Few watch manufacturers can claim as much direct aviation-instrument influence across their entire portfolio as Bell & Ross, and few horological complications are more useful to a pilot than an indication of multiple time zones — so what better brand to produce a timepiece capable of displaying not just two but three time zones simultaneously than the one with the big ampersand logo and dashboard DNA? Here is the lowdown on the new BR v2-93 GMT 24H.
At 41 mm in diameter in a 100-meter-water-resistant steel case, the watch fits seamlessly into Bell & Ross’s Vintage collection, with rounded lugs that curve to hug the wrist and a screw-down crown. The sapphire crystal over the dial is domed and treated with nonreflective coating — advantageous in any low-light situation, including a dark airplane cockpit. The satin-polished steel case body is fronted by a bidirectional, bicolor 24-hour GMT bezel, whose inset disk is made of aluminum. The black sectors of the disk represent nighttime hours, the gray area daytime hours.
The stark black dial, with large white numerals and indices coated in Super-LumiNova, takes its design cues from the colors used for an aircraft’s onboard flight instruments, which are predominantly black to avoid reflections. The central GMT hand stands out with its orange arrow tip, orange being the third color, along with black and white, most associated with Bell & Ross dials.
As stated above, the BR V2-93 GMT 24H goes the extra mile beyond most GMT watches, which are designed to reveal “only” two time zones (though a few exceptions are out there; Carl F. Bucherer’s Patravi TravelTec II comes to mind). Here’s how Bell & Ross’s system works: The central hour and minute hands display the time in the wearer’s current time zone. The orange-tipped GMT hand, which rotates around the dial along with the central hour hand, can be set to indicate a second time zone on the bezel’s 24-hour scale. And for the time in a third zone, the wearer can simply rotate the bidirectional bezel and line the numerals up with the tip of the hour hand — clockwise subtracts hours while counterclockwise adds them. Incidentally, the bicolor design used on this 24-hour bezel is the first ever used by Bell & Ross.
Inside the watch, behind a sapphire caseback inscribed with a global aviation motif, beats the automatic BR-CAL.303, a modified ETA 2983-2, which features a quick correction for the date (in a small round window at 4:30 on the dial), a 42-hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 vph.The watch is available on either a steel link bracelet with a folding clasp or a black rubber strap with a satin-polished steel pin buckle. Prices range from $3,200 to $3,500.