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  1. #1
    Airman Basic
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    Sep 2009
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    Angry Loose minute hand on BR01-94

    So after almost 2 years of ownership, my Ti watch has a loose minute hand. Before sending it in for warranty service, the hand would swing approximately 3 minutes back and forth just by flicking my wrist. After being sent back twice, they managed to limit the swing to 2 minutes back and forth. Along with the watch, B&R service sent me this form letter stating that this is a "feature" of the ETA movement used. It's supposed to prevent shock to the movement. I was floored. I went to the display case and examined several other 01-94's and none of them exhibited this flaw. The AD was truly apologetic, but they couldn't do anything else given the form letter that B&R had sent. I can't believe that this is considered acceptable for a $6800 watch. When I called B&R service in Miami, they too were sympathetic and were aware that some folks had the same problem - hence the form letter from corporate. They asked what I did when wearing the watch to see if my usage was exacerbating the issue. I explained that I'm a desk jockey. They also asked if I rode a motorcycle since that's what seemed to cause the issue with another customer. All my vehicles have 4 wheels. I love the watch and it has great sentimental value; but I find myself not wearing it very much because I'm so annoyed by the flaw. I literally see it every time I drive. Just taking my hand off the wheel and turn my wrist to check the time, the hand swings. B&R service says that 2 minutes of movement is acceptable according to corporate. Are you kidding me? They recommended posting to this site for assistance.

    Has anyone else have this issue?

    Thanks,
    Edward

  2. #2
    Senior Master Sergeant
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    Edward- never heard this before.
    I am a little confused as to what exactly you mean, and if I am right in thinking, the hands shouldn't move.
    I think there is some confusion as to what is wrong with the watch.

    I too would welcome anyone else with this particular problem, and how they resolved it.
    Simon C
    ...follow me on 'twitter' & instagram @SimonCudd,

  3. #3
    Airman Basic
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    Sep 2009
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    Thanks for the response, Simon. When I took the watch to an independent watchmaker, based on visual inspection, he said that the problem appears to be a "loose geartrain." I don't know exactly what that means; but perhaps I can do a better job of describing how the problem manifests itself. As I sit typing this email on my laptop, if I had my watch on, the dial wouldn't be directly visible to me. So I'd lift my hand and turn my wrist towards me so I could see it. If the time were, say, 8:15, the minute hand would jump to indicate 8:17. I could flick my wrist back away from me and the time would once again read :815. I'm not banging the case against anything to make the hand swing. It's just the inertia of the hand itself that the movement can't control apparently. In fact, last night, around 6:15, as I was driving home, I put my arm on the window sill of my cars door. As I drove down the road, the minute hand started to slowly drop to 6:17. This was in a matter of seconds, not 2 minutes. That's how much play there is in the minute hand.

    As I said, I love the watch for both its design and because it has sentimental value. It's just really hard to wear because I'm so annoyed by the lack of resolution from B&R.

    Here's a reference to an old B&R forum post that is now gone. Sounds like my issue is not isolated given that it's referred to as a "known phenomenon." But I think I just happen to have a much worse case of it.

    BEGIN QUOTE:
    http://forum.bellross.com/viewtopic.php?p=3796#3796

    Originally Posted by custom60
    I was reading a post earlier about someone experiencing a loose hour hand on their BR01-94, and they also mentioned the loose minute hand was a known phenomenon. I've just noticed this on my BR01-94 which is only 2 months old.

    Basically, when I'm setting time, there is considerable free-play before the minute-hand moves when I turn the crown CW then CCW. I see this on my Rolex and Panerai too, so I'm sure it's something that is part and parcel to mechanical watches, but it just seems more on the B&R. Then, if I stare at the watch, a full 60 seconds can go by and the minute hand barely moves. If I tap the watch case, it can jump nearly 2 minutes. However, if I look away and look back after 15-20 minutes, it is pretty damn near spot on with my digital clocks.

    Thoughts?

    Even with this, it seems to keep very accurate time. Just getting opinions from the more experienced B&R owners whether or not this is something I should be concerned about. I feel right now that as long as it's keeping time, I'm not going to send it away.
    :END QUOTE

    Thanks again,
    Edward

  4. #4
    Airman Basic Mike Martin's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    Hey Edward,

    My wife bought me a BR03-92 aviation for Valentines day this year. I noticed play in the minute hand just as you have described and took it back to the AD. I liked the watch and as they did not have any more of the same model in stock I decided to have it sent to B&Rs service center in MIA for repair. I have not had it returned to me and have yet to wear it for the 1st time.
    The letter that you decribe explaining play in the movement is simply not acceptable. I hope I don't receive a similar one. B&R will have to fix this even if it means replacing the movement. I understand the ETA movements they use aren't that expensive anyway. Anything short of that will surely snowball as they have built their reputation on quality and precision.
    Good luck, I will update my situation as it unfolds.

    Mike

  5. #5
    Airman Basic
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    Sep 2009
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    I hope you have better luck than I did, Mike. B&R service had my watch from August, '11 until February '12. This was due to the fact that it had to be sent back after the first service because the minute hand problem was still there. The results were no different after the second repair - except for the inclusion of the letter I mentioned. I think I'll dig it up and post it for all to read.

    Like yours, my watch was a surprise gift from my wife during a vacation. Like you, I assumed that they could just replace the movement. But alas, this was not the case. So here I am.

    -Edward

  6. #6
    Airman Basic
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    Any more feedback from B&R experts?

  7. #7
    Senior Master Sergeant
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    Edward- I have made some enquiries, and am awaiting an answer for you.
    Simon C
    ...follow me on 'twitter' & instagram @SimonCudd,

  8. #8
    Airman Basic Mike Martin's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    Bump......

  9. #9
    Command Chief Master Sergeant fatboy1340's Avatar
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    bad news guys,
    i own my 01-92 since 2009...no problem !!
    sure B&R will fix it...
    In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.
    &&&

  10. #10
    Airman Basic Mike Martin's Avatar
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    Hey Fatboy,

    I sure hope so. My watch has been with B&R for 2 mths so far.

  11. #11
    Command Chief Master Sergeant fatboy1340's Avatar
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    i understand Mike...
    In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.
    &&&

  12. #12
    Bell&Ross Gudzyy's Avatar
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    Service is generally long (and its the same for any brand), would say between 6-8weeks. Know and understand its frustating especially for luxury watches (even more when they have sentimental value) but keep in mind that it stays a mechanical problem and like most of the mechanical problems it can be solved. Suprised by the letter you received but sure m.amabassador will have more to tell you.

    From my personal experience i have/had 9 watches from BR, different range -01, 02, space3, pilot- and different complications -92, 94chrono, 96big date, 97power reserve-, my 94blue is the oldest ( bought in may2009) and never a similar problem. Sorry to hear your problem guys but sure BR will solve it, i know they care for their customers opinion.
    Gudzyy

    BR01 92 | 93 | 94 | 97 | Airborne --- BR-X1
    Pilot Sapphire Chasse Embarquee et 10th Anniversary
    Exclusive trio R.A.I.D
    (gone : 01-92SS Black, 02-94SS, 01-92Radar, Officer 123 silver, 03-94 héritage,0196 white,BR02CF)

  13. #13
    Airman
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    Apr 2008
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    loose minute hand

    Hi everyone,

    It's been a long time.

    The loose minute hand is normal for all BR01-94. As some of you already know, I have owned many of them.
    Tap the case or flick your wrist and you will notice the minute hand jumping backward and forward.

    Unfortunately this phenomenon is normal and is most like not covered under warranty.
    I hope this helps answer your question.

  14. #14
    Airman Basic Mike Martin's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    Choetown,

    I hope what you are saying isn't true. I have three other watches including a Tissot with a similar ETA movement to my B&R and none of them have any play in their hands although they all cost considerably less. B&R markets their watches as precision instruments for professionals. Precision instruments don't have play in them, period. Can you imagine any aircraft instrument such as an altimeter or airspeed indicator having play in it? No. Or a bomb disposal expert (who in France suposedly wear B&R) defusing a bomb, checking the time on his watch and having the minute hand slip a couple of minutes on him? That would be ridiculous. The examples of why this is not acceptable are literaly endless.
    I will wait and hope for my watch to be returned to me with no play in it.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Martin; 05-08-2012 at 02:46.

  15. #15
    Airman Basic Mike Martin's Avatar
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    Gentlemen,

    I picked up my watch from the AD yesterday. It is perfect with no play in the minute hand. I am so happy. Pics to follow when I am not so busy. All the best,

    Mike

  16. #16
    Airman
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    Apr 2008
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    Mike

    I'm glad to hear your AD was able to resolve the problem with your BR01-94.
    I have owned more than 5 BR01-94s in the past and every single one had a loose minute hand. At the time in the early BR forums, this characteristic was spoken about to be a normal feature to help prevent excessive shock to the movement.

    I'm wondering if Bell & Ross found a fix for this?
    The loose minute hand along with a few other Quality issues with my other Bell & Ross watches pushed me away from this brand.
    I still have a sweet spot for Bell & Ross. I hope to see this company further advance their innovations and techniques.

  17. #17
    Command Chief Master Sergeant fatboy1340's Avatar
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    hi Mike,
    very good news....
    looking forward to viewing your pics

    HAGWE

    &&&&&&&&
    In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.
    &&&

  18. #18
    Airman Basic
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    So I guess I'm SOL? Maybe I should try posting this on a broader watch forum.

  19. #19
    Airman Basic
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    BTW, here's the letter.
    Attached Images

  20. #20
    Airman Basic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Martin View Post
    Gentlemen,

    I picked up my watch from the AD yesterday. It is perfect with no play in the minute hand. I am so happy. Pics to follow when I am not so busy. All the best,

    Mike
    Glad your problem's been fixed.

    Cant say I didnt expect it to come back perfect

    As usual B&R is trying and did a proper job, Happy to hear. (as I do dislike threads that just begin bashing due to OP's impatience)
    Excited about my B&Rs'
    01-92 Red
    01-94 Titanium Pro
    01-96 Orange
    01-97 Commando
    02-94 Arabic Carbon
    02 Pro Blue
    03-94 Heritage
    03-94 Phantom
    B&RB&RB&RB&RB&RB

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