Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Cotes

Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Cotes.

An in-depth review of the Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Cotes featuring live pictures, specification and price.

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Côtes chronograph with pulsometer scale

Ever since its inception in 1992, Bell & Ross has created watches for professional use. During its history the avant-garde brand has crafted timepieces for ‘pilots, divers, astronauts and bomb disposal experts.’ Recently, the company with the ampersand logo has unveiled a pair of automatic watches created to ‘pay tribute to professionals who rescue at sea and, more specifically, to its helicopter pilots and divers..’

The Garde-Côtes, the sea rescuer’s watch, is available in a ‘three handed’ option or, alternatively, a chronograph. Both timepieces are available on a black rubber strap or a satin-polished steel bracelet. I personally found the chronograph model, presented on a steel bracelet, to be the most interesting option and felt a strong motivation to affix it to my arm and explore its many attributes.

The dial

Smatterings of grey, white and cheery orange populate the dial of this bi-compax chronograph. The domed sapphire crystal bathes the dial canvas with a profusion of light while the effective anti-reflective treatment mitigates the prospect of glare.

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Côtes chronograph with pulsometer scale

The hour and minute hands are lined with Superluminova with the surrounding surfaces presented in gleaming metalwork, augmenting readability. The hours are denoted with luminescent indices, save for 6 and 12 o’clock which are proclaimed with Arabic numerals, sans serifs.

Bell & Ross has expertly employed symmetry with the placement of the two subdials. The balance this confers grants much eye-appeal. The left hand subdial is a 30-minute chronograph register while the subdial on the right is a small seconds display.

The periphery of the dial is adorned with a chapter ring, marked with numerous strokes, facilitating split-second time measurement. A date display is located at 4:30 and proves simple to read via the circular aperture.

The bezel is marked with a pulsometer scale, calibrated to 30 beats per minute. By pressing the chronograph pushpiece at 2 o’clock, the wearer is able to read off the heart rate via the scale on the bezel. For example, 30 beats in 30 seconds would indicate a healthy heart rate of 60 bpm.

A fundamental requirement of any watch is to ensure the dial indications prove simple to interpret. The Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Côtes deftly fulfils this requirement whilst also being wonderfully attractive, courtesy of the harmonious dial layout.

The case

The stainless steel case measures 41mm in diameter making it ideal for a broad cross-section of would-be wearers. The surfaces of the case are satin-polished, proffering a muted air. Indeed, the restrained appearance of the case acts as a wonderful counter position to the orange hued ebullience manifest with the dial.

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Côtes chronograph with pulsometer scale

A sense of robustness is conferred with the crown protectors and screw-in pushpieces. Beyond the aesthetic appeal of these details there is a useful degree of sturdiness and an enhanced capacity to shrug-off potential water ingress. There is something very satisfying in unscrewing the push-pieces and the tactile smoothness they proffer reinforces the sense of enjoyment.

The bezel is steel with an anodised black aluminium ring and pulsometer scale. It has a slight sheen to its appearance, adding to its allure. The text on the scale is also highly legible, aiding ease of read off.

Despite its utilitarian role, the Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Côtes has an exhibition case-back affording views of the self-winding movement within.

I found the metal bracelet with folding clasp to be of high quality construction and comfortable against the skin. Indeed, I would advocate its selection in preference to the rubber strap option every time.

The movement

Bell & Ross is always tight-lipped about the specification of its movements. The calibre BR-CAL.301 proves to be no exception with no information released regarding balance frequency, jewel count or power reserve.

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Côtes chronograph with pulsometer scale

Nevertheless, admiring the movement with a loupe in hand, it is easy to see that the oscillating mass is adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, the bridges are adorned with perlage and there is a smattering of blued screws to induce smiles of appreciation.

Closing remarks

The Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Cotes is a highly attractive chronograph. The palette of colours proves both tasteful and eye-catching. However, despite the ebullience of the dial, nothing mars readability.

Bell & Ross has wisely avoided excessive dimensions, making this an ideal timepiece for a large number of potential purchasers. The case is satin-finished and looks beautifully understated. Personally, I favour the metal bracelet but this is clearly a matter of taste.

There is something very pleasing about the tactility bestowed with the screw-in pushpieces gracing the side of the case. They operate smoothly and feel pleasing to the touch.

Perhaps one of the biggest attributes of this watch is value for money. The BR V2-94 Garde-Cotes on steel bracelet is priced at a modest £3600.00, making it a worthy contender for any chronograph fan.

Further information

https://www.bellross.com

Technical specification

  • Model: Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Garde-Cotes
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 41 mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph; pulsometer scale
  • Movement: calibre BR-CAL.301; Self-winding movement
  • Strap: Steel bracelet with folding clasp
  • Price: £3,600 (RRP as at 16.9.2017)

Acknowledgement

I would like to thank Jura Watches for kindly providing access to this remarkable timepiece.