For a brand that was launched in 1992, the idea of a vintage model is a little strange. The youth of the marque prevents a trip to the archive to re-imagine past glories. For Bell and Ross, vintage has to be in the inspiration rather than the actuality, drawing by necessity on the work of others.
The Vintage 123 collection does this rather well. The simplicity of the case design echoes the top quality fake Bell & Ross watches of WWII but brought up to date with a 38mm case. The clarity of the dial is what you would expect from a military inspired piece but the modern font and almost clinical sparseness stops this being a pastiche and keeps it true to the B&R design principles of legibility. Even the strap choice adds to the vintage feel, using an aged, grey/brown alligator.
A closer look at this 18ct model reveals details which go far beyond the utilitarian aviator replica watches it resembles. No wartime pilot was issued with 18ct grey gold; this understated satin-finished metal has to be the ultimate in ‘stealth-wealth’. The dial has a delicate guilloche finish that gives both an air of luxury and a hint of patina.
In these days of fashion replica watches where surface appearance is everything it is refreshing to find a best Bell&Ross vintage 123 copy watch that is so much more that it appears at first glance.
Fellows auction of Replica Watches takes place on Thursday 5th September 2013.
Click here to find out more, and here to view the full catalogue.