Buying Guide The Other Cool Watches Launched by Bell & Ross Recently

There was the BR05... but not only!

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | ic_query_builder_black_24px 4 minute read |

This year, Paris-based brand Bell & Ross went full throttle on its all-new, urban “luxury sports watch” collection, the BR05 – and with good reason since this was the most important launch for the brand in years (and maybe ever). Certainly a departure from traditional military and aviation codes, this watch was not the only cool novelty this year and one shouldn’t overlook the rest of the collection. There were some pretty desirable watches in the core instrument and vintage collections as well.

Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Bi-Compass

The Bi-Compass was the first of the watches presented by Bell & Ross in 2019, and it was a good way to start the year. Indeed, by a little trick, which doesn’t require complex technical modifications – change of the hour hand by a central disc – the brand managed to create a watch that looks 100% as a hardcore B&R should. Relying on three clear sectors to differentiate the indications, the Bi-Compass not only has a case inspired by aviation instruments but its dial looks like the display of vintage, analogue aeronautical gauges. Finally, the matte black ceramic case gives it the required stealth look – which won’t look out of place in a cockpit. Pure Bell & Ross.

Quick facts: 42mm x 42mm square case – matte black ceramic – 100m water-resistant – Calibre BR-CAL.302 (Sellita SW 300-1) with hours displayed by a disc – delivered with two straps: black rubber and ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric – BR0392-IDC-CE/SRB – limited to 999 pieces – EUR 3,500details here

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze “John Player Special”

Cool watch alert, this is my personal favourite of this year. With an undeniable “wow factor” thanks to its bright but well-dosed combination of golden colours and glossy black, it’s like a flashback to the unforgettable “John Player Special” effect. Already existing in a steel-and-cooper version, the BR V2-94 Bellytanker is dressed in a special bronze alloy (CuAI7Si2 to be precise) that won’t patinate too much and that has a warm, gold tone that fits its compact, vintage look. With its rich black dial with gold accents and gold-panda look, it is certainly not the most discreet of all Bell & Ross watches, but clearly one of the coolest this year.

Quick facts: 41mm diameter – CuAI7Si2 bronze case – 100m water-resistant – calibre BR-CAL.301 (based on ETA 2894-2) automatic chronograph – black calfskin strap – BRV294-BC-BR/SCA – limited to 999 pieces – EUR 4,900details here

Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Matte Black

When it was introduced back in 2017, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver generated quite a lot of buzz. Undoubtedly, a square dive watch doesn’t feel natural… at first. But the brand managed to implement the ISO 6425 standard within its “circle within a square” design by keeping the classic elements of the instrument line – including the square case and its screws – and the obligatory unidirectional bezel and enlarged markers. Altogether a great watch, which has been revisited in different editions, the latest being the full-black ceramic model… And it not only looks like a proper tool watch but it also is the most comfortable of the lot, due to the lightweight, smooth material.

Quick facts: 42mm x 42mm square case – matte black ceramic – 60-minute bezel – 300m water-resistant – Calibre BR-CAL.302 (Sellita SW 300-1) – delivered with two straps: black rubber and ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric – BR0392-D-BL-CE/SRB – EUR 3,900details here

Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige

Last but not least, the 3-hander “Military Beige”… Yes, it is just a new dial on an existing watch, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. In fact, it is! Based on the recently revamped Vintage collection, this new edition plays on classic military colours – in this case, a sandy-beige tone that wouldn’t look out of place on a commando during a desert mission. Simple, efficient, straightforward. Nothing more… Well, there’s more, and it has to be seen on the strap; Bell & Ross has teamed up with our friend Erika and the watch can be ordered with a  cool MN Elastic strap – there will be more of them in future collections. Also available with a chronograph movement and on a steel bracelet.

Quick facts: 41mm diameter – stainless steel case – 100m water-resistant – bi-directional bezel – Calibre BR-CAL.302 (Sellita SW 300-1) – 3-link steel bracelet or elastic MN canvas strap – BRV292-BEI-ST/SST (Bracelet) BRV292-BEI-ST/SF (strap) – from EUR 2,600details here


More details at bellross.com.

8 responses

  1. One quite nice and three very beautiful watches there. B&R really do have a great design department. It is a crying shame that the movements they use are so pedestrian. They could become thee default mid-range sports watch brand if they started to offer something substantial inside these beautiful cases. It wouldn’t even take much. Change to “top grade” movements, set them up right then advertise that fact. A few months of anecdotal COSC accuracy readings and the ball is rolling.
    Actually, the biggest and best collaboration would be with Grand Seiko. How desirable would these watches be with GS movements inside? Assuming they would fit?
    B&R, like FC are on the cusp of greatness and they refuse to take that last step.

  2. I am a big fan of the mid-end brands. Bremont, Seiko, Grand Seiko, Breitling, Longines… and recently, B&R. Somehow it is more interesting what they do than the hyper expensive ones.

  3. I think this is because after a certain price-point, manufacturers look for excuses to justify the price they have in mind. What does Rolex have which Tudor does not? Apart from the name? Slightly better fit and finish? Lange are stunning but most of the price is about tarting it up after it’s actually been made! Forget the 1,000 hours of hand-finishing, slap on a steel case-back and you’ve got a great watch for 20% of the price. IWC? Don’t get me started.
    Price is important to me, on an ethical basis. Being able to afford something and being willing to buy it are two different things and I refuse to be a chump.

  4. Just another guy, please start on IWC, what do you mean, that they charge much over what their watches are worth, or the opposite? Sorry, I would just like to understand correctly, because I really like IWC, in general;-)

    To me this is also a case that… well, it is “easy” to be amazing if you have no budget constraints. Of course what VC, JLC, and others, and the independents are doing is really amazing a lot of the time, no doubt about that. And of course a B&R will never be as stunning as a Lange, or a Gautier, or a Berthould. But to me showing off a 1M, or even 100K watch is… not cool. And these B&Rs here are really cool, I think, as are quite many watches from the brands I mentioned before (and probably some others too, which I could have omitted). What is really cool is to deliver a cool piece of horlogerie to the “masses” (still, few can spend 5K on a watch, I knwo I can’t, but still, you know what I mean).

    However, I probably agree with you about the movements on B&Rs…

  5. Just shows how much difference it makes to get the details right. The bi compass looks much more appealing than the diver to me, considering it is essentially the same watch.

  6. Estos sin duda son la primera colección interesante del año y dudo que pueda ser superada en cuanto a apariencia y terminación son excelentes e internamente no creo que sean tan malos sellita es una máquina ETA con otra apariencia y creo que a pesar de su fama menor son fiables 100% buen trabajo bell&ross

  7. Un movimiento básico de cuarzo Ronda también es 100% fiable.

  8. Bell & Ross has made beautiful watches throughout their history. Two from this latest batch proves they can tone-down the cockpit dial overload and make something better. I think they are stronger when then do this.

    To my eye, the Belly Tanker is more successful than the 2-tone Tudor Black Bay Chrono that was a jarring mix of steel and gold tones. Even though I have a soft spot for that color combo, the BB watch does not look as cohesive as the B&R Bellytanker.

    I also thnk it is exciting to see the diver line continue to grow. The ceramic one’s colors remind me of a the limited edition Seiko Ninja Turtle… not a bad thing IMHO. A few years ago B&R’s divers looked great, but were so large (BR-02 92 with internal bezels) they might not be comfortable to wear unless you were actually diving. Moving the similar aesthetic to a smaller case with an external bezel has done wonders. I had better start saving my pennies…

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