The recently released Bell & Ross BR 126 Blackbird is the latest addition to the Vintage collection and a watch that pays tribute to the legendary 1960s American spy plane, the Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" stealth plane, whose black paint absorbed radar waves. The Bell & Ross BR 126 Blackbird comes in a pelican case where the first thing that greets you way before you get to the watch is a Blackbird Flyback orange patch. The pelican case also includes a strap changing tool and an additional tropic rubber strap along with the watch. We really like when watch manufactures go the extra mile an add special packaging to a special watch in order to make it even more appealing. Kudos to Bell & Ross for this special packaging.
This watch is fitted with a stainless steel matte black PVD finished case measuring 43mm in diameter and equipped with a colorful bright orange heavy duty canvas strap lined with leather and fitted with a PVD pin buckle. The case is solid and well proportioned featuring a nice signed screw-down crown and chrono pump pushers that merely protrude on the case band. The case back is solid and properly engraved with the limited edition and depth rating —waterproof to a depth of 100 meters— information. The operation of the chronograph is nice and smooth when pressing the chrono pushers.
This watch is an aviation chronograph designed according to professional specifications and equipped with an automatic Flyback mechanism. The watch features a matte black dial that is very well balanced featuring recessed running seconds register at 3, a 12-hour chrono-register at 6, a 24-hour indicator at 9 and a date aperture between 4 and 5 o'clock. All chronograph hands are orange —matching the strap— for optimal readability while the hour and minute hands are black with white tips. The anti-reflective coated domed sapphire crystal provides excellent visibility under bright light conditions and the watch features luminescent material on the markers as well as on the hour and minute hands.
On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and very comfortably. While the movements inside Bell & Ross watches are not in-house calibres, we feel that the ETA calibres used are extremely reliable and great workhorses build to last a very long time. At the time we published this review, we have not received confirmation from Bell & Ross whether the beating heart inside this watch is a modified Lemania 1350 automatic calibre or an ETA movement with a Dubois & Dépraz module on it. Our best guess is that Bell & Ross decided to go with the ETA calibre instead of the Lemania.
Sticker Price $6,700 USD. For more info on Bell & Ross click here.