Most generally known for their square watches, the replica Bell & Ross has been making their classic round “vintage” collection of replica watches like BR Sport Watch for years now. It’s been a short time since we took a look at this collection and fortunately for us, 2017 sees the launch of three new Bell & Ross vintage watches: the BR V1-92 Black Steel three hand and date watch; the slightly larger and more aggressive BR V2-92 Black Steel; and the chronograph BR V2-94. Let’s see what the three new Bell & Ross Vintage pilot’s watches have to provide, though I have to say I think all three knock it out of the park.
The replica BR V1-92 is the smallest and cheapest of the bunch, but it’s possibly to get the most attention. It’s got classic vintage pilot’s watch style and as you can see in the image above, the BR V1-92 (furthest watch to the right) has a simple steel bezel surrounding the “ultra-curved” anti-reflective sapphire. The dial keeps it simple and sticks to the basics. It’s highly legible and the use of only black and white on the dial along with the minimal text leads to a refreshingly restrained and unfussy dial.
The large, long hands on the matte black dial are done in skeletonized metal filled with Super-LumiNova. The small circular date window between 4 and 5 o’clock is one of the most popular and least distracting I’ve seen in some time and it is bound to be least offensive to even the most ardent hater of the admittedly useful complication.
One notch above the fake BR V1-92 is the fake V2-92, which is a bigger, sportier, and more aggressive looking three-hander in the new vintage collection. Still running on the BR-Cal. 302 movement, this watch comes in a larger 41mm wide case with a screw-down crown. The most significant difference, though, is the rotating bezel that is present in this model. A rotating steel bezel with an anodized black aluminum ring and 60-minute scale, this bezel adds a diver’s touch to the watch. This likely will agitate pilot watch purists, but thankfully, Bell & Ross has already given them a piece to rally around in the aforementioned V1-92 replica model.
Apart from the demure steel bezel and design, watch enthusiasts who are going to lean towards smaller pieces will be happy with the 38.5mm wide case, slim profile, and simple black calfskin strap. I am not the biggest fan of watches smaller than 40mm (even less so when they’re on a strap).
In the end, the BR V2-92 replica is the chronograph model, which to me, I am very fond of. It’s 41mm wide with the curved lugs and “ultra-curved” sapphire crystal seen throughout this collection. There are two sub-dials, with a seconds counter at 3 o’clock and 30 minute totalizer at 9 o’clock.
As a whole, it’s a very attractive and thoughtfully made chronograph in a world of countless options. I think it says a lot about the personality and taste of the person who chooses to wear this piece. Not only it is an outlier in terms of what the brand is known for, it’s a not-cheap chronograph in a world full of iconic and varied chronographs like Omega Speedmasters, Zenith El Primeros, and Breitling Navitimers. Of course, the cheapest Bell & Ross replica is priced less than most of these – we live in a world of plenty when it comes to the second-hand market with these models. I guess the self-confidence of this watch is something that comes off in spades and would likely describe the wearer too.