Bell & Ross is a brand that is known for their square cased watches certainly, yet they are no slouch when it comes to their more standard looking fare – their round watches that are found under the Vintage collection.
These watches have over the years, been characterised by their legible, clean and sober design, inspired by the different eras of aviation’s past, present and future.
In fact, I’ll go so far to say that this is a company that just knows how to gather the typical ingredients that we know in watch design, and stir in their special sauce to create something not just utterly unique, but beautiful as well. It’s true, it’s just something about the way they handle designing a watch that elevates it to a level that few watch brands can really match. You know it’s a Bell & Ross when you look at one, yet you also know that its purpose is to recall the spirit of other important watches that have inspired it.
This design instinct has been expressed in all their Vintage collections over the years, which has evolved from the Original Collection, then to their BR-V1, BR-V2 and the BR-V3, which you can see in this picture below.
Which brings me to the watch under discussion today, the BR-V3 94 Black Steel, a quite typical looking masculine and sporty chronograph, that just has an X Factor that stops one in one’s tracks.How do I know? Well, just look at it. It’s a beauty for sure, yet the details of the watch are done with such finesse that it ends up being an object of pure beauty.
The case of the BR-V3 94, compared to the preceding BR-V2 94 is larger, at 43mm versus 41mm of the former, and the feel is more modern. This comes about because of the harder edges, the more visible front facing and flat surface area, and the more pronounced crown guards. By contrast the older watch has a more vintage looking case which has more rounded surfaces and a distinctly slender profile.
Adding to this, while the BR -V2 94 had a domed sapphire crystal, and bicompax sub-dial layout, and overall vintage vibe, the BR-V3 94 has a flat crystal, a thicker, bolder bezel, and an ever so slightly heavier weight on all the dial and markings, indices, Arabic numerals and even the hands. It is also the first time that a chronograph from the Vintage collection has three sub-dials instead of two, allowing the watch to measure intervals up to 12 hours instead of 30 minutes.The BR-V3 94 Black Steel is certainly the purest expression of what the new generation design of the Vintage collection is all about, yet its real beauty could only have emerged in this rather stark monochromatic iteration. After-all, this case was actually introduced last year in the BR V3-94 R.S.19, a watch that was produced in partnership with Bell & Ross and the Renault Formula One Team.
The BR-V3 94 Black Steel is available in two variations, one on a stainless steel bracelet and the other on a calfskin leather strap. Interestingly, the calfskin leather strap version has an end-link, which is similar to how Rolex dresses up their leather strap watches as well.The watch also runs the BR-CAL.301 which is essentially an ETA 2894-2 movement, which is an automatic chronograph movement with date and a 42-hour power reserve.Click here to find out more.