While overshadowed by the brand’s instantly-identifiable, square-cased BR-01 and BR-03 models, Bell & Ross’s Vintage line has always been the go-to family of watches for those who prefer unadulterated classicism. For collectors of aviation chronographs in particular, the Vintage series has proven a tonic if one is worried about wearing a 60-year-old Lemania or Gallet as a daily timepiece.
Not that the Bell & Ross vintage models are beaters. While referencing the appearance of hugely-coveted – but unfortunately rare – period chronographs, the Vintage models have developed their own aesthetic. The company was quick to recognise the charm of luminous material in a hue that recalls the colour of the tritium or other glowing paints that have aged to a crème brûlée tan.
Bell & Ross also championed sand-coloured dials as an alternative to black, while the strap selection presaged the current craze for cloth, over-under or military-issue types. Along with the revival in interest in the big 3/6/9 dials created by MHR in the 1980s, the Bell & Ross Vintage models are dream “mash-ups” of the best period details – but in brand-new watches rather than fragile museum pieces.