Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige and BR V2-94 Military Beige

The Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige and BR V2-94 Military Beige were unveiled at Baselworld 2019 and exhibit a very different look to the brand’s iconic BR 01 models. Designer Steve Huyton, a man with a keen eye for aesthetics, looks closely at these military-themed watches.

Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige and BR V2-94 Military Beige

Image – The Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige. Note the dial shade alters quite markedly depending on the angle it is held and the prevailing light conditions.

As a writer, I seldom delve into the politics of the watch industry, preferring to focus upon the design of timepieces. Back in 2012, I had an in-depth conversation with the owner of a micro-watch brand (no names) and we discussed how the world of horology is dominated by just a few large groups. However, despite the dominance of Swatch, Richemont and LVMH there are some large privately owned companies which also enjoy significant market share, including Audemars Piguet, Chopard and Patek Philippe.

Image – The Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige

In addition, there is a further group of brands, often termed the ‘independents’ which are again privately owned but much smaller than the aforementioned luxury marques. Like most fans of watchmaking, I am drawn to these small firms because they embrace innovative design, something which resonates with me.

Interestingly, the behemoth company, Chanel is independently owned but has a diverse portfolio of investments within the watch industry which often slip under the radar. Chanel is owned by two brothers, Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer. As well as producing the iconic Chanel J12, the French brand also has stakes in a few comparatively small Maisons including F.P. Journe, Romain Gauthier and Bell & Ross.

Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige and BR V2-94 Military Beige

Image – The Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige

By comparison with some watchmaking firms, Bell & Ross is a fledgling company, established as recently as 1992. However, no one can deny that the founders Bruno Belamich and Carlos A. Rosillo have created an impressive luxury brand within a relatively short space of time. In fact, they are present in over 75 countries, through a selected network of 800 retailers and 13 exclusive boutiques.

Even though its corporate headquarters is located in Paris, all the company’s timepieces are manufactured in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. This elevated city, circa 1000 metres above sea level, is often described as the ‘heart of watchmaking’ with numerous component suppliers conveniently located nearby. While Belamich and Rosilo continue to own shares in Bell & Ross they now also enjoy the helpful support of Chanel.

Nevertheless, while enjoying the support of Chanel, Bell & Ross still create models blessed with the same courageous and free-spirited design ethos typical of my beloved ‘independent’ brands. Indeed, despite growing to a sizeable entity, Belamich and Rosillo continue to embrace the bold styling of their early models.

Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige and BR V2-94 Military Beige

Image – The Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Military Beige

Most people associate Bell & Ross with its iconic BR collection of watches. The distinctive square shape design has proved very popular with buyers as it perfectly replicates the cockpit of an aircraft. There have been many different versions in the range, including high-end tourbillons. In contrast, the brand also produces more traditional style watches, like the Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige and BR V2-94 Military Beige. If you prefer more understated timepieces, then these models are likely to prove enticing options.

Generally, I gravitate towards larger, more avant-garde watches. However, I do appreciate that the Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige and BR V2-94 Military Beige are likely to appeal to a broad demographic of buyers, including a female audience. Both watches possess a classical satin-brushed steel case measuring 41mm in diameter. Visually the BR V2-92 has a similar appearance to the iconic Rolex Submariner (especially when presented on a steel bracelet) and the BR V2-94 is reminiscent of the Daytona. However, Bell & Ross has introduced a clever twist with the inclusion of stylish beige dials, black numerals, discreet date windows and steel bezels, embellished with anodised black aluminium. These details imbue the timepieces with a very sophisticated, retro aesthetic.

Image – The Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Military Beige

Bell & Ross has equipped each reference with a Swiss-made mechanical self-winding movement. The BR V2-92 is powered by the Calibre BR-CAL.302, while the BR V2-94 is equipped with the Calibre BR-CAL.301. Functionally, the timepieces feature hours, minutes, seconds and the date. In addition, the BR V2-94 includes a chronograph and incorporates glorious screw-down pushers. Both models are water-resistant to a depth of 100-metres, making them suitable for swimming and an array of other leisure activities.

Both the Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige and BR V2-94 Military Beige are available on either an elastic canvas strap or a stylish satin-polished steel bracelet. Certainly, the latter would be my preference, as it is more in keeping with the character of both watches.

Further reading

https://www.bellross.com

Technical specifications

  • Model: Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Beige
  • Reference: BRV292-BEI-ST/SF (elastic canvas strap)
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 41mm; sapphire crystal to the front and sapphire caseback
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
  • Movement: Calibre BR-CAL.302; automatic movement
  • Strap: Elastic canvas strap (also available with satin-polished steel bracelet)
  • Price: £2200 (RRP as at 24.8.2019)
  • Model: Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Military Beige
  • Reference: BRV294-BEI-ST/SST (steel bracelet)
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 41mm; sapphire crystal to the front and sapphire caseback
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
  • Movement: Calibre BR-CAL.301; automatic movement
  • Strap: Satin-polished steel bracelet (also available with elastic canvas strap)
  • Price: £3600 (RRP as at 24.8.2019)