The Manual Wind: Bell & Ross WW1-97 Heritage Power Reserve
In the watch world, size matters. Not five years ago, monster timepieces ruled the landscape. Consumers wanted clocks on their wrists and thats exactly what brands made. It was common to see 48mm and 50mm timepieces being released on the regular; and barely fitting on wrists. Some well designed pieces made the cut and brands are working on scale. Brands like Hublot, Zenith, and Bell & Ross are now making these pieces smaller for the current market trend. 45mm has proved to be the realistic max for the market and brands are complying.
Bell & Ross, known for the large square BR-01, has rounded its corners and complied with a great design in the WW1-97 Heritage. A steel case measuring 45mm holds a superbly detailed dial. Gillette gold lettering and track contrast against a black glossy dial. Untreated steel numbers in a classic pilot font make this piece. It may resemble the Zenith 48mm Pilot but the difference is in the detail. These textured steel numbers match the hour and minute hand standing out from the gloss dial. Below this classic dial lies a 42 hour power reserve automatic movement with power reserve indicator. Strap this on with a black crocodile strap and tang buckle.
The pilot watch has become its own segment in the watch marketplace. Size, design, and price are the biggest factors. Bell & Ross has come out with a strong contender in the WW1-97 Heritage. Sharp design, reasonable 45mm case, and price of just $4,500. Move over Zenith Pilot, you are too big and pricy.