Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The 2 Year Review - Wrapping up the BR126 GT

One of the great joys of having and writing for your own outlet?  You get to do what you want ; )

As a watch enthusiast, the one constant conversation that I and my fellow-watch heads have about "the next thing", the "new thing" and more often than not, about love that has dried up.  No, were not talking about divorce or separation.  But that feeling that comes over you when you realize that the thrill is gone.  When that watch that got you so excited no longer does so.  

But I have noticed an interesting trend at the past few BaselWorld fairs.  More and more of my colleagues are not wearing the latest offering.  In ever growing numbers, they are wearing a favorite watch that has been in their collection for two or more years.  And that got me thinking...

So for the past week or so, I have been wearing and enjoying a 2 year old BR126 GT from Bell & Ross.  It was a simple idea - does love endure once the "new watch smell" has worn off?

YES, it does!

The BR126 GT will have a familiar look to several of its fellow Bell & Ross chronographs.  The dial layout is clear and easy to read.  But with a little twist as Bell & Ross utilized a contrasting silver tone to outline the two smaller registers at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock.  The silver rings that highlight the minute counter (9 o'clock) and the constant second (3 o'clock) provides a wonderfully understated bit of pop to the black dial.  The hour and main minute hand are coated with Superluminova.

The outer bezel is fixed and engraved with a graduated tachymeter. This adds a bit of sporty feeling to the overall look of the watch.  For a two year old watch, the engraving has held up quite well, and adds a lot to the watch as a whole.  One thing that I might have changed in the original design would have been to use a flatter crystal, as the slightly domed crystal used on the 126 GT shields the bezel's engraving just a touch.  It is nothing drastic, mind you, but when your eyes are approaching the half-century mark, you tend to notice these things more and more.  The only other suggestion would be to enhance the date window somewhat, perhaps using an "inverted" cyclops window for the date.  But again, this is really a little thing and in no way really takes away from the overall performance of the watch.

Bell & Ross opted for a solid case back for the BR126 GT and this is something that I wish more and more watch brands would revert to.  The original idea of a display back was to admire the fine inner workings of a watch, but more and more brands are using it as a less-expensive way to case up their watches.  In many instances, the exposed movement is nothing special to look at.  So this design choice of using a solid case back really spoke to me.

The watch sits on the wrist very well, at 42 mm (but with a more refined case), it is truly from the Goldilocks school of design - not too big, not too small, but just right!

The movement is listed as BR 126 GT : automatic mechanical. Calibre BR-CAL.301.  It is self-winding, offering hours, minutes, seconds (at 3 o'clock) and date as well as what is becoming a "Bell & Ross" bi-compax chronograph (minute, central seconds).
All functions worked without a hitch, with counter hands running smoothly and returning precisely to their starting positions.
The crown and pushers are still in fantastic shape after more than 2 years of use and are tactile and easy to use.

The time keeping was very, very good with the greatest deviation I experienced being a +12 seconds while running the chronograph over an extended period of time.
 And last (and all too often thought of least), the strap and buckle.

The clasp is a butterfly deployment and confirms what I have always thought - Bell & Ross makes one of the very best deployment buckles out there!  Easy to use, secure, and pretty good looking!

And the strap was an interesting - and very positive - choice.  It is described as black Alcantara which is suede-like on top, smooth underneath, and perforated to not only add to the sporty aesthetic, but also allows for ventilation.  Very good looking and supremely comfortable!

All in all, it is a great watch for the person out there looking for that one special piece.  It is elegant enough for the office or an evening out, but also sporty (sorry, I know that word has now officially been overused, but it is appropriate) enough for the weekend, or any bouts of daring-do you might have planned.

For many a collector and enthusiast, watches come and go.  But this one might just be that special one you see on the wrist of a writer or collector, the one that they have hung onto because it has stood up to their personal test of time.

Enjoy your watches! 

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