushers and screw-down crown guarantee a 100m water-resistance.
Once again, this Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Vintage is available on an extremely legible black dial, with two sub-dials (small second and 30-minute counter), combined to a black leather strap or the new steel bracelet, again for a more robust look on the wrist.
More details on bellross.com.