By Nancy Olson
— I must admit that when I think of ladies wristwatches, Bell & Ross does not immediately come to mind, in part because of the company’s long lineage of professional watches geared mostly to men. But I find my thoughts changing after spending an enjoyable week with the new BRS Diamond Eagle, one of the latest Bell & Ross ladies watches. This beautifully fashioned timepiece loyally adheres to the brand’s four fundamental principles of readability, performance, precision and water resistance. And it’s dynamite on a feminine wrist.
Upon our first meeting, I was immediately drawn to the dial, a beautiful shade Bell & Ross refers to as midnight blue, whose sunray effect adds movement, dimension and depth. The hour markers are simple indices whose facets augment the sparkle of the seven diamonds that map out the Aquila constellation, chosen for its reference to Jupiter’s Eagle and the majesty this implies. The dial of the BRS Diamond Eagle is clearly all about the night skies, and by association, the early aviators’ use of stars for navigation. The Aquila constellation is echoed on the back of the solid case via a simple engraving that connects the dots—or in this case, the stars—to form the heavenly image.
The stainless steel case, from the BR family, is the familiar “circle within a square.” At 39mm, it loomed a bit large on my small wrist, but not unfashionably so. The satin polish is flawless, and I appreciated the perfect alignment of the four screw heads visible at the four corners of the case on the dial side. Interestingly, the four screws on the caseback were not similarly aligned. I found the watch to be a comfortable weight for all-day enjoyment and, trust me, I wore it every day. The case is water resistant to 100 meters—I’ll have to take the manufacturer’s word on that one—and it houses the quartz movement BR-CAL.102 featuring hours and minutes. Not so incidentally, there is a diamond version of this watch, which includes an additional 66 stones (0.99 ct) on the bezel.
Among my personal peeves are stiff leather straps that stubbornly refuse to conform to my wrist, even after multiple wearings. No problem here, as the deep blue alligator leather used to fashion the BRS Diamond Eagle’s strap was quite supple and not too thick. It is fastened via a pin buckle, also satin-polished steel and engraved “BR.”
Bell & Ross offers a variety of ladies watches within its collection, and there are a few in ceramic with diamonds that I now have my eye on. I guess the moral of the story is that loveliness and utility can co-exist in a watch—particularly in one from a brand that knows something about both.