Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze – Cute, Lovable, Performant

A gold-black reverse panda chrono with a bronze case that never age

Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze
Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze on the wrist
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Bell & Ross revisit its Vintage Collection with a new, inspirational chronograph, the BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze. As the name suggests, the case is made of bronze. But this time, the case of this gorgeous gold reverse panda dial will not age. The patina is held back by a recipe that the brand wants to keep secret. As a result, one can have a bronze watch that will look like gold. Check below the hands-on review of the Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze.

Drop tank, Lakester, the Bellytanker

The name of Bellytanker comes from the drop tank / external tank used in the second World War for the auxiliary fuel systems. Depending on the fuselage positioning the tanks could be a wing tank or a belly tank.  More about that in this Wikipedia article.

When the great madness was finished, Bill Burke comes with the idea of using the aerodynamic tank as a car body for a speed car. So, the first Lakester was born.

In 2017, Bell & Ross used the inspiration for the Bellytanker collection.

Bell & Ross Vintage Bellytanker Collection inspiration (Image courtesy of Bell & Ross)

Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze

Before we ride between the different aspects of today’s piece, have a look at the wrist roll from the Basleworld 2019.

A step further? A non-patina bronze case

One of the most important features of the 41 mm in diameter CuAI7Si2 bronze case is the ability to keep its unaltered look. While bronze is recognised for its distinct patina, some love it, some hate it. But besides the cool, personal patina look, the classic bronze case is associated more with a marine-themed watch. But the Auminium Bronze Alloys, used by Bell & Ross keeps its properties. Personally, I am not sure if it is the alloy itself or an extra coating that gives the anticorrosion, antiageing properties. Maybe some of you know and can share the secret.

Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze front view
Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze front view

The blown highlights (the term for the parts of the image where the light/exposure is too high and you lose the details) helps the bronze case shine like gold.

The side view reveals a nice polished case body
The side view reveals a nice polished case body

The case allure deserves the name given by the collection – Vintage. The case has polished sides. The brushing of the short lugs is extended to the inter-lugs space. This combination confers a warm vintage look.

Screw-down crown and push-buttons
The Bellytanker is fitted with screw-down crown and push-buttons

The crown is a Bell & Ross classic. If I may say so… It is adorned with the brand’s logo. Quite cool in these metal gold colour. The crown is protected by generous sized brushed bumpers. I think it is a good choice, since this area is more prone to scratches. Plus, it breaks an otherwise monotony.

Bellytanker domed sapphire
The profile view of the watch shows the domed crystal in full glory.

The bezel is manufactured in the same CuAI7Si2 aumium bronze alloy, raised and a bit chamfered. Instead of a full metal bezel with scale, the brand decided for a black anodised aluminium insert. This part bears now the tachymeter scale printed in a goldish shade. Great looking bezel!

The top ultra-curved sapphire is well selected for the Bellytanker. The anti-reflective coating is excellent. As witness  – the above images. Other than the improper photo light, the watch has good legibility and it is photogenic.

Bellytanker dial
The dial, in black and gold, continues the theme of the case and bezel.

Black and Gold

The reverse panda dial of the Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze is more than alluring. The combination of black and gold is destined for success. Bell & Ross managed to make from the Bellytanker an extremely good looking chronograph.

Bellytanker dial
The contrast is pleasant and reminds of the vintage chronographs from 40-50 years ago.

The shiny black background highlight the gold sub-dial and out register ring. The watch’s dial feature a 30-minutes counter with central seconds and small seconds. The sub-dials are subtle sunken and are decorated with a circular pattern. The indexes are printed in black. Again, excellent legibility due to a pleasant contrast.

dial details
The watch uses golden hands, assorted with golden applied indexes

The BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze is decorated with three-dimensional hour indexes. An exception is made for the 12 and 6 o’clock, where the indexes are replaced by Arabic numerals. These details fill the dial rather nice.

Detail on the top side of the dial
Details on the top side of the dial. To note: the applied indexes and the railway track, the bronze ink used for the brand’s name, the hands filled with SuperLuminova.

The outer scale is black printed on golden track. It makes a smooth passage from the tachymeter scale to the inner dial. The dial is used to the full. But I would not say it is too crowded. Somehow, all elements are welcome in the right position.

Some say…

Since I forgot to photograph the back of the watch, I will show you the PR image of it. What I can say, that under the sapphire crystal hides in plain sight the calibre BR-CAL.301. Based on the classical ETA 2894-2, the movement is a 4Hz, 42 hours power reserve automatic. Robust and reliable, the BR-CAL301 will impose no issues in time.

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Bronze case back (Image courtesy of Bell & Ross)
Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Bronze case back (Image courtesy of Bell & Ross)

The movement is machined finished with perlage, Cote de Geneve and personalised rotor weight.

Some personal notes

The Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze is a good looking timepiece. The brand managed to stand out again with this watch. The bronze case, with its interesting new properties, will be more desirable for the people afraid of patina. Plus the goldish shade makes it spectacular. It shines nicely in any light.

wristshot
Wristed with the Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze

The watch feels nice on the wrist. The screw-in crown and pushers are a nice touch. Along with the 100m water resistance, I can say that this watch is prepared for serious adventures. For the price, 4,900 €, you have serious options out there. But it will be one that shines as nice as this Bellytanker? ‘Cause this shines gold…even if it is not.

P.S.: I am amazed by the Bellytanker’s appearance. It looks impressive. And one can genuinely think it is solid gold. Plus that reverse panda dial is part of a league of its own.

Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2 94 Bellytanker Bronze Technical Specifications

Ref: BRV294-BC-BR/SCA Limited edition of 999 pieces

Movement:

  • calibre BR-CAL.301 (Base: ETA 2894-2).
  • Automatic mechanical.

Functions:

  • hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock.
  • Date.
  • Chronograph: 30-min timer at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds.

Case:

  • 41 mm in diameter.
  • CuAI7Si2 bronze.
  • CuAI7Si2 bronze bezel with scale and anodised aluminium insert and tachymeter.
  • Screw-down crown and push-buttons.
  • Sapphire case back.

Dial:

  • black.
  • Metal applique numerals and indices.
  • Metal skeleton Super-LumiNova®-filled hour and minute hands.

Crystal:

  • ultra-curved sapphire with anti-reflective coating.

Water-resistance:

  • 100 metres.

Strap:

  • black calfskin leather.

Buckle:

  • folding.
  • Satin-polished CuAl7Si2 bronze.

Price Ref: BRV294-BC-BR/SCA – 4,900 € 

For more information, please visit the Bell & Ross Website.

To get to know the brand better, you can also have a look at other Bell & Ross watches reviews: Not the strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde but the BELL & ROSS BR 03-92 MA-1 two personalities pilot watch, Inimitable and unrivalled – Bell & Ross BR01 Laughing Skull or Video: Bell&Ross BR-X1 Military Hands-on.

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