Based on the 2010 Bell & Ross Vintage Original BR 126 Black Officer chronograph watch, the new Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Sport self-winding chrono differs from its progenitor only with a new, um, sportier bezel and the material used to print the stick-shaped hour markers and both Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock. However, even with these minor enhancements, the new timekeeper looks a lot more contemporary without losing its classic chic.
If you compare the two models, you will immediately notice the new, deliciously thin, black bezel that decorates the BR 126 Sport.
Although the bezel comes with a nicely executed 0-60 scale, you won’t be able to use it as a rudimentary timer, since the part is, regretfully, fixed and the only use for it that I can imagine is to count seconds while using the chronograph. So, for all things practical, the bezel serves mostly decorative purpose.
The other difference between the two watches, as I have already noted, is the material that was used to decorate the matt black dial.
While the aforementioned BR 126 Black Officer had its mark-up elements crafted from stainless steel, this model sports less dramatic, but more useful approach with the numerals and hour markers printed in white Superluminova luminous substance. The hour and minute hands still keep their strips of the lume.
The watch is still equipped with the same ETA 2894-2 ebauche.
Based on the well-known ETA 2892 caliber (the same that powers their new Bell & Ross BR 01 Horizon automatic watch), the movement comes with an add-on chronograph module that makes the mechanism more affordable when compared to “natural-born” chronographs like ETA Valjoux 7750, but also less reliable and more difficult to service.
Another drawback of such an approach is that the setting crown and the pair of chronograph push-pieces at 2 and 4 o’clock are not placed on the same line, which makes the watch somewhat less attractive.
However, from where I sit, if you are looking for an affordable, sporty chronograph with a nice vintage aura around it, this model surely deserves you paying a visit to your local AD.
Perhaps, the only thing that may put you off (and the one that forced me to withdraw at least one star out of five for the purposes of this brief review,) is its recommended street price of $4800. Although not too high, it still seems to be a bit too much for a timepiece, which is powered by a fairly mundane mass-produced mechanism that costs less than an aftermarket hand-made leather strap. However, if you don’t really care about which movement makes this otherwise absolutely beautiful model tick, you should totally try one on your own wrist.
Photos: Bell & Ross
Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Sport Automatic diving watch specification
Price: $4800 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, ETA 2894-2, base ETA 2829, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 37
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 47 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, central chronograph seconds, chronograph, date
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 41.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Steel, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black calfskin leather strap with steel pin buckle or Stainless steel bracelet
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective, curved
Case back: Transparent