I previously wrote about the new for 2010 Bell & Ross Vintage Heritage collection and Vintage Original watches here. Though at the time I wasn’t sure of their exact names (not sure if Bell & Ross did either). In that post I discussed the Bell & Ross Vintage Heritage BR 123 and 126 watches, as well as the beige colored Vintage Original 123 and 126 watches. By the way, “123” stands for a watch with a three-hand with sub seconds automatic containing a Swiss ETA 2895, while “126” is for models with a 2894 automatic chronograph movement. In that post I also showed some of the older Bell & Ross watches that this new collection is supposed to be a “revision” of.
The classic Bell & Ross Vintage and Geneva models are beautiful, and very well designed. They are only marred by their size – which is about 36-37mm in width. These new watches are 41mm wide – that with their thin bezels wear ‘large’ on the the wrist. In this post I am showing off images of the new Bell & Ross Vintage Original Black, and the yet to be formally announced dressier version of the watch that might be called the Vintage Geneva. I presume this as it is “vintage” in the sense it is a thematic re-issue of a former Bell & Ross watch, and is thematically similar to the Geneva. This means that Bell & Ross might clarify the name later, but “Vintage Geneva” 123 and 126 wouldn’t be a terrible name.UPDATE: The watches I presumed would be called “Geneva” pieces are actually going to be called “Bell & Ross Vintage Officer watches.”
So when all these watches are finally available, the consumer will have at least 3 new ‘Vintage’ watch lines to choose from if they want a round Bell & Ross watch. No need to go into a lot of detail for the Vintage Original Black (and Beige) as I discussed them. I just wanted you to see the Black version here, and again show you the watch that it was based on. 41mm wide is perfect on the wrist and the shape of the case is lovely. A slightly more delicate, tasteful version of the BR01 case and dial, but of course not square. The amazing thing about the dials is just how legible they are – and attractive. In fact, I questions Bell & Ross co-founder and President Carlos Rosillo on why Bell & Ross designs are so successful. His answer was painfully simple, but an important lesson to any watch maker. “People look at Bell & Ross watches and immediately know why they like them.” The point here is important. No education or explanation is required to appreciate these designs. Unlike many other watches they perhaps require years of horological interest or a presentation to understand what you are seeing – a Bell & Ross watch is going to be enjoyed by those who know nothing about watches. This I believe is the key to success behind all mainstream Bell & Ross timepieces.
Aside from the Bell & Ross Vintage Original models, there is the classier Officer model with different numerals (applied metal numerals), dial, and hands. According to Carlos, this is the classier version of the Vintage Original – which historically was the Geneva model. The differences are slight, but important. For example the case is polished versus satin finished. In fact, all of the steel is polished, including the hands and hour markers. Gone are the dauphine style hands of the original Geneva watch, but these new ones aren’t bad. I like the retention of the subsidiary seconds and date indicator that is beautifully symmetrical.
The watches all have AR coated domed sapphire crystals (vintage style to look like old acrylics), and are water resistant to 100 meters. Straps are black (or brown – depending on the dial color) calf leather straps steel folding deployment clasps. Each 123 model should be complimented with a 126 chronograph model. While we don’t see one here for the Vintage Officer watch, I presume one is coming. The entire collection should be available nearer to the end of the year. Prices for the models should be in the $2,900 – $4,200 range.
See Bell & Ross watches on Amazon here. See Bell & Ross 123 and 126 watches on eBay here.