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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- calibre BR-CAL.301 (Base: ETA 2894-2).
- Automatic mechanical.
- hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock.
- Chronograph: 30-min timer at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds.
- 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.
- Metal applique numerals and indices.
- Metal skeleton Super-LumiNova®-filled hour and minute hands.
- ultra-curved sapphire with anti-reflective coating.
- 100 metres.
- black calfskin leather.
- 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.