Introducing – Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale and BR 123 Aeronavale, the Officer’s versions (hands-on, specs & price)

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | ic_query_builder_black_24px 4 minute read
Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale

The concept of military-inspired pilot watches has been used and abused for decades, by many brands, including Bell & Ross. Of course, with a tradition of respect to codes, these watches usually play on the black and white, monochromatic look, sometimes with aged / vintage accents, but, this has to be said, the theme is more than known. Searching for novelty and new inspirations, Bell & Ross looked again at military codes but here, not on military-field theme, but on the formal, dress uniforms of Aeronavale officers. Here are the blue and gold Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale and BR 123 Aeronavale.

Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale

Bell & Ross is mainly known for its military, dashboard-instrument-inspired watches; the iconic BR01 collection, some large, tool-oriented square-shaped timepieces. However, the B&R collection is not just about these instruments and is composed of much different pieces. One of them, which should really be considered, still plays on the military and pilot themes, however with a welcomed classism and elegance on the wrist. We’re here talking about the round, voluntarily classical Vintage BR 126 and Vintage BR 123.

Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Aeronavale

The Bell & Ross Vintage BR collection takes inspiration in classical chronographs and pilot-oriented watches from the 1960s, with its highly domed sapphire crystal, its straight case without protection for the crown and pushers and thin, tapered lugs. Also, the Vintage BR collection features an external bezel, with aluminum insert, which in this case displays a 60-minute scale (not a tachymeter), as being oriented for pilots and not races. Overall, these watches are classical, elegant, with the right amount of vintage appeal – something that is rather different from the rugged, sometimes almost brutal BR01 collection. However, Bell & Ross adapted the size to modern standards and customers’ needs, with a diameter of 43mm for the polished stainless steel cases. Sapphire crystals on the back reveal the ETA-based movements.

Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale

After showing it with classical black and white colors, with black ceramic case or with black dials combined with faux-patina accents, the Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 and BR 123 now look at some new inspirations, with the codes of dress uniforms of aeronautical officers, called the Aeronavale (or French Navy pilots). These military forces use specific blue and gold tones for their ceremonial uniforms, two colors that we can now find in the Vintage BR watches.

Just like these uniforms, these Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale and BR 123 Aeronavale are more formal than the other editions, showing a metallic blue dial with sun-ray pattern and indexes (applied and not painted here) and hands coated in pink gold. The sub-counters, both for the small second and 30-minute recorder of the chronograph BR 126 Aeronavale and for the small second subdial of the BR 123 Aeronavale, are circled with a thin gilded line, again participating to the formal look. The bezel’s insert follows the same idea, with a blue background and gilded inscriptions.

The Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale is a automatic chronograph with modular movement, showing a balanced bi-compax layout, while the Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Aeronavale is a more simple edition, with time and small second at 6. Both watches feature a date in a small circular window placed at 4h30, with a disc printed in the same color as the dial. These two can be delivered on a blue calfskin strap with contrasting stitching, with patinated effect and glossy finish, or on a blue alligator strap with matching blue stitching.

Prices:

  • Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Aeronavale, on calfskin: 2,700 Euros
  • Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Aeronavale, on alligator: 2,900 Euros
  • Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale Chronograph, on calfskin: 3,800 Euros
  • Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale Chronograph, on alligator: 3,990 Euros

Specifications of the Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Aeronavale

  • Case: 43mm – stainless steel, polished – domed sapphire crystal on front and sapphire back – 100m water resistant
  • Movement: calibre BR-CAL.305, ETA-based – automatic – 38h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, small seconds and date
  • Strap: blue calfskin strap or blue alligator strap, with steel buckle

Specifications of the Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Aeronavale

  • Case: 43mm – stainless steel, polished – domed sapphire crystal on front and sapphire back – 100m water resistant
  • Movement: calibre BR-CAL.301, ETA-based – automatic – 38h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date
  • Strap: blue calfskin strap or blue alligator strap, with steel buckle

3 responses

  1. Really beautiful watches, but my problem is when brands like this, with heritage, the only thing that they are doing with ETA calibers is when they change the name and the rotor, but all sppecifications (like the 38h power reserve) remain the same…The bottom line? You pay 3000 euros for the beauty of the watch, not for the movement.

  2. Fully agree with the comments.I would add that many new starters produce their brands with Eta mechanism & cost much less.
    I n fact buying a Bell Ross powered by Eta ends with a buyer to pay for the brand name rather than the mechanism

  3. Br caliber 305 is not low grade on what power reserve of 38, it’s actually high grade 2895-2 27jewels 42 hours power reserved in top grade adjusted in 4 position. I own one of these the instruction booking have clearly written on it and u can google search. Even IWC is using sellita movement…

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