There is something undeniably function-forward about a GMT-equipped pilot’s watch. Even if you’re not the guy or gal flying the plane, no complication is more useful to a frequent flyer or international team member than a GMT. With their newly-announced BR V2-93 GMT, Bell & Ross adds a simple but robust GMT watch to their best wearing and most handsome line of watches.
Widely known for the bold square cases of their instrument-inspired BR 01 and 03 lines, Bell & Ross also has the BR V line, which is based within the confines of a round case shape, giving it more modern appeal than the similar BR 123 family. The BR V2-93 GMT uses a 41mm steel case with a steel bezel (and aluminum insert), a domed sapphire crystal, a screw-down crown, and 100m water resistance. It comes only with a black dial, with a subtle date display at 4:30, and you have your choice of either a black tropic-style rubber strap or a steel bracelet with a fold-over clasp (as seen in these photos).
Employing a large, bright orange GMT hand, the BR V2-93 GMT is powered by a Bell & Ross decorated ETA 2893-2 automatic Swiss movement (what they call a BR-CAL.303). The 2893-2 is essentially the standard fare for a GMT-equipped movement these days, adding an independent 24 hour hand to the same functionality of a standard ETA movement like the 2892. Thus, specs are straightforward, with automatic winding, hacking, quick-set date (tied to the main hour hand), a rate of 4Hz, and a power reserve of around 42 hours.
The BR V2-93 GMT adds some extra functionality though via this new model’s inclusion of a bi-directional 24-hour GMT bezel. Unlike the visually similar BR 123 GMT or the square-cased BR 03-93 (both of which use a fixed 24-hour bezel), the BR V2-93 can essentially show three time zones, with the third being as variable as a simple rotation of the bezel.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of using a watch like this, allow me to (briefly) explain. The bezel can be used to quickly indicate the offset of any time zone based on it’s +/- from the timezone of the 24-hour hand. So, without upsetting the main time display (showing home, likely), with the 24-hour hand set to UTC time, you can rotate the bezel to place the offset of the desired additional timezone at the 12 o’clock position. So for LA (UTC -7), you would rotate the bezel to show seven hours less than 24 at the top/center (12 o’clock position). You can now read the time in LA from the 24-hour hand. Furthermore, you don’t need to use UTC 0 for the 24-hour hand, but you do need to account for the offset specific versus the time zone you’ve selected for that orange hand. While this flexibility is likely only to be exploited by those who travel a lot or have to interface with a global team, I frequently do both of those things and love a good GMT watch. Let me know in the comments if you’d like a much more in-depth primer on the various GMT functions and how they are set and read.
Travel functionality aside, the BR V2-93 GMT is a really good looking and nicely sized watch. It’s hard to argue with the 41mm sizing and its simple steel case, grey/black bezel, and light but effective use of orange, all of which make for a distinctive and versatile watch that would be a good fit for all but the most formal of travel engagements. The crystal is domed but nicely treated for reflections, offering strong legibility aided by relatively minimal dial text. While I will never be truly okay with a 4:30 date, this is about as unobtrusive as they come. And while the date is tied to the main time display, it’s still something you need on a travel watch.
While I was only able to go hands-on with the steel bracelet version of this watch, the BR V2-93 GMT is comfortable, not especially thick, and entirely straightforward. Furthermore, thanks again to the simple case and loosely military-feel, it will likely work quite well on a variety of straps.
Priced at $3,250 on a rubber strap and $3,500 on the steel bracelet, and while certainly an appealing overall package, the BR V2-93 GMT faces some considerable competition on all sides from the likes of Tudor, Sinn, Hamilton, Montblanc, Oris, and more. It’s a tough game, but I think the BR V2-93 has the looks, sizing, and useful configuration to be firmly in the mix.