The GMT is a watch tradition that never goes out of fashion. Yes, most of us don’t travel that much now that Covid19 has provided climate zealots with the ammunition to shutdown overseas jaunts for the 80%, but still, a GMT looks good. Plus it helps you stay in sync with an overseas office if you work in say global IT, insurance, media production etc.
Now Bell+Ross have that aircraft heritage and that cockpit dial gauge style thing going on. All good. The screwdown bezel gives it a too, watch focus, a utilitarian feel. Ditto the integrated bracelet links, which add a sort of `hewn from metal’ vibe.
Then there’s the stark white-on-black numbers and markers. Functional for sure, but also punchy, eye-catching and sort of timeless. This won’t go out of fashion like some Swiss watches do – anyone still collecting Ebel chronographs with their huge pushers and rounded off cases? Nope, thought not.
At 41mm across, it’s the right size, it also looks pure tool-watch slick, stripped down and ready to travel. No fancy additions, not even a day to sit alongside the date window.
This is a pricey watch at £4100 on a textured strap, £4500 on a bracelet. For all its super-clean, brushed steel brilliance the Bell+Ross BR-5 range is Sellita powered, albeit decorated and upgarded by the B&R concern.
That is a heck of a price to pay for a Sellita powered watch, so our verdict is spend the £4500 on a different GMT, like a pre-owned Explorer maybe, or even a new Tudor Black Bay. You will hold the watch value better in the long run because B&R simply does not have the fanbase in the UK that big brands like Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Breitling et al has, or ever will have.
Like so many watches that dare to be genuinely different, B&R pay the price in the fickle collector market.
There’s lume, then there’s Superlume and finally, all over the dial lume. Some people really love it, and a used Timex Indiglo is one of the easiest watches to sell on eBay or Amazon at the right price. Why? It just makes telling the time at night, when you waken from some bizarre dream that much easier, and a whole lotta folk like that feature.
So the Bell+Ross Vinatge chronograph with a metal dial costed in C5 Superlume may well win some fans. It’s a 41mm case size watch, with sapphire glass, box-crystal on the front and a sapphire crystal on the see-thru caseback too. The dial has a bit of blue contrast lume on a sub-dial too. You can choose a yellow or green lume plus there’s a steel bracelt or tropic rubber strap option.
As you would expect from a Bell+Ross watch this has big numbers on the dial and a general aviation sort of feel. Inside you find an in-house BR calibre 301 movement, which is based on the ETA 2894 automatic movement. So reliability is guaranteed, as is ease of servicing by an Indie watchmaker. Those are all plus points but the downside is the price; £4300.
OK this is a limited edition of 250 pieces, but there are better value chronograph options out there with Swiss movements inside them, although they don’t have the all-over dial lume. For example you could buy an Omega Speedmaster 38 for £4300 and know that its resale value will always be at least £1000 better than any Bell+Ross model. Or you could buy a TAG Heuer F1 with its grey dial, bright yellow markers and hands option for £1700. Yes, it’s a quartz, but superbright dial day or night.
That also leaves you enough change to buy a Tudor Black Bay 58 from your £4300 budget. Nice.
The latest from Bell + Ross, who have a new GMT model in their range and yeah, for Family Guy fans, this one is a three-way;
True to its iconic square flagship model, the new BR 03-93 GMT replaces the existing version. Redesigned, more modern, more functional, more readable. This “tool watch” goes back to basics in terms of design and shape which were influenced by two keywords: functionality and legibility. Adding a new functionality from its predecessor, this new GMT provides the time in three different locations around the world thanks to the new bidirectional bezel.
This new updated version differs in many ways from its predecessor. The new BR 03-93 GMT timepiece provides the time in three different locations around the world. How does it work?
The GMT hand now stands out with its large red triangle which is perfectly visible both day and night. Spinning around the dial in 24 hours, this fourth hand displays a second time zone (or the local time on a 24-hour scale). For the first time, the iconic square shape is completed with a bi-directional bezel. The BR 03
case was specifically modified to welcome this new functional bezel. It enables the reading of the second time zone, but it can also show a third time zone. Rotating it clockwise subtracts hours and anti-clockwise adds hours.
The bezel – which borrows the same color combination as the dial – is equipped with a 24-hour scale graduation. Bell & Ross has opted for Black & Red-hot hues. Red is known for its frank, clear and dynamic properties. While the red section indicates daytime, the black backgrounds nighttime. Thus, the two-tone bezel provides a visual contrast / effect for discerning time reading and is made of anodized aluminum.
Known for their pilot themed watches Bell & Ross have a natty dive model, with a striking red dial and bronze case. Here’s the press info;
Bell & Ross has developed DIVER BRONZE timepieces that are perfectly in-keeping with the marine depth. After releasing a black version in 2018, a green version in 2019, and a blue one last year, the brand is now completing its shade card with red.
BR 03-92 DIVER RED BRONZE
Its case and bezel are made of satin-polished CuSn8 Bronze, an alloy combining 92% Copper and 8% Tin, that is deeply linked to diving history as it was used in the past for deep-sea helmets and naval construction. Adorning hints of pink, the bronze will age well. The patina will emphasize the authentic and unique character of this DIVER watch, much-loved by collectors. Anodised red for the bezel, red lacquer for the dial and a reddish-brown strap. The 3 shades work in perfect harmony and feature a high-quality finish. As on previous versions, all the metal parts of the case are made from bronze except the case-back, which is made from stainless steel, and the anodised
aluminium bezel ring.
Available in a limited edition of 500, the BR 03-92 DIVER RED BRONZE sports the watch’s emblem, a deep-sea diver’s helmet that is engraved on the case-back. Precious yet resistant, the BR 03-92 DIVER RED BRONZE is full of character and designed to accompany the gentleman adventurer both on land and at sea. The brand’s constant strive for excellence, challenge and innovation is confirmed in this elegant BR 03-92 DIVER RED BRONZE that meets all the standards for diving watches set by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, ISO 6425. Water resistant to 300 metres, it is ready to conquer the depths of the ocean. The matte brown leather strap and beige stitching confirms
the watch’s authentic vintage spirit but can be replaced with a rubber strap for use while diving.
Time for a Spring Watch Sale with huge reductions? Definitely, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if H Samuel, Beaverbrooks, Chisholm Hunter or Goldsmiths suffered a collapse into administration later this year given the carnage that is unfolding on UK High Streets. Swiss manufactuers are ramping up their online sales direct to the consumer so many will ask the question later this summer, `do we actually need all these High St dealerships?’
We are also entering a three year long recession, because millions of people in the UK are going to lose their jobs – forever. Taxes will also rise this November to pay for the `free’ money that is being helicoptered into the UK economy to keep people from losing their houses or flats, leased cars etc. That means less disposable income for jewellery and watches, higher food, fuel and other utility costs, new green taxes, more Council Tax rises etc. You get the picture.
So if you’re in the mood to buy a prestige Swiss watch right now, drive a hard bargain and remember that the long established jeweller you are buying from might not be around to honour the warranty next year. Be lucky.
Here’s our top picks online;
Annoyed I missed the Samuel Sale as they were giving away Seiko 5 automatics for £59.99. Everything else that is auto/mech is sold out, so unless you want a mainstream fashion quartz forget it.
Sister company to Samuels, EJ has the Alpina Startimer Pilot in carbon black, with a grey dial and 44mm case, at £700, which isn’t too bad. Alpina claim they use an in-house movement but it is based on the Sellita SW200 and that is a fairly steep price for a movement that’s generic you might say. Again, the nice Seikos have been snapped up and even the Timex mech models have sold out, but given they have a Miyota movement in there and cost just £85, you can’t blame the bargain hunters.
A TAG Heuer Carrera Cal 02 at £4600 is a hefty saving on the RRP, and it’s nice to see one with the blue accents on the sub-dial. It’s a sporty TAG, that might not ever be truly collectible, but will take a lifetime of use – with regular servicing – without too much trouble. There is a downside however, which is this watch has a ceramic case – I hate wearing watches made from pottery, they crack too easily, and I have no idea why TAG chose to make a sporty watch with a rubber strap out of ceramic materials. Too fragile, end of story.
If you have nearly 5K to spend I would say buy a pre-owned Heuer chronograph instead. Better chance of holding its value over the next 5 years by a long chalk, although you have all the problems of authenticity and no guarantee to contend with with vintage 60s/70s watches.
No Sale on, many watches on the website listed as being unavailable.
Over a grand off a Zenith Cronometro Flyback is a bit of a tasty treat if you like retro style aviator watches, with that famous El Primero movement inside the case. Priced at £5,184 the Zenith has the see-thru caseback, lovely nubuck green strap and you have to guess that it will hold a fair percentage of its value long term, which some automatic chronograph models from other brands like Montblanc, Rado or Baume & Mercier fail to do – at least in the UK. I have worked in watches and jewellery for six years and nobody has EVER asked me, ‘can you find me a nice Baume & Mercier, Montblanc or Rado?’
Big watch Sale on right now, but 18-20% off a Nomos Glashutte model doesn’t do it for me. These minimalist German watches are definitely an acquired taste and frankly, they don’t look like two grand on the wrist, which I feel is their big marketing weakness.
A Tissot chronograph with three sub-sec dials and a chunky brown leather strap for £250 is very good value indeed. my feeling is that this is a quartz model, but the info on the website is incorrect – wouldn’t be the first time.
OK, a Bell & Ross watch isn’t everyone’s cup of Bovril, but I like the vintage Garde-Cotes colour combo of grey dial with orange markings around the edge. It looks modern and vintage at the same time. A sapphire crystal, good water resistance, 41mm case size all make this a great wear-it-anywhere watch. On the downside, it uses a modded Sellita SW300 movement, which is nice, but you can get something more interesting – an more of an investment – for £2600 if you have the budget. Tudor Black Bay springs to mind.