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One of the most fashionable new watches at Baselworld 2019 was, not surprisingly, released by Paris-based Bell & Ross. Using the BR V2-94 watch collection as a base, the new-for-2019 limited-edition reference BRV294-BC-BR/SCA BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze combines a “rich look” with affordability in a non-tarnishing bronze case. On the wrist, you’d be hard-pressed not to think this watch was solid gold when viewing it from a few feet away. Enthusiasts, however, know that its wearer is more practical than flamboyant, opting for great design and aesthetics over sheer showing-off.

That isn’t to say the Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze is a budget watch, at just under $5,000 — but it sure costs less than if the case were in gold. Bell & Ross’s BR V2-94 case is 41mm-wide and paired with actual screw-down chronograph pushers and a matching crown. The rear of the watch has a bellytanker automobile motif printed on the exhibition caseback window, as this is part of the Bell & Ross Bellytanker watch collection that debuted not too long ago. Inside the BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze watch is a Swiss ETA 2894 automatic chronograph movement (that they call the BR-CAL. 301) with a lightly decorated movement visible through the rear of the case. The chronograph on the dial is laid out with only one subdial (the other subdial is for the running seconds) making it a 30-minute chronograph. A small circular window between 4 and 5 o’clock has the date using a discreet black-colored disc.

Black and gold with some hints of red mark the attractively designed Bellytanker Bronze dial. The gold-toned subdials are a nice touch and remind me of the color palettes of certain Everose gold Rolex Daytona watch models. As I said above, Bell & Ross didn’t choose oxidizing bronze but rather a stable bronze alloy. This is an important distinction because the bronze alloys that helped popularize bronze as a modern watch material do, in fact, “patina” over time. This Bell & Ross with a bronze case (and some other watches out there) opted for a metal alloy that does not oxidize and subsequently patina. The watch will, of course, scratch, but it won’t start to get green or black over time. I prefer stable bronze, more often than not, and given that the BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze is going for a more chic (versus antique) look, I agree with Bell & Ross’ decision use stable bronze for the case.
Bell & Ross complemented this attractive watch color combination with a black calf leather strap and Bell & Ross’ still-pretty new deployant clasp. For the money, I can’t think of too many other modern watches out there that have as classy a look for a vintage-style sport watch design. As a limited edition of 999 pieces, the Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze will easily be a sleeper hit from Bell & Ross for 2022