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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
>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.