For 2017, you’ll see more style options for Bell & Ross‘ most recognizable design, in its most wearable size. Introduced ahead of Baselworld, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horograph is the French-based brand’s take on the German-minimalist design school of Bauhaus, while the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horolum is a twist on the classic Bell & Ross look with an emphasis on the lume. What’s also nice is that these new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 watches are priced the same as the basic steel BR 03-92 model.
Let’s get the potential humor of the term “Horograph” out of the way since it appears right on the dial. In this instance, “Horograph” and “Horolum” are made-up terms meant to sound “instrumenty.” Horograph is also apparently a geometry term for a form of half-circle shape, but with the BR-03 Horograph, “horo” meaning “hours” and “graph” meaning “to write,” it just refers to general time telling. At the very least, it makes for an amusing conversation starter.
At 42mm wide, the BR 03 line of watches is the little brother of the original BR 01 that is 46mm wide. I called this the design’s most wearable size, but there will be those for whom the BR S at 39mm is just right. Square watches will always wear larger than round ones with the same on-paper measurements, so it’s always a good idea to try one on, but the variety is appreciated. The BR 03-92’s “92” designation applies to the automatic three-hand-plus-date models that come in various styles, finishes, and materials including carbon, ceramic, and steel like these models.
Both new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 watches come in 42mm-wide bead-blasted steel cases that are water-resistant to 100m. The movement inside is the BR-CAL.302 that is a base Sellita SW200-1 with 38hrs of power reserve operating at 4Hz. The date window at 4:30 (with date wheel in a color matching the dial) is also a common feature across BR 03-92 watches. The difference is in the dials (ok, the straps too), and thankfully, there is more to them than just some color combos.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horograph is, as I mentioned, Bell & Ross’ Bauhaus. This makes it pretty different-looking from anything else they offer, but certainly retaining enough Bell-&-Rossiness to give you the brand experience, due to the aviation instrument-inspired square case with screws in the corners. I dare say that the Bauhaus function-first focus is a good match for the pilot watch genre. The matte finishes from the case through to the dial with lumed hands and indices further reinforce the legibility and tool theme.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horolum is bead-blasted from the case all the way through to the hands and brass-rhodium dial for an even, uniform, matte silver texture. The same color and texture of hands and dial does not sound like the standard recipe for contrast and high-legibility, nor does the green C3 Super-LumiNova against a light-colored dial. In fact, I would say this is thematically in some ways almost like the BR-03 92 Phantom watch that is, of course, all black on black.
What the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horolum may lack in daytime legibility it attempts to make up for at night. The “-lum” in Horolum does indeed refer to… yes, lume – and Bell & Ross says that airstrip runway lighting was the inspiration. The dial is of what is sometimes called the “sandwich” variety, meaning that it has cutouts to a lower layer that can accommodate large amounts of lume. Panerai is most famous for this dial style, but more close to home, we also saw it on the Bell & Ross BR-03 Desert Type watches here.
There are actually more ceramic models in the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 lineup than steel, so these new watches add some relatively affordable options, priced right alongside the basic steel version with black dial. Both the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horograph and the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horolum watches will have the same price of $3,400. bellross.com