Bell & Ross WW1 Regulateur Pink Gold Watch Hands-On

Bell & Ross WW1 Regulateur Pink Gold Watch Hands-On

Bell & Ross WW1 Regulateur Pink Gold Watch Hands On   hands on

Bell & Ross' WW1 Regulateur watch was among the most under-appreciated dress watches of 2013 in my opinion- and I think it is safe to call it a dress watch. What you are seeing is among the most elegant and "minimalist" regulator-style timepieces available, that still manages to achieve a high level of legibility and design refinement. It is one of the latest high-end pieces in the larger Bell & Ross WW1 collection and, as of now, only comes in 18k pink gold.

Over the last five or so years Bell & Ross has been "stepping back in time" by examining key eras from the past and designing watches with those themes and time periods in mind. When the WW1 collection was launched in around 2011 (hands-on here), it was a Bell & Ross homage to the first wrist watch, or in their lingo "wrist watch 1." That of course was meant to look like WWI, or "World War I," but that is when most people agree the wrist watch became a mainstream object. Though wrist watches as a product started in around 1904.

Bell & Ross WW1 Regulateur Pink Gold Watch Hands On   hands on

Bell & Ross WW1 Regulateur Pink Gold Watch Hands On   hands on

Most Bell & Ross WW1 timepieces are meant to resemble early wrist watches that evolved from pocket watches. The WW1 Regulateur has some of those features such as the hoop-style lugs as well as the caseback style. The caseback is actually pretty nice, with a machine guilloche engraved design that is a welcome added texture given that most of the case is polished smooth like a pebble. Bell & Ross calls the engraving style "barleycorn."

The case is also nicely sized at 42mm wide and wears very comfortably on the wrist. Bell & Ross intentionally produced it in 18k pink gold so as to communicate its higher-end nature. In addition to being part of a small limited edition of pieces, the WW1 Regulateur is a bit more expensive than your average Bell & Ross timepiece. It also happens to come on a beautiful brown alligator strap with matching 18k pink gold buckle.

Bell & Ross WW1 Regulateur Pink Gold Watch Hands On   hands on

22 comments
Mjjdevlin73
Mjjdevlin73

It's a nice piece that I would add to my collection. I do prefer a more sporty looking watch though.

mcv1973a
mcv1973a

It's a shame since I think this is probably the only B&R I would wear... but there are better pieces out there for 3/4 the cost.

Also... Ariel? You wear your watches too tight on the wrist. If your skin bulges around the strap, then back off just a skosh.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

I am a big fan of the Regulateur style of time display, so this watch already starts with a few bonus points. I like how stark the dial is, but it would be nice if there was just one little element of richness on the dial: like if the dial markers were applied metal, over painted, or the seconds dial be noticeably raised or recessed. Just something to give it more warmth of detail.

Of course, white metal case as well.

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

....no....no...no...US$23,000.00 times no.


And, to me, its not exactly legible at a quick glance.

antjay
antjay

I like the style but way too big and way too expensive . I get the whole free market thing ; ie , charge what you can get away with , but I reserve my respect for companies that at least try to offer some semblance of value for money , even in the "luxury" field . 

AtotheG
AtotheG

I've had two B&Rs. The first, a Vintage 123, broke within the first week.  It was returned and I "traded up" to a Vintage 126XL.  I noticed a strange glitch where the second hand would slow down between 9 and 11 seconds and then catch itself up.  Then, about 2 years in, the crown broke off.  And while I've always found their (round) watches quite attractive, I can't help but associate them with shoddy workmanship.  I think this piece is beautiful. The price tag is laughable.  For $23K, I'll take an FPJ Chronometre Bleu + a week visiting Mark in Hawaii (or a RO Jumbo 15202).

BIGCHRONO
BIGCHRONO

These greedy marques DO NOT CARE about alienating potential buyers.

ZL
ZL

I liked this watch when I first saw it, then I looked closer, and I liked it even more. It is really nice to see something at least a little bit different from B&R. It's a great looking watch.


Then I got to the end and seeing the price, my whole experience was cheapened, as this watch holds itself in much higher esteem than I do. I know it's always a downer to bring the subject money into art appreciation, but I always want to look at the whole package and context - and this isn't art. Some watches do deserve to be looked at as art, and in those cases, just looked at, and maybe a million dollar price tag doesn't matter. But this is another among many watches in this level of luxury that I just don't understand the price. It's a nice watch, that's it. I think no watch will ever be worth $23K to me - not a B&R, not a Panerai, not a Rolex .

CHANGSUB
CHANGSUB

One of the zeros has to be removed in the price !!

Fraser Petrick
Fraser Petrick

$23,000? Gulp. I could buy three used Chevy Cavaliers with that.


And though I would only wear the Regulateur to a Save the ________________(fill in the blank) fundraiser at The Four Seasons, I'd still want minute markers. Furthermore the "Bell & Ross" on the face at 3 o'clock is more reading material than discrete logo.


So there! B&R and your $23,000!

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

So empty, so sparse, and very appealing.  Your wallet would also end up being empty after forking out too much for this watch though, followed by your bed because her momma told her never to stick with a guy who'd pay over the odds for a minimalist watch.  Yeah, you heard me - those were momma's EXACT words - she was a WIS before it was cool.  Hmm, just noticed that the case back looks more like it has been lasered than engine-turned.  Doesn't look that nice being so flat.

Oelholm
Oelholm

Lovely dial only spoiled by the B&R logo, which looks at home at aviation instruments (which should be kept in aeroplane cockpits, not put on wrists), but not here on a stylish, retro-inspired piece. I too marvel at the price.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

Even more overpriced than the usual overpriced B&R fare. For over 20 large, I would expect an in-house caliber and want to see it from the back too.

So probably no more than $4500 of gold and a movement that with a module costs B&R less than $500 equals a $23,000 watch. Pass...

marbstiu
marbstiu

Hmm pretty clean but too expensive.

Buy an AP with that money :)

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@pharmacycult There is a "Ask Us Anything" feature on the blog. I suppose you could ask Ariel how often he trims his wrist hairs. Yeah, I know, I'm just causing trouble... ha ha

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Ulysses31 Wow, I'm shocked. Not that Mamma is a WIS. Only that being a WIS has become cool (instead of geeky). Cheers.

Zeitblom
Zeitblom

How do you arrive at $4500 for the gold? Less than that I think, but I'm just guessing. Btw is there any company out there that *doesnt* charge a ludicrous premium for gold?

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Zeitblom I was being generous. Figure a steel case that size might weigh 40 grams. Then in gold it would be 100 grams. At $45 a gram (its really about 44.5 today) I get $4500.

The problem with gold is the problem with all materials that go into retail products. The are marked up 100% over wholesale when they get to the retailer. And the manufacturer has to make some thing on any investment in materials (plus fabrication costs). So a watch that can be made for $5K (again being generous) could wholesale for twice that (assuming normal brand greed) and then get marked up twice from that. So $5K in production costs becomes $20K at retail. Maybe the watch brands don't really need 100% markup on their costs but if they can get it, they will. Sucks, right?

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Zeitblom No gold cases from me (at this point anyway). I defend that there needs to be some mark-up. But 100% on all parts, including gold, is a bit excessive for volume produced items. And I'm assume B&R plans to sell a fair number of them. For very limited production watches, the price model changes a lot as the tooling costs can equal the production costs for items made in quantities of 50 or less. 

Also, microbrands that sell direct can offer better prices than if their watches are sold by retailers. The retailer makes more money than the brand at 'keystone' pricing (50% of retail) as the watch maker has production costs. But its not all greed by the retailers either. Sometimes they have to pay 20% for 'mall rents' and then they have to pay their sales people wages and/or commissions. So their 50% cut (assuming they don't discount the watches) keeps getting eaten up too. In the end, the customer does have to pay for the retail sales experience. There is no free lunch. So gold in a retail store won't be anywhere need the gold bullion price per gram or ounce.

Having said all of that - if you want a somewhat affordable microbrand watch with diamonds and sapphires set in steel, I know where there is a unique piece for $5K.

Zeitblom
Zeitblom

@MarkCarson @Zeitblom So maybe there is a market out there for a microbrand whose owner only charges for the gold what it cost him, plus incidentals. Someone in Hawaii.