Bell & Ross regularly works with elite units of the Armed Forces to design watches with specific functions, or to celebrate special milestones. Their watches are used as a tool by fighter pilots, armed police, special law enforcement, and even bomb disposal divers on their missions. Recently, Bell & Ross unveiled three new watches in their Vintage series lineup that are variations of existing models – Pilot GMT, Field watch, and Naval Aviation chronograph. Today we will focus on the BR V2-93 GMT pilot watch in blue dial, the stylish cousin of the 2018 GMT Vintage model.The size is suitable for a modern pilot watch with 41mm case, making for an easy all-day wear watch. The design is a perfect evolution of the vintage collection, the quarter numerals are just the right size, the hands all have a different shape for easy identification. The box sapphire crystal gives a nod to mid-20th century watches with the protection one expects in modern watches. The bi-directional rotating bezel, in two-tone anodized aluminum, grey for daytime and blue for night-time, can track a third time zone. For a more practical use like cooking, it can be used as a countdown timer.
The dial color is galvanic blue with a sunray pattern, and conjures up the image of 1970’s PanAm airlines’ deep blue logo. For optimal legibility in all conditions, the hands, indices, and the numbers have a generous coating of white C1 SuperLumiNova. Bell & Ross excels in subtle design like the second-hand counterweight in shape of an aircraft, or the round date window between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock with a matching blue color. The red arrow of the GMT hand, and the red GMT lettering make the dial pop with a good contrast. The GMT hand can be set independently of the hour hand. Screwed-down crown with integrated protection makes the watch safe for swimming and snorkeling with a 100-meter water resistant rating.
The GMT Blue is powered by BR-CAL.303, which is essentially ETA 2893-2 movement with date and second time zone complication. It is a slim movement; hence the overall height of the watch is only 12.5mm. The movement can be viewed through the case back, which is fitted with a sapphire crystal. BR V2-93 GMT Blue can be purchased with either a grey and blue elastic canvas strap with a practical closure system, created using parachute straps. If you are not familiar with Erika’s Original straps, I would highly recommend visiting her website. Erika makes comfortable micro-adjustable straps from woven elastic nylon in Spain. She has been collaborating with Bell & Ross since for past couple of years. The second option is a bracelet that has just the right amount of polished links to give some bling. The short links on the bracelet hugs the wrist for a very comfortable wearing experience.
If you are searching for an everyday GMT watch, BR V2-93 Blue is a solid option. While the 2018 black dial GMT is more of an all-rounder, the blue dial GMT is more casual. Although, I can picture a Parisian dressed in a sharp grey suit wearing pulling off this watch very comfortably. Retail price with elastic canvas strap is $3,200, and on the steel bracelet it is $3,500. Availability is end of February 2020.