April 23, 2020
by Ariel Adams
One of the more recent and rather attractive limited-edition Bell & Ross BR03 watches is the BR 03-92 MA-1, which is inspired by the famed green and orange military jacket design. Paris-based Bell & Ross is really at its fashionable best, once again adopting something from the military to the high-end fashion world in a unique way that ultimately creates something entirely new.
The Bell & Ross BR03 is a longstanding model collection that is a smaller 42mm-wide square-shaped cockpit instrument-style wrist watch alongside the iconic Bell & Ross BR01, which is larger at 46mm-wide. Bell & Ross has produced a large number of BR03 models over the years and, frankly, most of them are pretty handsome. That makes them collectible but also challenging for watch enthusiasts who stand by waiting for the “perfect one” to come along. Perhaps, for some people, that is the limited edition of 999 pieces BR 03-92 MA-1.
Bell & Ross designed the BR 03-92 MA-1 watch to visually match the classic nylon-based bomber jacket that was, apparently, originally debuted in 1958. This type of bomber jacket seemed to herald in the modern era of military clothing, being produced from a synthetic material (as opposed to leather) and containing a bright orange-colored interior that, in an emergency, could be used as a visual aid during rescue operations.
The MA-1 jacket eventually entered civilian use and, in recent years, has been the subject of many high-fashion design collaborations and luxury products. Military-inspired urban fashion has never been hotter, which is why Bell & Ross was smart to make something in its timepiece collection relevant. At worst, the attractive-looking BR 03-92 MA-1 could be criticized as being too direct an interpretation of the jacket in timepiece form. So, some collectors might decry a bit of creative art missing in the collection. That said, design enthusiasts might celebrate the literal translation of the jacket into wrist watch form — though the strap is not made of nylon, but rather leather.
The Bell & Ross strap is, however, reversible, with one side being in a color-matching (to the jacket) green khaki, and the other an orange matching the strap. The orange and green colors are further used for the green ceramic case, as well as the green and orange BR03-style dial. The dials, of course, are directly inspired by analog instruments in vintage military aircraft.
The matte green ceramic case is 42mm-wide, and the dial is “sandwich-style,” with orange luminant on the lower layer with a green “stencil dial” over it. Inside the watch is a base Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement. Over the dial is an AR-coated sapphire crystal, and the BR03 case is water resistant to 100 meters.
Unfortunately, Bell & Ross doesn’t supply its own MA-1 jacket with the watch. When I brought this idea up to Bell & Ross, they said having different sizes of jackets in stock would have been too complicated. I still feel that selling a timepiece such as this as part of the kit (especially if the jacket had some unique Bell & Ross branding or design elements on it) would have been truly fantastic. That would have not only sweetened the value proposition of the watch but also made the set attractive to consumers more interested in the world of fashion that would be attracted by the jacket. Perhaps in the future!
Overall, this a fun and spirited limited-edition Bell & Ross watch that is clearly for some tastes and not others but certainly does help liven up the collection. Price for each of the 999 pieces of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1 reference BR0392-KAO-CE/SCA watch is $3,900 USD. Learn more at the Bell & Ross website here.