Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military & Heritage Watches Hands-On

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military & Heritage Watches Hands-On

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military & Heritage Watches Hands-On Hands-On

You know what Bell & Ross needed? A good pilot watch. Boy, I'll say their collection was missing one of those. THANKFULLY the brass over there figured it out and came up with these nice timepieces for flying. Our hearts can rest easily now... phew! In all seriousness, these are additional pilot watches for the brand which prides itself on its pilot and aviation styles timepieces.

What is really interesting is how the WW1-92 watches are part of a collection that look nothing like these two models. Look at a Bell & Ross WW1-97 for example and you won't recognize the collection as something that would include the WW1-92. You can see a review article of mine on the other WW1 watches here to see what I mean. That all the WW1 (which stands for Wrist Watch 1) collection pieces don't look the same isn't per se a problem, but rather an amusing quirk if anything You just sort of need to understand that they are all part of the WW1 collection that Bell & Ross touts as being their homage to the first wrist watches.

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military & Heritage Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Rather than looking like wrist watch versions of pocket watches (like the other WW1) pieces, these are early aviator style and look like something off the first airplane dashboards. Though the cases of all the WW1 watches are the same. The WW1-92 watches come in 45mm wide steel cases with one being PVD coated. The WW1-92 Military is in polished steel while the WW1-92 Heritage is done in PVD gray (which gives the watch a more aged look). The models have either a white and black dial, or that now familiar aged tan and black with matching strap. Personally I love the combo of that orangey brown and black, on black case and matching orangey brown strap. Always a winning look for me. In this case the WW1-92 Heritage does not quite have a black case as it is dark gray. This modifies that look a bit but still looks very nice.

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military & Heritage Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military & Heritage Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Even at 45mm wide, Bell & Ross plays tricks to make the watch feel smaller on the wrist. This includes short lugs which are also curved down. With a flat caseback, the watch will be comfy on most wrists, but probably look a bit large on the smallest wrists out there (which does not include my wrist). The case has a domed sapphire crystal and is water resistant to 50 meters. Overall I appreciate the largeness of the case with the dial design. It is also nice how despite the case is large, the strap wideness is not too great. Another interesting point about the lugs is that they actually hide a spring bar for attaching the strap. This vastly increases the ease of replacing the strap in comparison to some other watches that use loop style lugs.

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military & Heritage Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military & Heritage Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The dial design is all aviator but with Bell & Ross's typical sense of polish and grace. There have been 1001 ways of doing classic aviation watch dials, and here Bell & Ross chose what I call the "double dial" design. Here there is a dial for the hours within the minute scale dial. This was originally intended to improve legibility by giving the hour hands its own track. I think it works for the most part, but dials such are this aren't too common. What Bell & Ross also likely wanted to do was avoid too much comparison to IWC as well as offer something unique among their existing collection of aviator styles watches. Whether you agree with it or not, many people judge new pilot style watches against what IWC offers. I think we can agree for the most part that the WW1-92 Military and Heritage models do not look like something available from IWC, and are also visually distinct from what Bell & Ross already offers.

Inside the watches are Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movements. To keep up with appearances the dials do not include the date. Bell & Ross is wise not to use an exhibition caseback (which they do rather rarely now that I think about it) as the movement is much smaller than the case. Proportionally everything seems to work on the WW1-92 models. My personal favorite is the WW1-92 Heritage as I love the colors and that sexy tan strap. Though the Military model with its polished steel case and more conservative dial might prove a more flexible daily wear.

What do you think?
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  • Greg

    Nice enough watch, am a proud owner of a BR03-94 Heritage, so I like the colour combo and can attest to the quality of the finishing etc. Not sure about the strap on this one though, looks a bit thin and feminine for want of a better description.

  • Greg

    I meant BR03-92 of course, accuracy fans!

  • MichaelG

    I really like the WW1 series. It’s a nice addition to the B&R catalogue and an interesting departure from the square cases we are all used to seeing. Dials are spot on and the case and lugs provide a striking personality. BUT, what the hell happened with that strap width? I’ve seen pics of people wearing these and the contrast in size makes the case look humongous. Last year I purchased a Giuliano Mazzuoli Manometro, a beautifully simple watch but one that also suffers from ‘ladystrap’ sindrome. Suffice to say I don’t wear it as often because of this. Just a few more mm’s B&R, just a few more mm’s.

    • They aren’t that bad, but I get your point. I also think that these might look cool on the right type of bund style cuff strap.

      • MichaelG

        Yup, one of those could work. Still, I know the size ratio is part of the pilot watch concept but this case screams for a wider strap. They could have used a lug system like the Panerai Radiomir thus allowing different sizes to attach to its lugs.

  • Martin

    The first thing that came into my head when i saw this was…why? It looks like an amateur horologist has collected all the bits from Parts websites and put it together at home, it doesn’t really fit together as a whole as well as the other WW1’s.

    I like the WW1 collection and B&R in general but there are far too many B Uhr designs out there already.

  • Brian

    This one drives me crazy. The dial looks nice, but the hand lengths are horrendous! Isn’t the whole point of the B-Uhr to have the hour hand touch the hour circle? Coupled with the undersized lugs for the size of the watch, the overall effort is a disaster, imo.

    • I hear you, but at the same time like it is make it more legible. The ones with the shorter hour hands to match the ring look strange.

      • Brian

        With a dial this large, they could have kept a unique look by making the central circle a little larger and used the same sized hands. Having the circle and hour hands mis-matched seems inharmonious as the purpose of a pilot’s watch is to be quick legibility.

  • Chris

    I think this is a much more cohesive design than the previous WW1 models. The crown could stand to be a bit larger, but that’s all I’d change. Given the choice between this and the IWC Big Pilot, I’d take this.

  • Ulysses

    Sweet. Crown is small as Chris said, but I think the hands are OK. Maybe not long enough but it’s perfectly easy to read. Looks like quite a delicate watch.

  • snow

    you would have to be out of your mind to waste your money on this.

    • Isn’t that a little bit subjective?

      • snow

        yes i suppose it is.

  • Hi Adam,

    This is a very nice-looking watch indeed. The designer didn’t want it to look like an IWC, but I guess he forgot NOT to make it look like a Laco.

    I thought the dial of the first Bell & Ross WW1 was something quite new, but this new watch is rather dissapointing, and in my opinion it doesn’t bring anything new to the table to differeniate itself from the dozen of WWII Laco B-Uhr homages.

  • pls2k

    The WW1-92 military model is what I’m considering in getting for xmas but I would look for it in the grey market (from a reputable seller that is).  The combination of the dial color with the steel case and the rugged strap is very well thought.  The only issue I have is the movement (ETA 2892), albeit of being a reliable movement, it’s not a in-house movement (and that’s the reason I would but it from the grey market…).

  • Chasteen

    man.. This is a pretty watch.  I would love this baby.

  • JohnW0707

    @admin What movements does Bell & Ross use for Bell & Ross Aviation and Bell & Ross Marine? I’m specifically interested in the Marine Collection (the divers watches). Do they use Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movements as well?

  • DSB13

    Decided to treat myself to one of these (Military) as my 40th present and it’s attracted an awful lot of interest.  I initially looked at the PW1, but I already have a pocket watch and went for the WW1 instead. 
    My only complaint is that a year’s worth of wear has caused one of the loops on the strap to disintegrate and the whole strap to discolour – I’ll need a new strap within another 12-14 months of purchase at this rate.  Do I simply have sweaty wrists?

  • Cesar Noel

    Is the militar been polished? This rrens is sanded on the bell ross catalg