My latest Bell&Ross is in the form of the fantastic BR01-92 limited Edition carbon fiber. This is a watch I have admired ever since it was launched in December 2009, and luckily for some there’s still a few models for sale.
Here’s a review of the watch and I’ve included some facts as well about the model to support my opinions.
As already mentioned the Bell&Ross BR01-92 along with it’s chronograph ’94 sibling were announced at Baselworld in 2009. As a constant quest for innovation, Bell&Ross produced these watches with a carbon fibre effect: From the case and dial through to the strap - where possible the appearance of the watch was made unique by using layers of carbon fiber to create a first in the watch industry: A 100% carbon fiber effect timepiece.
Why carbon fibre?
Always keen to innovate with new materials (as seen recently with ceramic) Bell&Ross takes it’s inspiration from aeronautical construction with the carbon fiber case: The use of carbon fiber means the case design is strong, yet very light and from what I found, much more comfortable to wear than a stainless steel watch.
A first look at the watch and it’s specifications
Whilst the BR01-92 carbon fiber takes it’s design influence from the classic BR series of square watches, the overall effect of the carbon fiber on the case makes the watch appear to be very unique. In addition to this, the hands use the more ‘hi-tech’ font: which had previously been only visible on the titanium models. When first released, this was the first ’92 to show the new hi-tech font and since then has been used on the 02-92 carbon fibre and phantom watches from last year to great effect.
Beating at the heart of the watch is the ETA 2892 swiss movement - a proven workhorse for accuracy and quality. Probably my only small gripe is a lack of date, however from a design point of view I appreciate the cleaner look of the dial. Like all other ‘BR01s’ the entire size of the watch is 46mm in size - So yes, on the one hand it’s a bit big - however being a ’92 it’s slim and the black case makes the overall watch appear smaller.
Different case design
Probably the most unique element to this watch is the case design: This employs a raised octagon shape containg the crystal - which sits flush on the case (rather than a raised circular bezel as seen on the standard ‘01s) - I must say I so prefer this style of design on an 01-92 and would love to see it replicated as into the standard stainless steel 92 models. The carbon fiber ‘layering’ effect can be seen on the side of the watch and given the nature of the material the case shows some of the personality of the material giving it a very unique appearance.
As mentioned previously, the entire case is constructed from carbon fibre - most interestingly you cannot see the ‘join’ in the case at the back it has been finished so finely that it does feel like one high lump! Also when you look at the watch in good light, the carbon fiber effect ‘shimmers’.
As on all other 01 models, the lugs which connect the strap are stainless steel and in this case carbon coated. These can be detached from the back by a hex screw.
The dial contains a glossy carbon fibre effect, and all the markers are ‘applied’ rather than printed. I love this effect on all watches as it screams ‘luxury’ and this is also supported by the huge silver hands which reflect the light nicely (Something that was seen on the BR01-92 ceramic)
Glowing in the dark
Probably one of the most impressive features of this watch is the lume. Because of the applied indexes and thick hands - the photoluminescent coating has literally been piled into these elements meaning the glow is perhaps the strongest I’ve ever seen on a Bell&Ross (It’s green as well) Charge this up at night and it keeps bright and legible for hours...Wow!
Now personally, I love this strap but some people do not like it. It’s quite ‘glossy’ in appearance - and continues the carbon fibre theme. The underside of the strap is the nice felt effect (in black) which is really comfortable to wear and the tang holes are supported by a strip of leather (I would assume the strap could be prone to tearing without that support). Whilst the watch comes with a rubber and canvas straps, I feel this strap ‘completes’ the watch and the rubber strap whilst providing a nice ‘toolish’ appearance doesn’t really do the watch justice. I suspect a black gator strap or plain black leather would be better secondary options on this.
Carbon case keeps it’s cool
Now whilst the overall appearance of the watch is all great, the real wow factor comes with you pick the watch up and wear it. Being made from carbon fibre - the BR01 is incredible light but to touch the material feels different to stainless steel. When I wore the watch the ‘feel’ of the case against the skin is different - for a start it doesn’t start to warm up like stainless steel - it keeps cool and you don’t get that horrid ‘sweaty’ feel when you take the watch off.
To finish the review off, the watch is water resistant - to 100m I’ve washed it but not gone swimming yet but will do when I get the chance.
In many ways this watch is a perfect partner to a titanium 01-94 Pro which carries the same type of case design but also very complimentary to the 02-92 Carbon Fibre and for it’s use of materials the 01-92 ceramic.
Right that’s nearly 1000 words... Thanks for getting this far!