Getting back to the watches, the Bell & Ross Vintage V1-92 Bellytanker is a time-only watch with a date function, while the Bell & Ross Vintage V2-94 Bellytanker is a chronograph. Both watches have a gilt metallic copper dial – a rather unusual but very appealing color and finish. It reminds me of the color of faux-patina lume that we see on a lot of vintage re-issues but much richer and deeper. Both watches have a steel case with a simple, familiar case design. The case has a brushed finish which gives it a utilitarian appearance, like a field watch or something you would wear to the racetrack – very appropriate for the context. The watches are rated to 100m of water resistance, and the V2-94 chronograph is even equipped with screw down pushers, a screw-down crown, and crown guards to maximize durability.
The differences between the cases of the two watches are case size, caseback, and the tachymeter bezel on the chronograph. The Bell & Ross Vintage V1-92 Bellytanker time-only has a steel screw-down caseback and is in a classical 38.5mm case size, which I think makes it suitable for multiple wrist sizes and all genders. The Bell & Ross Vintage V2-94 Bellytanker, on the other hand, has a display caseback and is in a 41mm case size due to a larger movement, busier dial, and the tachymeter bezel. Again, this is a nice size for sporty, vintage-looking chronograph.
The dial of the Bell & Ross Vintage V1-92 Bellytanker is simple and quite legible, with applied metal hour markers including Arabic markers at 12, 3, 6, and 9. The hands are polished steel and filled with Super-LumiNova for legibility in low light. A favorite feature of mine present in both watches is the counter-weight of the seconds hand, which is a simple triangle and seems to be designed to look like a delta-wing plane. Both the watches have a date window at 4:30 which, to be honest, I’m not a fan of and think could’ve been excluded. However, this is a personal preference and as far as date windows go, this is well done and the date wheel is in the same gilt copper color as the dial – no cutting corners with a black date wheel here. A finishing touch is a black minute chapter ring which adds some pop and contrast to the dial of the Bell & Ross Vintage V1-92 Bellytanker.
The Bell & Ross Vintage V2-94 Bellytanker chronograph shares a lot of the same features like the hands, the minute chapter ring, and date window. The main additions here are the two recessed, black sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock. The former shows running seconds and the latter is a 30-minute chronograph counter. Like the chapter ring, the sub-dials add some very nice visual contrast and also help legibility. The sub-dials replace the 3 and 9 hour markers, but the 12 and 6 Arabic markers remain and help fill in and balance out the dial visually.
The Vintage V1-92 Bellytanker is powered by the Bell & Ross caliber BR-CAL.302, which is essentially a Sellita SW300-1 (or ETA 2892-2). With a 42-hour power reserve and beating at 4Hz, this is competent, reliable modern movement found in more watches than I can list out here. The steel caseback has an engraving of the Bellytanker concept car along with the usual complement of text and information.
The Bell & Ross Vintage V2-94 Bellytanker chronograph is powered by the caliber BR-CAL.301, which is an ETA 2894-2. I discussed this movement in the Tissot Heritage 1948 Hands-On article here, but it is a modular movement based on the ETA 2892-2. Bell & Ross has slightly modified it to remove the third sub-dial but mechanically it offers the same 42-hour power reserve and remains just as reliable. The sapphire crystal of the display caseback is printed with a silhouette of the Bellytanker concept car. Unfortunately, Bell & Ross has not shared caseback images of the watches, but you probably get the idea.
The Bell & Ross Vintage V1-92 & V2-94 Bellytanker watches will be produced in a limited run of 500 watches each. They’re sized and designed conservatively enough to be daily wearers too. The Bell & Ross Vintage V1-92 Bellytanker ships on an aged brown leather strap for $2,300 and the Bell & Ross Vintage V2-94 Bellytanker is available for $4,400 on a brown calfskin strap or for $4,700 with a stainless steel bracelet. My personal preference would be the V2-94 on the bracelet. bellross.com