This photo montage (OK, montage light — three images) gives you’re a really good idea of the design influences behind the Bell & Ross BR series of aviation watches. It is also a good way of seeing a brief history of airplane instrument panels.
The first Bell & Ross BR01 watch focused on the middle era, while the quartz BR watch came second – and now the BR Heritage is the newest in the collection. At first glance, the BR Heritage looks a lot like the standard BR01 (or BR03) watch line. When you put the two together, you can easily see the differences. Aside from the vintage colors, the hands and indexes are a bit different. The BR Heritage goes Panerai style minimalist having less indicators on the dial. The hands — equally as effective — are more classically instrumental in design.
The BR Heritage will arrive in two model sizes, the 46mm wide BR Heritage BR 01-92, and the 42mm wide BR Heritage BR 03-92. Each comes with the (very slick looking) new branded thick leather strap. The case itself will have a different finish as well. Instead of the more modern machined look as the original line, the BR Heritage will have a bead-blasted carbon powder coating on the steel case — giving it a vintage aircraft instrument look. Inside the watch is still the ETA automatic mechanical 2892-2 movement.
Overall the new look is pretty nice. The strapping new strap (had to say that) is a nice addition to the line, but I wonder if the new look of the BR Heritage is enough to attract existing Bell & Ross watch collectors. The watch maker is actually at a bit of predicament right now. They have a winning formula with the BR-01 series of watches. The line will eventually get a bit stale and need sprucing up, but do you really want to mess too much with a winning formula? The challenge is keeping fans excited while preserving the core elements they value in the watches. Bell & Ross is probably doing the best they can right now, and we will see what they come up with in the future.
Movement: Automatic mechanical ETA 2892.
– BR 01: hours, minutes, seconds.
– BR 03: hours, minutes, seconds. Date.
– BR 01: diameter XXL 46 mm.
– BR 03: diameter 42 mm.
316 L glass bead blasted steel with black finishing type “carbon powder coating”. Screw in crown: BR 01.
Dial: black. Numbers, index marks and hands covered
with a sand-colored photoluminescent coating for night reading.
Glass: anti-reflection sapphire.
Water resistance: 100 m.
Bracelet: printed natural leather or heavy-duty synthetic fabric.