At Baselworld 2019 Bell & Ross came to the party with a handful of cracking releases, in fact, they didn't put a foot wrong, however, it was the Bell & Ross Military Beige watches that really got the BH office excited. Slotting into the brand's Vintage Collection, the two Military Beige watches scream 'Desert Ops' and bring together styling cues from field, dive and aviation watches to offer two rather compelling contemporary military timepieces.
Bell & Ross Military Beige V2-92
The Military Beige V2-92 is a time and date three-hander in a svelte 41mm satin-polished case with a bi-directional bezel that comes, in its most affordable iteration, on a Marine Nationale-style elastic canvas strap. There's a utilitarian simplicity about the strap and clasp that complements the watch wonderfully, but in reality, it's a bit of a pain to engage - once on however it's a dream to wear.
Under the handsome beige dial with red accents, the automatic BR-CAL. 302 (utilising a Sellita SW300 base) offers 38 hours of power reserve and allows for a case height of 12mm, which slides effortlessly under a shirt or jacket cuff. The overall proportions of the V2-92 are lovely and not only does the anodized black aluminium bezel insert provide the perfect amount of contrast needed to let the beige dial pop, but it also blends seamlessly with the strap.
Price on strap: $4200
Price on bracelet: $4700
Bell & Ross Military Beige V2-94 Chronograph
The Military Beige V2-94 Chronograph utilises the same 41mm satin-polished case however additional case height is required to house the BR-CAL.301 movement with an approximate power reserve of 40 hours. The V2-94 gets two textured subdials, registering 30mins and 60 seconds, with more red accents to match the tip of the chronograph seconds hand and 100m water resistance indicator.
Aesthetically, there's a lot more to look at with the Chrono, so the 4.30 date window seems to fly under the radar a little more than the three-hand variant. Like the three-hander, it also boasts a domed crystal and sapphire case back, not that the movement has had much customisation to admire. Since seeing the V2-92 Aeronavale, I've considered the B&R bracelet a triumph and on this V2-94, it's even better. It's sturdy yet elegant and adds to the versatility of the over package, which looks excellent worn casually or with a suit.
Price on strap: $6300
Price on bracelet: $6800
As suspected, I adored both of these watches. The beige dial is nothing short of special in the flesh - it really must be seen to be appreciated. The 41mm case size is a real winner across the board but really shines in the V2-92 variant, which doesn't sit as high on the wrist as the V2-94 Chronograph. I found the clasp on the three-hander innovative but also a nuisance, and I only put it on twice. Unfortunately, I didn't get a good feel for the V2-94 bracelet as it wasn't sized correctly, however, it graces the wrist superbly and looks sensational.
What I think is worth noting, especially if you're considering either of these as a daily wearer, is that the satin polish finish isn't very durable - both watches scratch easily. Finally, if the prices started with a three and five, not a four and a six, I think these two watches could have attracted a few buyers away from the likes of the Tudor Black Bay or Omega Seamaster 300M and it would have excited me to say that. Nevertheless, both these Bell & Ross Military Beige watches are stunning and show immensely promising signs of what's to come for the brand.
If I was to pick one, I'd take the three-hander on the bracelet at $4700.
Visit the Bell & Ross Melbourne Boutique:
Shop 23 The Block Arcade
282 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Shop the Bell & Ross Military Beige Collection online at mrporter.com