When I hear the words Bell & Ross, I immediately picture square watches inspired by flight instruments – watches like the iconic BR01 or its smaller cousin, the BR03. And I’m sure I’m not alone. There is, however, another side to the Bell & Ross family. With classic looks and traditional round cases, the Vintage collection draws its inspiration from the history of aviation. Designed to meet military specifications set by the armed forces, this collection has legibility, functionality and precision high on the list of “must haves”. Given these requirements, it’s not completely unexpected that this, the latest vintage-inspired chronograph, bears a resemblance to other brands’ versions of flight spec’d chronographs.
Having said that, the DNA of the Vintage BR V2-94 is still very much Bell & Ross (even without the square case). The dial draws parallels to their Instruments collection, with large white numerals on a black background and distinctive sword hands, which are slightly slimmer on the Vintage Chronograph. The counterweight of the central seconds hand is stylised as a silhouette of a plane, a new feature that Bell & Ross says will be found on many future releases.
Underneath the dial beats the BR-Cal.301 automatic chronograph movement, its dual register layout displaying a 30-minute timer at 9 o’clock and running seconds at 3 o’clock with the date discreetly tucked in between 4 and 5 o’clock. The central chronograph seconds hand now corresponds to a tachymeter scale on the fixed black anodised aluminium bezel.
In this third iteration of the Vintage collection, everything has been modernised. An ultra-curved (and ultra-sexy) sapphire crystal optimises the thickness of the case, which, now flatter, has also been shrunk down to 41mm in diameter. The rounded lugs now elegantly curve and perfectly integrate the strap – either a black calf-skin leather strap or a reworked, more finely wrought stainless steel bracelet. The addition of crown guards adds a robustness to the polished and brushed case, which thanks to its screw-in pushers and crown is also water resistant to 100m.
The Vintage collection is where you’ll find Bell & Ross’ more traditional designs. With its classical styling, the new BR V2-94 Chronograph is for sure a safe and sales-oriented release for the brand, perhaps demonstrating that sometimes you must conform to the norm – and that despite what Mr. Huey Lewis says, it’s not (always) hip to be square.
Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Vintage Chronograph Australian pricing
Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Vintage Chronograph, on steel bracelet, $6750