Bell & Ross just gave one of its most popular Vintage models a full-dial luminescent treatment. The brand’s new Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM glows with a full base dial of pale green SuperLuminova, assuring full visibility in low light or total darkness.
But Bell & Ross didn’t stop with the green base-dial lume. In addition, the watchmaker has placed a second SuperLuminova color, a metallized pale yellow, on the dial’s skeletonized numerals, indices and primary hands. At the same time, and with clear definition, the 30-minute counter and chronograph seconds hand turn fluorescent blue.
This three-hue lume effectively creates an unusually high level of clarity in low light environments for the retro-styled aviation automatic chronograph. The watch’s luminous trifecta very effectively enhances visibility, in large part due to the strong contrast between the luminescent colors and the black contours of the numerals, indices, hands, and counters.
The watch is the latest in an expanding collection of Bell & Ross LUM models, all of which feature fully luminous dials.
Befitting the retro tag, the Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM’s 41mm steel case is topped with a domed glass-box sapphire crystal. And the bezel, composed of black anodized aluminum, offers a fixed 60-minute scale. Finally, the watch’s nicely proportioned chronograph pushers are screwed down.
Bell & Ross will make 250 examples of the Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM, which will be supplied with a strap made from woven black rubber that provides the final vintage touch to the watch. Price: $5,100 (rubber strap model). A steel bracelet to fit the watch (see below) can be ordered separately for $520.
Specifications: Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock and date. Chronograph: 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds.
Case: 41 mm in diameter. Satin-finished and polished steel. Fixed bezel with anodized black aluminum ring and 60-minute scale. Screw-down crown and pushers. Steel and sapphire case-back. Crystal is domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating. Water-resistance to 100 meters.
Dial: Bi-compax-style chronograph layout with luminescent green painted in SuperLuminova. Numerals and indices coated in SuperLuminova. Metal skeletonized yellow SuperLuminova-filled hour, minute and seconds hands.
Strap: Black rubber with pin buckle in satin-finished and polished steel. Also supplied with a steel bracelet.
Price: $5,100. A steel bracelet to fit the watch can be ordered separately for $520.
It goes without saying that Dive Watches are one of the most popular styles of men’s watches sold today. But what many don’t know is that invoking the “dive” moniker actually has legal implications. Writing the word “Divers 200M” or any similar mark with “Diver” written on the dial or case back immediately invokes ISO 6425. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an international body that writes standards for the commercial industry.
Before we get into ISO 6425, let’s talk about dive watches first. In modern times, very few SCUBA divers actually rely exclusively on a wristwatch while underwater. As an example, my own dive master had a beautiful Rolex Submariner on his wrist during classroom lessons, but once we hit the water, the Rolex was replaced with a dive computer.
Before the advent of these modern and multi-function computers, divers relied on their mechanical watches to keep track of the key data points of total time submerged as well as bottom time in order to calculate residual nitrogen in the blood, and determine when, how many, and how long decompression stops should be if needed.
The dive watch, in this case, was performing a critical function, where a malfunction could spell disaster for the diver. This is why the ISO spec was developed, because dive watches were so critically important as instruments that protected the user’s health and safety. Today the analog dive watch continues to be worn while diving, but is more of a fashionable backup in the unlikely case the computer fails.
ISO 6425 is a rigorous specification titled “Horology – Divers’ watches” that supersedes older specs first released in the mid 1990s. In essence, it spells out what qualities a Dive Watch must have, and the methods with which to test them.
Among the tests that ISO 6425 calls for includes, but is not limited to; temperature extremes, day and night visibility, magnetic resistance, salt spray, shock resistance and of course, water resistance. Obviously, we all expect water resistance to be one of the parameters checked. However, since water resistance is so important to the function of the dive watch, the actual pressure (depth) to which the watch is tested is 25% beyond the stated water resistance limit of a particular watch.
For example, a dive watch rated to 200 meters (20atm) is actually tested to 250 meters in order to meet ISO 6425. And it’s not a dry air test. It is a true wet test, with a follow up condensation test to see if any moisture has found its way into the watchcase.
Furthermore, ISO 6425 states that EVERY watch certified to the spec needs to have its own water resistance individually tested. This means that if you are wearing a watch bearing the “Divers” mark on the dial or case back, that particular watch has been tested to 25% beyond the depth stated on the dial. Not a sample, but the very piece you are wearing. This is the ONLY way to ensure it will perform flawlessly under the stresses of diving.
On my YouTube channel I discuss ISO in detail in my Watch and Learn series. In addition to water resistance, another ISO test that was actually quite fun to perform was the requirement that the strap needs to withstand about forty pounds of pull (simulating getting snagged on something) without the spring bars popping or tearing the strap itself. It was a great test to replicate, and the results were pretty eye opening.
So the next time you see the word “Dive” on watch dial, you’ll know that you are looking at an individually proven and tested dive watch that meets or exceeds the ISO 6425 quality standard!
Thank you for reading, and thank you for watching.
Bell & Ross expands the raw sportiness of its Vintage collection this week as it adds the BR V3-94 Black Steel, a black-dialed, steel-cased chronograph measuring 43mm in diameter, which is a two-millimeter boost in case diameter for the popular Vintage series’ Black Steel edition.
While the case size matches that of Vintage V3-94 models within the existing Bell & Ross Renault series, here the watch boasts a steel bezel set with a cleaner black aluminum 60-minute scale and without the Renault-yellow flange and accents.
The new case’s solid strap/bracelet attachment offers buyers a new option with its subtle cushion shape, marginally bolder than the classically round case of the 41mm Vintage BR V2-94 Black Steel.
Of course, with more room on the dial, Bell & Ross moves from the smaller model’s two-register chronograph dial to a more contemporary three-subdial chronograph. Inside you’ll still find the watchmaker’s Caliber BR-CAL.301, an enhanced ETA-based chronograph movement, which Bell & Ross makes visible through a sapphire caseback. White numerals and indexes contrast nicely with the black dial.
Bell & Ross will offer the new BR V3-94 with a polished and satin-finished steel bracelet ($4,600) or with a black leather strap ($4,300).
Specifications: Bell & Ross Vintage BR V3-94
Movement: Calibre BR-CAL.301, and EA-based automatic caliber
Case: 43 mm satin-polished steel, bi-directional rotating steel bezel with anodized black aluminum ring and 60-minute scale. Screw-down crown, sapphire case back, curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, water-resistance to 100 meters.
Dial: Matte black, numerals and indexes coated in SuperLuminova, metal skeletonized SuperLuminova-filled hour and minute hands. Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock and date. Chronograph: 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, central chronograph seconds, tachymeter scale on the flange.
Strap: Black calfskin or satin-polished steel with folding satin-polished steel buckle.
Bell & Ross last week debuted the first chronograph within its retro-classic BR 05 collection.
You might recall that the BR 05 collection, which debuted in 2019, signaled the brand’s entry into the expanding field of Swiss-made 1970s-style steel watches with integrated bracelets.
Directly referencing the groundbreaking integrated steel watches of the 1970s, Bell & Ross’s BR 05 design essentially is an evolution of its cockpit-inspired BR 03. With the first time-only BR 05 collection, Bell & Ross placed its very identifiable 12-6-9 numerals and four bezel screws exactly where you’d expect them on a Bell & Ross aviation watch, and framed them with curved, polished bezel and case edges that nicely meld into a new steel bracelet.
Now with a chronograph option, the BR 05 retains the solidly integrated case and bracelet but adds a familiar chronograph dial layout. The watch’s retro-shaped snailed counters (chronograph minute counter at 9 o’clock and small seconds at 3 o’clock) between the 12 and 6 on the dial echo the BR 05’s case, which now measures 42mm in diameter, up from the 40mm of the debut collection.
Designing the chronograph challenged Bell & Ross to add pushers to a case it built to present fluid lines and curves. By flattening the pushers, smoothing their edges and essentially incorporating them within the case, Bell & Ross handily met that challenge.
Bell & Ross finishes the new BR 05 chronograph with flat satin-polished surfaces and polished bevels. The effect is more dressy than sporty, though the optional blue or black rubber strap might tilt that view just a bit. The watch’s 100-meter water resistance and robust ETA-based automatic chronograph movement (Bell & Ross Cal. 301) allow for wear most anywhere but deep dives. Luminous markers and hands keep the time visible in dim light.
Bell & Ross offers the new, quite nicely executed BR 05 chronograph with either a blue or black sunray dial and with a choice of integrated steel bracelet ($6,400) or blue or black rubber strap.($5,900).
Just a few months after releasing its BR 03-92 Grey LUM, Bell & Ross adds an even brighter brother to the LUM family with a limited edition BR 03-92 Diver Full LUM.
Where the previously seen dive watch features brightly illuminated numerals, hands and five-minute markers, this newest family member features a full dial painted with green SuperLuminova.
In addition to a fully painted dial, the new watch also glows with a second hue because Bell & Ross has filled the watch’s metallic applique skeletonized indexes and the numerals on the bezel with a different shade of green SuperLuminova.In order to maximize the period of luminescence for these markers, Bell & Ross opted to use a type of SuperLuminova (C3) that offers very long durability in the dark.
Bell & Ross notes that ever since it debuted its first square-cased BR 03-92 dive models in 2017 the watchmaker has been sure that its dive collection maintains all international ISO 6425 standards for dive watches. Those standards include water-resistance to a minimum depth of 100 meters, the presence of a unidirectional rotating bezel with a graduated minutes scale, an operation indicator and luminescent markers, legibility in the dark; anti-shock and anti-magnetic protection.
With this newest model, Bell & Ross exceeds those standards by wide margins, with a 300-meter water resistance rating, a black ceramic uni-directional bezel (for enhanced contrasts) and, in reference to its name, superior dial legibility with a more-than-gimmicky focus on luminescence.
Added bonus: Bell & Ross includes a rubber strap and a fabric strap with each watch.
In time to be considered as a Father’s Day gift (or self-purchase), Bell & Ross introduces two handsome additions to its BR 05 collection of rounded-square watches with integrated bracelet, which the watchmaker introduced last year. One new model features a newly blue sapphire crystal while a second new BR 05 recalls the two-tone gold and steel case watch designs of decades past.
You might recall that the BR 05 collection debuted as Bell & Ross’s ode to the groundbreaking integrated steel watches of the 1970s.
Essentially an evolution of its cockpit-inspired BR 03, the BR 05 has Bell & Ross placing its very identifiable 12-6-9 dial numerals (though not on the skeleton models) and four bezel screws exactly where you’d expect them on a Bell & Ross aviation watch. Bell & Ross then frames all these well-known elements with a new curved, polished round bezel and a soft-cornered 40mm square case. Bell & Ross then nicely integrates the new, rounded square case directly into a new steel bracelet.
One new BR 05 model blues the sapphire crystal of the existing BR05 Automatic Skeleton, offering a full view of the openwork caliber. With satin-finishes and polished beveling, the skeletonized caliber both reflects and catches light, which on this new model is filtered blue.
While reading the time can be a challenge with some skeleton watches, Bell & Ross avoids this by removing the large numerals and adding hard-to-miss metal appliqué indices and SuperLuminova-filled hands onto the new watch’s blue dial.
As with the first BR 05 automatic skeleton, Bell & Ross also utilizes an open-worked, Sellita-based Caliber BR-321 to create the Caliber BR-322 inside the new watch, which is then finished with satin and polished surfaces.
From the back of the watch, you’ll find a clear view of the caliber and its unusual 360° blue-coated, open-worked oscillating weight. Bell & Ross is offering the watch as a limited edition of 500 on either a flexible steel bracelet or a ribbed blue rubber strap.
Price: $6,400 on blue rubber strap; $6,900 on a satin-polished steel bracelet
The second new model, the BR 05 Black Steel and Gold, introduces a slightly ritzier look to the collection with its 1980s-style two-tone dress. Bell & Ross combines satin finishing, polished steel and 18-karat rose gold to create the somewhat retro style, further enhanced with a black dial.
Bell & Ross accents the watch’s black dial with a lovely satin-finished rose gold bezel and rose gold applique numerals, rose-gold-outlined indices and SuperLuminova-set skeletonized hour and minute hands. All the satin-finished rose gold here nicely offsets the polished case and bracelet accents.
The look of this new collection, particularly with its gold-framed numerals and indices, is somewhat more luxurious than its ‘two-tone’ description would indicate.
The new model reaches perhaps the halfway mark to the luxuriousness of the $32,500 all-gold BR 05 that Bell & Ross included within the collection’s launch last year. And while I haven’t had the opportunity to feel the new watches, I’d guess the rose gold here would also add a bit of heft when compared to the all-steel BR 05 models.
Echoing all the BR 05 models, this Black Steel and Gold model features a clear caseback exposing a 360° rotor, which on this new model is coated with ruthenium.
Prices: $6,500 on black rubber strap; $10,900 on a rose gold and steel bracelet
When Bell & Ross debuted the BR 05 collection last summer, we spoke to Carlos Rosillo, CEO and co-founder of Bell & Ross about the collection. In light of the newest additions to the BR 05 collection during the past month, we’ve reprised his responses to our questions below.
Why create the entirely new collection BR 05? What was your goal?
The goal was to develop an intermediate model between the square – our utilitarian icon – and the round – which is universal and generic. With this new line in mind, we did not want to create a city watch, but a Bell & Ross watch made for the city. The BR05 is the subtly square watch for the city.
In what ways does the BR 05 design fit in with the Bell & Ross approach to watchmaking?
The inspiration comes from our iconic model, the BR03, which takes essence from the aeronautical cockpits. As a complementary collection and thus still very Bell & Ross, we are keeping our core codes that are the iconic case with a circle in a square, the iconic graphics on the dial with its 12-6-9 figures and the four screws. It is what I consider an evolution of this icon. In the BR05 DNA, there is a piece of dashboard.
Who are you appealing to with the new design?
It is a modern watch. So we can easily imagine a young urban man who works in a suit and rides a bike appreciating items with a singular design. It is the ideal timepiece for the man-about-town eager to face the challenges of modern life and in control of time and his destiny.
What were the primary challenges you discovered when creating the collection?
The main challenge is to maintain the brand’s fundamentals while innovating constantly. We are evolving in a market where novelty is necessary. The difficulty lay in respecting the proportions and volumes: to design a 40mm case with a mechanical movement and open the dial to emphasize readability.
Why such a distinctive bracelet?
The new BR05 is a perfect blend between our iconic square model and a type of watch in which the case merges with the bracelet to create a compact and harmonious whole. The arc of the curve allow the components to be perfectly aligned and ensures the bracelet can adapt seamlessly to any wrist. All of this makes the BR 05 a jewel.
Will BR 05 replace any existing collection?
No, it is indeed the missing link between our two existing collections and case shapes. The round shape is inspired by the history of aviation and the past, and the square for its radical form and for professional use.
We wanted to create a watch with the iconic Bell & Ross case and to merge it with a steel bracelet. The idea was to move from the professional world of the extreme to the urban landscape, a transition from the off-road to the on-road.
The green-tinted sapphire crystal display on the upper level of the new Bell & Ross BR03-92 HUD offers the illusion of a digital Head Up Display, or HUD. Bell & Ross echoes HUD, a technical navigation display that was born in the 1950s and is today found in civil and automotive displays, on the new limited edition 42mm matte-black ceramic watch.
This newest release in the Bell & Ross Flight Instrument family follows previous models that include the BR 01 Radar (from 2010) the BR 01 Turn Coordinator, the BR 01 Heading Indicator and last year’s BR03-92 Bi-Compass.
For those not versed in navigation-speak, the HUD display’s primary function in a cockpit is to keep the pilot focused on the target ahead without having to move his or her eyes off the line of sight. Bell & Ross mimics the HUD display by assembling three layers: the hands, the dial surface and the reverse side of the crystal.
On the reverse side of the crystal, Bell & Ross prints four brackets that immediately recall the four corners of the HUD line of sight display. On the middle level, note that the black and green hands (minutes and seconds) are essentially hidden, with their visibility determined by their luminosity. And finally, the independent central hour disc is blackened with the hours indicated by a green triangle marker.
Bell & Ross adds that the overall graphic style and the green coloring of the BR03-92 HUD also closely echo the typical HUD display. The sapphire crystal is green thanks to a special tint applied to the under side of the crystal.
Bell & Ross is supplying the new BR03-92 HUD with a black rubber strap and a black synthetic fabric strap. Price: $3,990. Available in June.
Bell & Ross this week unveils three automatic watches within its vintage-military BR-V2 collection, all equipped with NATO fabric straps. Two of the 41mm debuts are steel-cased models (one is a GMT and the other is a three-hand model with date) while the third is bronze-cased bi-compax chronograph.
Bell & Ross is offering each new model with its own blue or green color with matching dials, bezels and straps. Two of the new watches are also available with a steel bracelet, while the bronze-cased chronograph, a limited edition of 999, is only sold with its blue NATO strap.
BR V2-93 GMT Blue
With a nod to the BR V2-93 GMT 24H launched in 2018, this latest GMT edition offers a 41mm steel case with a metallic blue sunray pattern dial. And in case you’re not aware of the aviation-linked GMT functionality, Bell & Ross has placed an aircraft-styled counterweight on the seconds hand.
Around the dial you’ll see a bi-directional rotating bezel in two-tone anodized aluminum (grey for daytime and blue for night-time), which means the time in a second time zone (shown on a 24-hour scale) can be read using the arrow-tipped GMT hand. All four hands and all the indexes are coated with white SuperLuminova.
BR V2-92 Military Green
The BR V2-92 Military Green model is the most basic of these three debuts, with its three-hand timekeeping, date and anti-reflective matte khaki dial.
Here, Bell & Ross has treated the dial to echo those in the existing Bell & Ross “LUM” collection, which means it is treated with green SuperLuminova. And as we’ve seen in the Bell & Ross Vintage collection, this BR V2-92 is also equipped with domed sapphire crystal and a black bi-directional rotating bezel in anodized aluminum. Note that the date, in a nice military detail, is at 4.30 and is colored the same khaki green color as the dial.
BR V2-94 Aéronavale Bronze
To maintain the vintage décor found on the entire Bell & Ross Vintage BR Aéronavale collection, here the brand extends the look with a bronze-cased edition, limited edition to 999 pieces. Bell & Ross’s bronze formula, comprised of 91% copper, 7% aluminum and 2% silicon, noticeably tilts on the yellow side of traditional bronze tints.
Like other watches in the Bell & Ross Vintage series, this new BR V2-94 Aéronavale Bronze features a fixed bezel, here in navy blue anodized aluminum. The watch’s blue dial, nicely set with gilt metal indexes and numerals, is a luxurious example of historic bi-compax chronograph subdials. This chronograph also features screw-down pushers and skeletonized hands coated with white SuperLuminova.