In watch history terms, Bell & Ross is a new kid on the block. But it would be hard to tell that by looking at some of its wrist candy. While the BR 01 - a square giant, flashy favourite and the kind of watch Thor would wear, if he kept to a schedule - has been central in Bell & Ross's rise, it hasn't quite stolen the thunder of their other feats; the company has also cornered the macho market for more understated, military-style timepieces. It even supplies the actual armed forces, notably the French Army's bomb disposal squads (the Type Demineur's anti-magnetic case won't accidentally set off the explosive), while other models have gone into space and to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the Pacific Ocean.
Its Vintage line, however, is pure style and could have been designed at any time since the 1940s, being all Bauhausian rigour in the dial and strong, warm leathers in the straps. Among the latest standout models are the Carbon 123 and this chronograph, the Vintage BR 126. The off-white dial adds to the aged feel, but the design is actually all contemporary quirks, at least for watch buffs: the signature off-centre date box, for instance. Or the standard chronograph feature that is the 12-hour sub dial, usually located at 12 o'clock, but here left off altogether - if your mission lasts longer than 30 minutes, chances are it's straight to the POW camp for you, sonny.