Monday, October 28, 2013

Wrapping Up the Bell & Ross Officer's Chronograph

Well once again, I've gone into extra time.  The nice people at Bell & Ross have not sent out large men with large sticks to collect it.  But all good things must come to an end, and before the Officer's Chronograph makes its way back to its home base.

In a time where where everything is "tech" this, or "combat proven" that, the Officer's Chronograph is a much needed breath of fresh air.  The Officer's Chronograph is a classic design - and an elegant interpretation.

So let's break down the essential points:

The case is a wonderful size - not too big and not too small.  41 millimeters in diameter, with a screw down case back and sapphire crystal display.  Water resistant to 100 mm - let's hope it doesn't come to that ; )

Timekeeping - Bell & Ross selected a self-winding bi-compax chronograph for the Officer 126.  The timekeeping was quite good.  The functions were bang on.  The hours, minutes, seconds and date all clearly displayed.

The movement is clearly displayed through the sapphire crystal back -

The finish work on the rotor is clear and elegant in its simplicity.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, the dial is clear and easy to read.  All too often a more "formal" chronograph is made too "cute", the hands to thin, the indices almost disappearing on the face.  Not so with this one!  Clear, legible, easy to read and use.

The crown's winding has been incredibly smooth, and the push buttons worked flawlessly.  Moreover, the crown was actually USABLE!  All too often the crown on self-winding (automatic) watches is overlooked.  This leads to incredible frustration when setting the watch, and more importantly when "re-starting" the watch from a dead stop by hand winding.  Not so the Officer's Chronograph!  Bell & Ross clearly understands that the crown is still an important piece of the watch and must be treated as such.

The strap and clasp were both a joy!  The stitching on the strap was smooth and was wonderfully comfortable.  Moreover, Bell & Ross chose a butterfly style deployment clasp for the sample watch that they sent.

Unlike many clasps, this one sat with a very low profile.  Meaning that the clasp did not force the strap up in an unnatural manner.  It sat fairly close to the underside of my wrist.  The clasp itself was smoothly finished - no sharp points or edges.

And perhaps the best way that I can wrap this up is to reflect on what my friend Francis Z. had to say about a Bell & Ross that he owned -

"Why would you want some ugly massive hunk of metal on your wrist, when you could have something elegant like this?  What, you think you're going to punch out some Nazi on a Normandy beach?!?"

Thank you Bell & Ross for the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the understated elegance of the Officer's Chronograph.

Enjoy your watches!

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