There’s no denying the trendiness of the military aesthetic among watchmakers. From NATO straps to luminescent numerals for nighttime viewing, the ubiquity of watch features developed for, or popularized by, military use has become so popular as to seem generic.
All of which explains why a trio of military-style wristwatches introduced by the French watchmaker Bell & Ross in early February seems guaranteed to find an audience.
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The BRV2-93 GMT Blue, BRV2-92 Military Green and BRV2-94 Aéronavale Bronze are designed to complement the brand’s three broad categories of timepieces: air, land and sea, respectively. United by their Swiss-made automatic movements, “NATO Stretch” straps—derived from parachutes, no less—and 41 mm cases, the watches appeal to urban explorers seeking to emulate different aspects of the military experience.
“Every year when developing our newest novelties, we pull inspiration from the three Bell & Ross universes: land, sea and air,” says Bell & Ross CEO Carlos Rosillo. “With recent focus on the modern urban explorer, this year we gave new life to some of our most practical vintage designs by adding color, using new mediums and pairing them with a more modern strap choice while not compromising on our core values of function and legibility.”
The BRV2-93 GMT Blue model, which retails for $3,200 on an elastic canvas strap and $3,500 on a steel bracelet, is an aviator’s model, which is another way of saying it prizes capability and legibility above all else. Equipped with dual time zone functionality, the steel model with a bidirectional rotating bezel in two-tone anodized aluminum (gray for day and blue for night) is the quintessential timepiece for travelers.
With its simple, utilitarian styling, the BRV2-92 Military Green pays homage to the infantrymen who popularized the wristwatch starting with the Boer Wars of the late 19th century, when cumbersome pocket watches began to give way to more practical styles that could be strapped to the wrist. Priced at $2,990 on an elastic canvas strap and $3,300 on a steel bracelet, the model is named for its anti-reflective khaki dial, legible 24/7.
Finally, the BRV2-94 Aéronavale Bronze—limited to 999 pieces, at $5,200 each—bears the aesthetic codes of the ceremonial uniforms worn by French naval officers. Housed in bronze, a material that takes on a patina over time, the piece is both elegant and robust, not to mention precise—in other words, the perfect accessory for gentleman prepared to do battle (in the boardroom, natch).
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