Bell & Ross BR Vintage 126 Heritage Preview ¶
As mentioned on the Matt Baily Facebook fan page, we were "floored" at Baselworld 2010 by the Bell & Ross' novelties. We were not able to get footage or pictures of these spectacular models, but fortunately Bell & Ross are quite active online and several videos regarding their new models have been posted on their website. The major news is the introduction of an entire new collection of beautiful watches dubbed the BR Vintage collection. This year's ambassadors of this collection are the BR V123 and V126 Heritage.
The idea behind the new Vintage watches is to capture the stylistic essence of classic watches while taking advantage of the today's more advanced manufacturing techniques. The style of the BR-01 92 Heritage fits well with this concept as it was meant to duplicate the unique effects that time has on watches. The result is a very handsome watch that lives up to its name as well as to the quality expectations of the modern watch enthusiast.
The black, carbon-coated case of the new Bell & Ross BR Vintage watches is 41.5mm wide. The flat bezel draws a subtle parallel between these and the BR-Instruments, but overall the BR Vintages are in a much more mainstream class of timepieces ideal for more regular or conservative use. While achieving this, Bell & Ross did not abandon any of its unique stylistic traits that distinguish the BR V123s (time and date) and V126s (chronographs) from the sea of vintage-inspired watches that exist.
Screenshots from the video of the BR V126 Heritage on the Bell & Ross website
Anyone who has owned a watch made prior to the early Eighties (or even one of many inexpensive or reissue watches today) is aware that watch crystals were not always made of scratch-resistant, synthetic sapphire, but rather of acrylic plastic. Acrylic is very easy to work with and inexpensive, but also very susceptible to scratching or cracking. For this reason the acrylic crystals designed for professional, water-proof, or exploration watches of the past were often domed or raised to increase their resistance to impact. This strong, but also esthetically pleasing and nostalgic shape is key to defining the BR Vintage's unique character. Having studied gemology I can also appreciate the difficulty of manufacturing this domed sapphire crystal. Corundum (the mineral that sapphire and ruby are made of) is so hard that almost all other materials on earth are not able to scratch it let alone cut or facet it. The difficulty of manufacturing is compounded when trying to sculpt it into acute, rounded shapes. It is no wonder that corundum is often used as an abrasive and that the very specialized skills of a lapidary are required to shape it into beautiful forms and gems.
The BR Vintage collections are a welcome addition to the current line of Bell & Ross watches. They incorporate the unique, stylistic character of the brand with everything that works about the current Vintage collection and authentically capture the style of actual vintage timepieces. The BR Vintage V126 Heritage, which is featured in a video in the Baselworld section on www.bellross.com, is one of the several styles that will be available and is already attracting the attention of many Bell & Ross fans.