Beige Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Replica Watch would have been easy for them to go with a cheaper sapphire option, but they’ve made the right call in opting for the more expensive crystal, as it elevates the watch.Special mention should go to the crystal on the 123. Rather than opt for the industry standard flat sapphire Bell & Ross have opted for a lovely, high-domed sapphire, which now seems to be called “glassbox” which gives the watch a lovely warm vibe and really helps it live up to the vintage moniker.
Most of the standout watches in this category do so because they have a point of difference and a positioning all their own. For example the Tudor Heritage Ranger has a really strong vintage vibe going on, and something like the Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Replica Watch is all about the minimalist look.
And one of the toughest categories to impress in is the precise category that the BR 123 finds itself in: a mainstream, automatic watch priced under $5k. Sorry Bell & Ross. Cue violins. It’s hard to impress because it’s such a crowded market.I want to start with an admission that also functions as a spoiler. I wasn’t expecting to like this watch anywhere near as much as I did. A day in this difficult life of mine involves trying on a large number of very well made watches, ranging from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The case is a mix of satin and polished finishes, which keeps it somewhere in between smart and ‘tool’ watch. In profile the lugs are surprisingly slender and taper quite strongly – they really do look and feel like lugs from the ‘50s or ‘60s. The crown is solid and well machined, but not too chunky or over-tooled.The case of the Bell & Ross BR 123 Replica Watch is just the right size at 41mm across, round, with a thin bezel and long, wide shouldered lugs that add just a little masculine swagger to the watch.
In other words, it’s a great example of a watch that is greater than the sum of its parts, and it’s one of the nicest daily watches I’ve had the pleasure of wearing in the last 12 months.But the Bell & Ross Replica Watch does something that I think is even more impressive. It stands out while having nothing in particular that is standout about it.