Being a brand specialized in pilot’s watches – and not only aeroplane pilots, but also racing pilots with a Formula 1-based partnership – Bell & Ross is no stranger to the chronograph complication. In fact, you can find this kind of movement in pretty much all its collections. And today, there’s a new member coming to the Vintage family, with a case design that doesn’t feel familiar (at first…) Meet the new, robust, more masculine Bell & Ross BR V3-94 Black Steel.
The “Vintage” collection is B&R’s take on the classic, round watch – opposed to the signature, iconic BR01 and BR03 collections, with the typical “circle within a square” design. As such, it is more traditional and plays on the retro trend, with smaller proportions, highly domed sapphire crystals and clean displays. There are even some pretty cool editions in bronze, as this JPS-inspired model. As such, it is less of a tool/instrument piece than the rest of the collection… but today, the Parisian brand brings some robustness and boldness to the collection with a larger case and a redesigned shape. This is the new BR V3-94 Black Steel – compared below with the other classic chronograph of the collection, the BR V2-94.
As you can see, we’re not just looking at an increase in size but a complete overhaul of the watch… Basically, a new concept with a different vocation. The new Bell & Ross BR V3-94 Black Steel now has a 43mm case, with more massive shoulders and lugs, as well as an integrated inner-lug module. In fact, it isn’t entirely new to B&R, since this case was used in the past for Renault F1 Limited Editions only, and it now finds its way into the permanent collection.
More evolutions are noticeable. Other than the shape and size, the bezel is now bi-directional with a 60-minute scale printed on an anodized black aluminium insert, the layout has evolved from a bi-compax to a 3-6-9 display and the chronograph pushers are simple pumps instead of (not so practical) screwed buttons. All in all, this watch is better adapted for racing and action. A tachymeter scale is also present, printed on the inner flange.
In classic B&R style, the dial of the BR V3-94 Black Steel is matte black with highly contrasting white numerals and markers, and all the elements (hands and indexes) are filled with Super-LumiNova. This makes for a very monochromatic, technical and sporty watch with a more instrumental look than the BR V2-94. A date is positioned at 4h30 in a circular window.
Powering this new model is the Calibre BR-CAL.301, an automatic modular chronograph based on the tried-and-tested ETA 2894-2 architecture. It runs at 4Hz and stores up to 42 hours of energy. It is visible through a sapphire caseback. The BR V3-94 is available in two versions, on a black leather strap or on a steel bracelet. Both are equipped with folding clasp.
BR V3-94 R.S.20 For watchmaking enthusiasts, Bell & Ross is a leading brand in regards to design. To create the R.S.20 collection, the design studio started by researching the “topic” to give form to their inspiration. This year, the collection drew its inspiration from different sources.
BR V3-94 BLACK STEEL. Bell & Ross is expanding its Vintage collection with the introduction of the new BR V3-94 Black Steel. A modern touch has been added by redesigning the diameter of the case. The model sports the classic circular case of this range, now tuned-up to 43 mm ‘XL’ proportions.
The Bell & Ross BR V3-94 R.S.19 is priced at S$6,400 (for the calfskin strap version; S$6,900 for the steel bracelet model), and it is limited to 999 pieces. For a racing enthusiast, the R.S.19 offers collectors an interesting timepiece with a rather handsome aesthetic.