June 26, 2014
by James Stacey
Bell & Ross owes much of their place on the watch landscape to the distinctive and long-standing design of their BR 03 series. With an instantly-recognizable square case shape and circular instrument-inspired dial design, the BR 03 is a watch that most enthusiasts could pick out from across a room. The look, while polarizing, successfully bolsters B&R’s aviation aesthetic and has become an archetype of its own. Released at Baselworld 2013, the Bell & BR 03 Ross Golden Heritage collection offers a BR platform with some of its military charm swapped for a more dressy and classic look and feel.
The Bell & Ross BR 03 Golden Heritage line has two models, a three-hander (the BR 03-92) and a chronograph (BR 03-94). Both models feature a 42 mm wide satin-finished steel case, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, 100M water resistance and sport a wide brown leather strap. The three hand BR 03-92 Golden Heritage is powered by a Sellita SW 300 and has a date display at 4:30.
The SW 300 is a Swiss made movement meant to compete with movements from ETA like the 2892. With 25 jewels, a frequency of 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 42 hours, the SW 300 is an excellent choice for a reliable and serviceable automatic movement that offers hacking and hand winding.
The BR 03-94 Golden Heritage chronograph uses ETA’s 2894 automatic chronograph movement which, in this configuration, offers sub seconds and a maximum measure of 30 minutes. Based in part on the ETA 2892, the 2894 is a modular movement that we have seen used in watches like the Tag Heuer Carrera Jack Heuer 80th Birthday Limited Edition (as the Calibre 17). This movement is fairly easy to pick out as, in its two-register form, it places the running seconds at three and the chronograph minutes at nine. Based on a cam and lever design, this mechanical movement has a power reserve of 37 hours.
Both models have brown dials with gold hands and markers, giving the Bell & Ross BR 03 Golden Heritage watches a somewhat more dressy and old school vibe. Supported by the accessible 42 mm sizing, both of these models are quite wearable and make a great choice for anyone who digs the square case but might want a watch that is a little less casual than its siblings.
In hand and on wrist, the Golden Heritage line really shines and we were surprised by how well this dial design worked with the signature BR-03 case shape. The case and its satin finishing works beautifully with the somehow reserved gold markers and hands. Pricing starts at $3900 USD for the three hander with the chronograph carrying a list price of $5800 USD. With excellent sizing, striking good looks and loads of wrist presence, the BR-03 Golden Heritage line is an interesting spin on a recognizable design from Bell & Ross. bellross.com