With summer quickly approaching, we’re seeing watch brands of all stripes release new pieces that seem tailor made for the warmer weather. This happens every year, of course, and as someone who lives in a climate where you still need to bundle up in the early morning hours well into late April (as I did just today – it’s great to be back in New England) I appreciate it when watch brands remind me that there’s a light at the end of the very cold tunnel that is winter and early spring above a certain latitude. Usually these watches are colorful, lightweight, sporty, and are generally lacking in conservatism when it comes to design. Nobody wants to be the standard bearer for stodginess on vacation, I guess. Two new watches from Bell & Ross (right on the heels of what is emerging as the consensus pick on the team for the best watch they’ve ever made) seem to fit that summery mold.
What we have here are two new variants of the BR V2-92, which in its most basic form is Bell & Ross’s most straightforward vintage inspired pilot’s watch. It’s a simple three handed pilot’s watch with a date discreetly tucked away at 4:30 in a 41mm case with 100 meters of water resistance and a timing bezel in anodized black aluminum. The BR V2-92 runs on the BR-CAL.302 movement, which is a rebadged Sellita SW300, and in its most basic form it’s a fairly sedate, but practical, tool watch. Bell & Ross is certainly known primarily for their more contemporary square cased instrument watches, but the vintage inspired cases are very nicely done and have a well established core design language of their own at this point.
The first of these new pilot’s watches is the latest entry in the Bell & Ross Full Lum line, which most recently saw a chronograph get the lumed dial treatment about one year ago. The Full Lum watches use brightly colored Super-Luminova on the entire dial surface that is meant to provide quite a light show when fully charged and in total darkness, but also be completely usable in daylight hours when the lume effect isn’t exactly needed. Like other watches in the Full Lum line, the BR V2-92 is using different shades of lume for the hour indicators and hand set (pale yellow) compared to the dial (bright green), for a glowing two-tone effect. It’s quite possible there isn’t anything more inherently casual you can do to a watch than cover the entire dial in lume, so this is a watch that should feel right at home whenever you might need to unplug on a summer vacation. As a bonus, it’s got a big-time tactical appeal thanks to all that lume, which is a fun modern contrast with the relatively traditional format of the BR V2-92. It’s an interesting fusion of distinct design elements from the past and present.
The other new pilot’s watch debuting this month from Bell & Ross is the BR V2-92 Orange. You probably don’t need three guesses to determine what this one’s all about. Like it says on the tin, this is a BR V2-92 with a bright orange dial, and according to the brand, the design was inspired by the skateboarding culture that came out of California in the 1970s. I don’t know that skateboarders were wearing pilot style watches in the 70s (or today?) but it’s certainly easy to get a beachy vibe from the bright orange dial, and with plenty of water resistance and the robust stainless steel case, this is exactly what you want in a summer sports watch, regardless of the actual sport.
Both of these new BR V2-92s are limited editions of 500 pieces, and expected to be delivered in May. The Full Lum variant has a retail price of $3,800 and is mounted to a rubber strap, and the BR V2-92 Orange is $3,500 on rubber and $3,800 on a stainless steel bracelet. Bell & Ross