In March 2011, during the Baselworld 2011 trade show, the Franco-Swiss watchmaker has presented its new Bell & Ross BR 01-92 Ceramic automatic pilot’s watch.
I am not particularly fond of Bell & Ross’ BR 01 line of “flight instrument” watches. Although they definitely look great on press photos and seem to possess the highest build quality that money can buy, they just didn’t look good on my wrist when I first tried one.
I mean, they looked huge and even ridiculous on me.
With its square case measuring almost frightening 46 mm x 46 mm millimeters and being not particularly thin, the watch could look great if worn above a heavy-lined bomber jacket, but nobody wears watches in such a fashion these days.
This kind of jackets is also somewhat out of fashion, even among bomber plane pilots.
One day I saw a guy in a bank wearing one of these monsters with a business suit and he looked, well, rather awkward.
Nevertheless, I must confess that this particular iteration of the model strikes a chord with me. In fact, it plays a whole G Major pentatonic.
Simply put, it makes me want one.
If you throw away the black alligator leather strap put on a textile NATO band (and support the whole composition with a huge modified mud-plugger, like an old Nissan Patrol or a Toyota Land Cruiser 100, with dents and scratches everywhere, and thick toothy tires, and a heavy duty jack welded to its frame) it may actually look good with jeans and a camouflaged T-shirt somewhere in the wilderness.
Like the rest of the family, the timekeeper is powered by the same ETA 2892 automatic movement.
Of course, I would prefer to see it powered by some NOS “historic” hand-wound caliber, like FHF 96 or some Unitas movement: it would make the BR 01 line more notable and would also help them to shave a couple of millimeters off the total height of the watch.
However, the choice of the movement has its advantages, too: as you may be aware, the movement is very reliable, very robust and easy to service.
Since there is nothing sensational about this movement (and since it probably comes without any decoration,) the watch is supplied with a solid case back. Still, on the front they used a sapphire crystal with an antireflective treatment to it that increases the timekeeper’s legibility when the sun is especially bright.
The BR 01-92 Ceramic’s legibility is further enhanced with a galvanic matte black dial with the set of oversized applied Arabic numerals and wide sword-shaped hands that are generously covered with Superluminova.
Resume: It is a nice watch to have if you can afford it and will only wear it with casual dress.
Photos: Bell & Ross
Bell & Ross BR 01-92 Ceramic automatic wrist watch specification
Price: $5300 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber ETA 2892, 28,800 vph, 25.6 mm in diameter, 3.6 mm in height, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Standard finish, branded oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Black polished ceramic with Stainless steel core
Bezel material: Black polished ceramic
Crown material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Square
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 46.00 mm x 46.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: No data
Dial: Galvanic matte black
Hands: Sword-shaped, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather and heavy duty canvas strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Solid