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Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The search for a good GMT watch never ends – and one of Bell & Ross’ latest entrants to this crowded two-time zone arena is the BR V2-93 GMT. Continuing on with Bell & Ross vintage and military history-inspired modern day luxury timepiece tradition, the BR V2-93 GMT blends a series of design elements into one rather cohesive product. One of the most popular types of watches for enthusiasts, GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) watches are useful because they show two time zones on the same dial allowing them to serve as ideal travel companions. Given that people who enjoy high-end timepieces also happen to travel quite a bit – the popularity of GMT watches for the enthusiast should be easy to understand.

Bell & Ross is no stranger to GMT watches and the BR V2-93 GMT is the newest design flavor more so than adding something radically new from a technological or material perspective. Detailing on the BR V2-93 GMT watch is very good and it is interesting to investigate the various classic wristwatch designs that Bell & Ross pulled from as inspiration for this product. In my opinion, this BR V2-93 GMT is a design amalgamation mixing elements of classic Rolex timepieces and the cockpit instrument design favored by major Bell & Ross military and aviation-themed watches.

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

It’s the curation of design elements, as well as the elegance of the design which is novel here, and I think Bell & Ross did a good job. If only because even though there are a lot of recognizable parts on the BR V2-93 GMT – it doesn’t immediately look like any other GMT watch currently on the market. That is always a challenge because a brand like Bell & Ross thrives by finding the sweet spot between “familiar” and “novel.” That means they are at their best when a customer associates a new watch product with the right type of aesthetic theme but does not confuse the new watch for something which already exists.

The orange arrow GMT hand is probably the most recognizable element borrowed from the world of Rolex – being similar to those used on various Rolex Explorer II models. The rest of the dial very much fits the cockpit instrument clock aesthetic which has been tied to Bell & Ross since the 2004 release of the BR01 Instrument collection. Since then Bell & Ross has rendered this dial design in a vast number of ways and in a range of case designs. The flat, slightly glossy black dial used high contrast thick-printed hour markers and attractive lume-painted hands. Note that the faceted hands are satin-finished on one half and polished on the other. I love this look and tend to gravitate toward this type of hand design. This mixture of elements offers a bit of a dressy look combined with the functional heritage that such a Bell & Ross dial is best known for. The dial is elegant, legible, and very distinctly a Bell & Ross while at the same time it evokes classic design elements beloved by generations of watch enthusiasts.

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Over the dial is a “box-style” domed sapphire crystal design to mimic the shape of some traditional acrylic crystals. An effective application of AR (anti-reflective) coating ensures a glare-free viewing experience when you look at straight-on. Around the dial is a bi-directional rotating bezel with 24 positions. The bezel turns assuredly with solid notched for each of the 24 positions. This is the only scale for the GMT hand, but turning it can help you reference an additional third timezone if you know how to use this feature correctly. Bell & Ross gave the GMT bezel and attractive two-tone design mixing black with gray. I think it was a nice way to offer the “AM/PM” look of a bezel without making it too colorful. The color on this watch is sparse (on purpose) and limited to a bit of dial text and the matching orange GMT hand). My only gripe about the bezel is that it is in traditional anodized aluminum. That makes for a nice vintage look, but today’s watch buyers are increasingly interested in modern bezel materials such as ceramic which boast far better scratch resistance. The good news is aluminum bezel inserts are inexpensive and easy to replace – if you scratch up your bezel on the BR V2-93 GMT watch badly.

Inside the watch is a Swiss ETA 2893 automatic movement which offers the time, GMT hand, and date. Bell & Ross calls this their caliber BR-CAL.303. It operates at 4Hz with about two days of power reserve. Not unheard of but a bit uncommon for Bell & Ross in such models – this watch is equipped with a sapphire crystal display back which allows you to view the movement. Bell & Ross chose movements with a nice level of decoration and on the sapphire caseback is printed a novel design which has a plane flying around the globe and the statement “GMT 24H.” If that alone doesn’t categorize this product as a traveler’s watch, I don’t know what would.

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The BR V2-93 GMT watch exists in Bell & Ross’ “Vintage” collection where you can find other “BR V2” models that share this case and bracelet design. Currently, this is the only BR V2 model with a GMT complication – and the price premium for it above the collection’s three-hand models is modest at about $300. That also means if you like this watch overall but prefer a non-GMT model, you can explore the Bell & Ross V2-92 models.

The polished and brushed case is beautiful and comfortable being in all steel and 41mm wide. With the crystal, the case is about 12mm thick, but it wears slim in my opinion. Lug-to-lug distance is a very wearable 48mm. The case has a screw-down crown and is water resistant to 100 meters. Bell & Ross offers the BR V2-93 watch on both a steel bracelet or “canvas-style” rubber strap. The bracelet costs $300 more than the strap which is not unreasonable.

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Design-wise the BR V2 bracelet evokes the look of the Rolex President bracelet, but in a unique design for Bell & Ross. I really enjoy how the bracelet gracefully tapers from 22mm wide where it connects at the lugs to 18mm wide at the fold-over deployant clasp. The well-made deployant clasp is attractive and sturdy, but simple in its design. Today watch lovers demand bracelets with tool-less micro-adjust features. The BR V2 bracelet doesn’t have that, but it does have a few spring bar micro-adjust holes in the deployant which offer a more precise fit – crucially important in my opinion for any everyday sports watch on a bracelet.

Mixing the world of vintage sports watches, aviation instruments, and world travel, the Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT is a sturdy, all-purpose two-time zone watch with an elegant and masculine personality. It’s a high-end fashion watch for those who are attracted by vintage sport watch designs but hardly want to fuss with something actually old and finicky. I support Bell & Ross’ mission (along with others who offer similar modern-made vintage-inspired sports watch) in producing such watches if only because they are so satisfying to wear and own. For those who love the look of an orange GMT hand, want a comfortable round 41mm wide case, and appreciated a timeless aviation-inspired dial – the Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT will be a satisfying timepiece acquisition. Price for the Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT reference BRV293-BL-ST/SRB on the rubber strap is $3,200 USD while the reference BRV293-BL-ST/SST on the steel bracelet (as reviewed) has a retail price of $3,500 USD. See more or order at Bell & Ross here.

Necessary Data
>Brand: Bell & Ross
>Model: BR V2-93 GMT (reference BRV293-BL-ST/SST as tested)
>Price: $3,200 – $3,500 USD
>Size: 41mm wide, approx. 12mm thick, and approx 48mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: It’s an ideal travel watch – so anytime I might be jet-setting around.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone who loves the look of classic aviation and GMT watches but wants something modern with a high-fashion twist to it and not too high of a price.
>Best characteristic of watch: Comfortable to wear on the wrist and easy to read, the stylistic versatility of the watch makes it wearable in a lot of occasions. I really like how the watch dial and hands (especially the hands) came together for a handsome and classy look.
>Worst characteristic of watch: At this price collectors are not wrong to want a ceramic or other more durable bezel insert material. Watch is attractive but Bell & Ross deprives it of a specific “origin story” which can help customers better connect to it emotionally.

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Comments

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  • Dénes Albert

    I already liked the previous version of their vintage GMT watch and I have to say that all the changes are for the better: improved bezel, less text on the dial, crown guards, marginally smaller case. I also agree with most of Ariel’s observations. Taken on its own, not a bad offer. But for a quarter more Tudor offers a GMT watch with an in-house movement, 70-hour power reserve and twice the water resistance (200m). And for a third less, you can get a TAG Heuer Aquaracer with the same ETA movement, 500m WR and higher brand pedigree.

  • Dany Farhat

    3200$ too expensive…

  • JosephWelke

    Handsome watch, and thank Ghu for the lack of an origin story.

  • Tried it at their Paris store 2 months ago…very classy and refined, and also very thin and wearable. The fact that few people even know B&R is the icing on the cake for me!

  • SuperStrapper

    They seem to be leaning heavily on the v2 style, I guess the public has spoken. It will certainly be much more wearable than the huge br01 squares that put them on the map, although they are such an important signature.
    Anyway, quite handsome. Overpriced, but B&R ADs play ball, so it it really sang to you there’s no doubt you could work it down to a more reasonable position.

    • Independent_George

      Including tax, easily less than $3K out the door.

    • John Effing Zoidberg

      Needz moar skullz.

  • Nello Alexandri

    It looks good and has decent specs. But, I just cannot see buying this over a Tudor.

  • WaseemH

    Had the pleasure of trying on this watch at my AD when I bought my 39mm Oyster Perpetual with black dial. It’s a rwallr nice watch, hope to add the BR V2 93 or the BR V2 94 to my collection one day.

  • wickets

    looks amazing….now to find one at a decent discount! p.s. thanks for including the ‘lume shot’

  • BNABOD

    I really want to like B&R, I think their designs in their non square watches are good, sporty, fun and well made but something always hold me back and I think that is price for what you get . I mean 2893, bracelet w no speedy adjustment, non ceramic bezel, Rolex exp II look alike (i do like the BR hands better though ) for 3500 bucks is quite high for a brand that doesn’t scream luxury w very poor resale value (like many out there). The brand is the in-between kind, the kind that helps you step into higher power brands but once you have stepped up it is hard to look at BR as a serious contender

  • Martin Pitt-Bradley

    This watch is a mixed bag:
    1) Should have gone with a ceramic bezel insert.
    2) @ MSRP, I can’t imagine anyone not pulling out an extra $700 for a Tudor GMT, but Bell&Ross can be had at 30% off.
    3) It is an Explorer II ripoff, but that’s a good thing to rip off
    4) If you’re going ETA, does this compete with the Breitling Avenger II GMT?

    • Independent_George

      The GMT arrow is “Explorer-esque”, but the rotating bezel is not.

      • Boris N. Natasha

        Good point

      • Boris N. Natasha

        Good point

      • Boris N. Natasha

        Good point

    • Jorge Miranda

      Indeed. In terms of case size, I prefer the Avenger II GMT.

  • Jon Heinz

    Yeah, I like this one too. Clean, legible, not a blatant homage of anything. On the short list of BRs I really would buy. (I still miss my old BR02)

  • I assume with a 2893 it’s a “true” GMT with an independently-adjustable hour hand? Not a bad-looking watch, somehow the design elements don’t quite gel for me, but kudos for the fact that “Bell & Ross deprives it of a specific “origin story” which can help customers better connect to it emotionally.”
    I loathe faux “origin stories.”

    • If it’s a ‘true’ GMT you’re after, Alpina and Federique Constant have the most affordable options, then it’s Tudor, Omega, Panerai, Grand Seiko, and Rolex. With the exception of a few Omegas that used heavily modified ETA movements, if it’s a modern ETA or Sellita GMT, it’s the adjustable 24-hour (‘desk GMT’), and not a true GMT as you’re chasing.

  • I assume with a 2893 it’s a “true” GMT with an independently-adjustable hour hand? Not a bad-looking watch, somehow the design elements don’t quite gel for me, but kudos for the fact that “Bell & Ross deprives it of a specific “origin story” which can help customers better connect to it emotionally.”
    I loathe faux “origin stories.”

  • Larry Holmack

    Nice enough looking if you’re into the whole black bezel and dial with white numerals look. But..not me. I haven’t owned a watch like that for 30 years ..and don’t plan on changing anytime soon!

    • egznyc

      I recall you have lots of watches with more colorful dials – and maybe half a dozen green ones, right? No boring black for you ;-).

      • Larry Holmack

        Also about the same amount of Blue dials. It’s not the black dials that I don’t like, as I do have a couple of watches with black dials…one has Rose tone numerals, and the other is a “combat version” with the dial and numerals being black…it’s the black and white thing….and the fact that in the 1980’s the company I worked for had a very strict dress code….even down to what type of watch we could wear…and how it had to look.

        • egznyc

          I still don’t have a green-dialed watch – but I definitely want to expand my color palate. Green (among other hues) would look great with bronze, for example. Now as for your aversion to white on black, either you find it too ordinary, or too legible, but I doubt your objection is with that, right? 😉

          I haven’t had an employer who dictates what type of watch I can wear. I would not be happy at such an employer! (But I’ve definitely had to follow dress codes.)

        • egznyc

          I still don’t have a green-dialed watch – but I definitely want to expand my color palate. Green (among other hues) would look great with bronze, for example. Now as for your aversion to white on black, either you find it too ordinary, or too legible, but I doubt your objection is with that, right? 😉

          I haven’t had an employer who dictates what type of watch I can wear. I would not be happy at such an employer! (But I’ve definitely had to follow dress codes.)

        • egznyc

          I still don’t have a green-dialed watch – but I definitely want to expand my color palate. Green (among other hues) would look great with bronze, for example. Now as for your aversion to white on black, either you find it too ordinary, or too legible, but I doubt your objection is with that, right? 😉

          I haven’t had an employer who dictates what type of watch I can wear. I would not be happy at such an employer! (But I’ve definitely had to follow dress codes.)

  • Bobby

    Aluminum insert? Ceramic or a sapphire cap should be an industry standard by now, at least at this price point.

    I don’t quite understand why some watch manufacturers are still using aluminum and other metal inserts that are susceptible to scratches and dents.

    There are entry-level Swiss watches far cheaper (Oris) that use ceramic inserts, so cost factor is not an excuse.

    • John Effing Zoidberg

      Depends on what kind of anodizing job they did.

  • Jorge Miranda

    Thanks for providing a review of another La Chaux-de-Fonds watch origin timepiece, which I have been very much interest. Certainly your opinion about the material bezel not being made in ceramic and the lack of micro adjustments is something that Bell & Ross should take seriously into consideration for future “remakes” of this nice GMT watch.

  • The price and aluminum bezel is a non starter for me. This is no better than a Steinhart or Squale yet costs around 6x more.

    • Boris N. Natasha

      Don’t think what you said is fair. This is not an homage watch and may be derivative but not an Explorer homage. I think B&R are maturing as a brand with this watch as evidence and Steinhart/Squale stuck in homage land.

    • Boris N. Natasha

      Don’t think what you said is fair. This is not an homage watch and may be derivative but not an Explorer homage. I think B&R are maturing as a brand with this watch as evidence and Steinhart/Squale stuck in homage land.

    • Boris N. Natasha

      Don’t think what you said is fair. This is not an homage watch and may be derivative but not an Explorer homage. I think B&R are maturing as a brand with this watch as evidence and Steinhart/Squale stuck in homage land.

  • LetoAtreides69

    The bracelet is a really nice look. It definitely feels innovative without being too out there.

  • LetoAtreides69

    The bracelet is a really nice look. It definitely feels innovative without being too out there.

  • I really like this watch. Just a nice vintage inspired travel watch, of which there isnt a lot of options. Sure it’s a bit pricey, but B&R can always be had at a good discount.

  • John Effing Zoidberg

    Not bad at all. Thought it was a Planet Ocean at first glance.

  • JL85

    The bracelet is the only part of this watch I like. Everything else is like everything else, also waaay overpriced just like every other B&R watch.

  • egznyc

    As others have said, this is a nice enough design and sure, I’d be happy to own one, except the price just isn’t justified.

  • egznyc

    As others have said, this is a nice enough design and sure, I’d be happy to own one, except the price just isn’t justified.

  • greybeard56

    Christopher Ward’s C65 Trident GMT also has the 2893 movement and a very similar “vintage” vibe for > $US 2K less. I’m curious; what’s B&R’s value proposition here??

    • Boris N. Natasha

      It doesn’t say Christopher Ward on it in an awkward way and in a PowerPoint like type-face showing some understanding of design principle?!?

    • Boris N. Natasha

      It doesn’t say Christopher Ward on it in an awkward way and in a PowerPoint like type-face showing some understanding of design principle?!?

    • Boris N. Natasha

      It doesn’t say Christopher Ward on it in an awkward way and in a PowerPoint like type-face showing some understanding of design principle?!?

    • pubnum

      I was thinking the same thing except I am not sure if there is or has to be a value prop. Bell & Ross’ history and prestige is evident and well known. The watch is tastefully done, design is true to Bell & Ross’ pieces, and there is clearly a practicality on multiple fronts (lume, GMT, robustness for example). I think we can move beyond “a watch is just a watch”.

    • pubnum

      I was thinking the same thing except I am not sure if there is or has to be a value prop. Bell & Ross’ history and prestige is evident and well known. The watch is tastefully done, design is true to Bell & Ross’ pieces, and there is clearly a practicality on multiple fronts (lume, GMT, robustness for example). I think we can move beyond “a watch is just a watch”.

  • Mikita

    Come on guys, do a little search – no one forces you to get if for full MSRP. You can find it in $2.2-2.3k range online.

  • Mikita

    double

  • PR

    I like the look and that it’s slim, cool watch at half the retail

    • Patrick M

      Yeah, I like their designs a lot, but B&R is a smarter buy at grey market prices- although I’m not sure how much their ADs discount, so maybe you can get a good price at the AD too (I don’t know). One of my long time favorites is an older original BR126 Vintage that I got second hand (ebay) several years ago.

  • Max Attack

    What a bunch of whiners I this board, you guys are just vomiting up forum group think crap. There are plenty of Swiss and German brands who do the exact same thing as B&R, use third party movements. There are brands that charge more than B&R, but those brands are for some reason accepted. At the end of the day Brands charge what they do because of their branding. If you want bang for the buck get a quartz timex.

    • egznyc

      Those brands aren’t accepted – if you mean purchased – by the likes of me. We all vote with our wallet after all.

    • egznyc

      Those brands aren’t accepted – if you mean purchased – by the likes of me. We all vote with our wallet after all.

    • egznyc

      Those brands aren’t accepted – if you mean purchased – by the likes of me. We all vote with our wallet after all.

    • al-nitak

      Well said. What’s wrong with this brand? Fair prices (I mean with a 300% mark up, not a mere 30% like in normal industries…) would be a 1/10th of street prices for the majority of watches. But branding provides the purchaser with a feeling of identity, one of the most valuable assets in this world.

    • al-nitak

      Well said. What’s wrong with this brand? Fair prices (I mean with a 300% mark up, not a mere 30% like in normal industries…) would be a 1/10th of street prices for the majority of watches. But branding provides the purchaser with a feeling of identity, one of the most valuable assets in this world.

  • Max Attack

    What a bunch of whiners I this board, you guys are just vomiting up forum group think crap. There are plenty of Swiss and German brands who do the exact same thing as B&R, use third party movements. There are brands that charge more than B&R, but those brands are for some reason accepted. At the end of the day Brands charge what they do because of their branding. If you want bang for the buck get a quartz timex.

  • cluedog12

    The care in the design is evident, right down the length of all the hands.

  • B&R have been around since 1992 which is quite “old” for a new brand. If you don’t like “history and prestige” you can think of them as having a “proven track record” with distinct and quality pieces.

    Just because they are good at design and marketing doesn’t mean the watches are not good. For example Bremont is very similar in concept but their watches cost 2x more. Most good stories start with “two friends were drinking one night and decided that they should start a band/company/book club”.

    All brands rely heavily on marketing and I don’t have a problem with faux-heritage (Jaquet Droz) or made-up heritage (B&R) as long as the design and quality are good.

    • Dimman

      Bringing Bremont into the discussion doesn’t do Belamich et Rosillo any favours by comparison. While they are both ham-fistedly harvesting history that neither have any legitimate connection to, at least Bremont isn’t pretending to be British (for the most part)…

      Less bad than Bremont due to less absurd pricing is still bad and absurd.

  • I really like this watch. My only thought is that at a similar price point to the Tudor GMT is likely going to lose out on a lot of customers that opt for the Black Bay. ADs are more likely to budge on price on the B&R relative to the Tudor so maybe that will make it more attractive from a price perspective?