The look of the Bell & Ross BR-01 92 is based on the simple, clean design used on airplane instrumentation panels. The hands and numeral markers on these watches are recognizable as those on analog altimeters or airspeed indicators. The infamous square case of the BRs, with its four visible fastening screws, reflects the way the airplane instruments are affixed to the panel via four screws in order to make their removal and installation quick and easy. With the BR-01 92 Heritage, Bell & Ross captures the allure of vintage watches and applies it to the square BR “Instrument” concept.
The vintage feel of the BR-01 92 Heritage is mostly due to the beige hour markers and hands. The color that the company uses mimics the tint obtained naturally on white paint over a period of several decades. The same way an old paper document or the trim on a vintage Gibson Les Paul does, white tritium paint used in the 1940s to 1990s on watch dials tends to fade over time. The “vintaged” color offers a unique soft hue that is often desired as proof of authenticity. The advantage that Bell & Ross’ replicated paint has over the real thing is its photo-luminescence. It is completely lost in Tritium dials that are over twenty-five years old. Bell & Ross’ paint is extremely bright when the lights are turned off and will remain this way indefinitely. The dial of the Heritage has luminous paint on the seconds hand as well for precision night reading.
The strap adds much allure to the Heritage. It is really well suited to the overall style, although it will fit on any of the other BR “Instruments.” The lightly tanned leather is decorated with some of the markings found on the back of the watch’s case. The decorations are burnt into the leather. The strap is thicker then the standard BR leather bands, which also reflects the styles of military pilot watches of the past. Regardless of its thickness the strap remains light and supple, and breathes well.
The case of the Heritage is no different then that of the other BR-01 92s. It is a 46mm square made with stainless steel and coated with Bell & Ross’ black carbon finish. Other features of the dial include a screw-locking crown, an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and – of course – removable lugs that allow the watch to be mounted on a stand for use as a desk clock. A water resistance rating of 100 meters and a secondary waterproof nylon strap make the watch beach or ski-ready.
With the BR-01 92 Heritage, Bell & Ross makes a watch that captures the feel and the spirit of vintage pilot watches while creating a fashionable accessory for today. Adhering to their design principles, Bell & Ross released a watch that is beautiful in its simplicity and in line with the stringent requirements of professional pilots.
Marco is an expert of Bell & Ross watches at Matt Baily in Montreal