Can anyone testify to the quality of Bell & Ross watches?

Does anyone own a Bell & Ross watch? Like it? Hate it? How’s the bracelet? How do they compare to Rolex? Do they hold their value like a Rolex? I like they way they look, but if I’m going to spend that much dough, I thought I’d ask around.


Since we’re after opinions here, let’s move this to IMHO.

samclem GQ moderator.

Re using Rolex as the apogee of watch quality you really shouldn’t. Rolex is (at best) a middling quality ‘fine’ watch. They do a very good job with the case and bracelet craftsmanship and finishing, and the mass produced movement is quite reliable, but (as finer watch movements go) fairly pedestrian, and for quite a few watch geeks Rolex really isn’t considered a true fine watch from a technological perspective, although it’s priced like a fine watch. And to give credit where due they are the God Kings of marketing. In that they are second to none.

Re Bell & Ross they occupy a popular niche as an “instrument watch”. They have generally received quite good ratings for the price re overall quality, but re “holding value”, the appeal of their “instrument panel” look is going to be more focused to watch geeks and others who can appreciate the technology and the aesthetic involved, so resale value is more open to question.

But, to be frank with if you’re buying a watch with re-sale value as a predominant concern vs the craft and aesthetic of the watch, you’re probably better off sicking to a Rolex.

More Bell & Ross info

Makes sense. Thanks.

Yeah, I read that article. Thanks. I’m not buying it predominantly to the degree to which it holds its value, but I thought I’d try to see where the B&R stood on that scale. Also, and more important, on the durability scale. I’e been to the store and been to their site, but I was trying to get a less biased opinion. They appear to be a really good watch, possibly as good as a Rolex., but for considerably less money. I wonder the degree to which that is true and how much of a premium you pay for the Rolex badge.

I think a watch similar to a Rolex Submariner is the Omega Seamaster. From this site:

The Sub seems to have an MSRP of about $5,175 nowadays. The Seamaster retails for about half that. But whereas Rolex dealers seldom (if ever) give a discount, you can probably get a Seamaster 30% off.

As for resale value, see the link for the Seamaster. I don’t know what my GMT Master II is worth on the used market, but the MSRP for a new one has gone up about $2,000 since I bought it.

What it comes down to is personal taste. I like the way the Oyster looks. I like the big chunk of stainless steel. I like automatic movements. I like that it’s really, really un-hip to wear a Rolex. (Although I doubt anyone really notices what watch you wear.) If you like it, get it. If not, don’t. Better yet, start a collection. I’ve got a couple of blue-faced 34-year-old Seiko Bell-Matics I like to wear.

I’m a bit of a watch geek and I have a couple of watches that are expensive (for me) but nowhere near the prices that some watches go for. Ultimately, there is no rational reason for buying a watch that costs more than a $30 timex. So, if you are spending more than that, it’s a purely emotional decision. As Johnny L.A. says, if you want it, buy it.

For me, every watch I’ve bought has been because of a “I must have it” moment. The hard part as been justifiying the purchase to my wife.