Looking at our stats, I see that demand for recommendations regarding diving watches is a seasonal thing with most visitors coming in summer and then gradually declining till Christmas only to start growing again in early January. “Pilots” are different animals: I have an impression that people are always interested in “aviators” regardless of the time of season. So, for your reading pleasure, a choice of fifteen timekeepers from under $200 to more than $10,000 as priced by online retailers that I find worthy of being considered while shopping for your new (or maybe your very first!) pilot’s watch this year.
Bell & Ross
The 2015 Bell & Ross WW1-97 Heritage (ref. BRWW197-HER-ST/SCR) delivers the familiar mix of a well-calculated design, which is both elegant and masculine, and a bullet-proof mechanism, which is both reliable and accurate. All of them are offered at a relatively affordable price that makes this new creation one of the best choices in the “Value for Money” category.
The limited edition Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Carbon Orange is easily recognizable thanks to its signature boxy case and the diamond-shaped hands inspired by indicators on instruments gauges. It is perfectly legible with its high-contrast color scheme and, all in all is a nicely designed model. What more do you expect from a pilot’s watch made by one of the most outstanding brands among Swiss watchmakers? Perhaps, a movement of a higher pedigree would be a good start. Still, if you are not after a hand-made in-house caliber that powers a gadget that costs more than a Korean SUV, this one may be one of the most well-balanced choices for you.
Bell & Ross has finally re-introduced its BR03-94 model. Called BR03-94 Tornado Chronograph, it features the same functionality, but is now dedicated to the legendary Tornado multi-purpose jets that are still in use by Italy’s Air Force.
Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird”, the legendary spy plane that was a source of constant headache for the Soviet Air Defense system from 1964 to 1998 and was only retired because the Cold War was finally over (or so it seemed) and the defense budgets slashed, has once again became a source of inspiration for a watchmaking brand. Compared to the massive Breitling Blackbird Red Strike Chronograph that was released three years ago, the new Bell & Ross BR 126 Blackbird Flyback Chronograph Limited Edition offers basically the same functionality, which is packed in a more discreet, matte black body.
Although different alloys of silver are popular among jewelers all over the world, serious watchmakers aren’t especially fond of the metal. However, Bell & Ross has fairly recently updated its vintage-styled WW1 collection with the new Bell & Ross WW1 Argentium model. As the name implies, the watch is crafted using their proprietary “argentium” alloy of silver and some other, unspecified metals.
Based on the 2010 Vintage Original BR 126 Black Officer chronograph, the new Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Sport self-winding chronograph 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.
Believe it or not, but Bell & Ross has recently re-issued its gorgeous Jump Hours model that was first revealed at the Baselworld 2003 in Switzerland. Now available both in platinum and in more affordable (and also definitely more elegant) rose gold, the new Bell & Ross WW1 Jump Hours Power Reserve features a pretty rare layout with a single minute hand in the center of the dial and a jumping hour aperture at 12 o’clock. Playing in tune with the signature pocket watch-style rose gold case, the whole layout looks organic and, well, harmonic.
Renowned among watch enthusiasts for their huge, square-shaped pilot’s watches, the Swiss watchmaker Bell & Ross has recently extended the model range with the new Bell & Ross BR 01 Horizon. Presented at Baselworld 2012 and modeled after a real navigational instrument, the new model sports the most unusual dial design.
It came to our attention that the Swiss watchmakers will soon start selling a new version of their BR03 model. Presented in the same stainless steel body, the upcoming Bell & Ross BR03-90 Grande Date & Reserve de Marche automatic watch will be equipped with the well-known Soprod 9090 chronometer movement that we have seen in numerous timekeepers including, for example, the elegant and sporty Edox Sea Dubai Super Limited Edition wristwatch.