back to top

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass Special Edition Watch

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass Special Edition Watch Watch Releases

I’m wearing a Bell & Ross as I type. I love it, but I’m always a little embarrassed that it isn’t one of the square ones. I mean, that’s the whole point, right? The brand is so firmly committed to that concept, it’s hard to believe they ever made a round watch. But perhaps the fact that they did and were able to get away with it is a testament to just how far this brand has come since its foundation in 2005. Fourteen years in, we’re treated to yet another timekeeping “instrument,” reminding us that there’s a hell of a lot of aviation history to work through before we’re done. The Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass Special Edition watch takes its cues from the myriad dials that keep a pilot in the air, and it looks awfully good for it.

Color is a big deal in watchmaking. When you approach a task like designing a watch, you’ve got to be very selective about where you make changes to the tried and true formula. There are only so many things you can do and, within these stringent parameters, you’ve got to find an avenue for novelty. Color is always an option, however risky it may be. Here, with the Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass watch, liberties have been taken, and are justified by historical provenance.

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass Special Edition Watch Watch Releases

What do I mean by that? Typically, “baby turquoise,” or whatever you want to call that saccharine color in the middle of the dial, is not a colour used in watchmaking. Much less for men’s watches. Two things must be said, however, the first of which is that it is a color that has gained a lot more traction in recent years, cropping up particularly in microbrands looking to separate themselves from the pack. Additionally, Bell & Ross have provided just cause for their decision, thanks to a page from the history books (see below).

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass Special Edition Watch Watch Releases

Slap bang in the middle of that seizure-inducing dash is a dial marked “Radio Compass,” decorated with colors very close to those chosen to bring the dial of the Bell & Ross BR03-92 Special Edition to life. Here’s a close-up if you’re struggling to pick it out of the crowd:

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass Special Edition Watch Watch Releases

The colors used on aviation dials are, obviously, important. The “baby turquoise'”in question is actually known as “Munsell green” in these circles. When paired with the “coquille d’oeuf” (eggshell) white of the outer ring, a dial of supreme legibility is born.

Advertisement

In addition to color, the multi-level aspect of the dial also improves legibility. The raised outer edge provides a pleasing depth; the disc hour marker in the centre of the dial is a really clean touch.

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass Special Edition Watch Watch Releases

The hands and markings are coated in Super-LumiNova compound to provide excellent legibility at night. Next to the black ceramic case (water resistant to 100m), the contrasting lume colors stand out nicely.

This watch is very much within Bell & Ross’s wheelhouse. It shouldn’t, however, be criticized for that. Maybe there are some people who are bored by the endless releases in the “same” case. Personally, I love it that a brand has carved and, for the most part, kept to its own niche.

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass Special Edition Watch Watch Releases

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Bi-Compass Special Edition Watch Watch Releases

I really do like the Bellytanker and the Guynemer Special Edition strapped to my wrist right now, but when it comes to classic Bell & Ross, it has to be a dashboard-inspired dial instrument. The Bell & Ross BR03-92 Special Edition does exactly what it needs to sit comfortably alongside its myriad predecessors, and would easily justify a place in any collection. The retail price is $3,900, and it will be limited to 999 pieces. Visit bellross.com to learn more.

Read more about

Watch Brands

Explore

Comments

Disqus Debug thread_id: 7228011180

  • SuperStrapper

    Kinda cool, but the rehaut with giant plateau to round bezel to big corners expanse in the case shape leaves the actual dial/time telling so minuscule. I almost want to say the hands are too short but they really aren’t, the dial is just too smol.

    Also, I can’t get this Orient Disk out of mind:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e136e985ed7a07877e9cde3dad3dd396fd4da389436f2fb67253fb251848794b.jpg

    • Mikita

      Exactly! Orient Disk comes to mind

  • Independent_George

    B&R has its fans. However, I am not one of them.

    Do like the dial.

  • IanE

    Brave of you to confess all this.

  • Ayreonaut

    Same colors as the RGM 801 A, based on the Hamilton and Elgin model 37500 aircraft clocks.

  • Love the warm colors in the cold/sterile ceramic case! So much character! I honestly feel that B&R never get enough respect from watch fans which is a real pity.

    • Independent_George

      I feel that B&R has the same issue as Bremont — a relatively new watch company selling watches using third party movements for thousands of dollars. I think there might be some resentment that both brands are trying to push their way into niches previously occupied by older heritage brands — Bremont into IWC territory and B&R into Panerai’s.

      For B&R, speaking for myself, it’s case size and design. Square watches are polarizing enough, but GINORMOUS square and thick watches add another layer of disrespect, especially since the clear trend among watch aficionados is toward small and thinner. I know that B&R doesn’t exclusively make square watches, but that is what they are know for, and that’s what celebs like Ben Stiller were spotted wearing on the red carpet while promoting Tropic Thunder.

      • Polerouter

        Like Bremont, they started as a mere marketing gimmick. I mean, B&R was founded by marketers, at first just stamping the name Bell and Ross on very slightly modified Sinn watches. And then they added square cases, Panerai dials, and thats’s all.

        Even when a bad rep is no more justified, people dont easily forget the impression of being fooled.

      • Have you tried their square cases in 42mm? They wear extremely well on my tiny 6.75” wrist as they are also very thin and flat. For example their recent square diver in blue is an amazing watch both to look at, and to wear. I can’t upload photos but you can see how it wears on my wrist here —> https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt35NwknNCy/

        They also have a lot of great collections outside the square cases and I would happily wear their vintage series with aged lume. Oh and they probably have the best asymmetrical date implementation out of any watch I can think of.

        All in all I like their designs and quality and find their prices reasonable, at least in the second hand market. But I do tend to go for what I like and what makes me happy wearing vs. the “horologically sound” options!

  • Drazen B

    Hey, what’s new B&R…?

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    Close but no cigar. As stated, dial too small. The Munsell green is one of my favorites on a dial, seems so retro cool.
    Enlarge the dial & give it a 3rd hand.

  • Pete L

    Colours really pop on the dial. Cool.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I still don’t like Bell & Ross.

    • Marius

      You ought to ask Ariel if you can have a regular “Ray no likey” column….

      • Raymond Wilkie

        …mond.
        I think my comments up to this point have been very mixed.

  • otaking241

    Rather wish they’d copy the numerals from these old instruments as well–I’ve always felt they hew too close to Panerai in this regard.

    I think a better choice for this inspiration would have been a 24-hour watch, leaving the middle area sparse with room for the cool “RADIO COMPASS” labeling. There’s a freebie for your next one, B&R.

  • george hollingsworth

    I learned to fly in a general aviation Cessna that had one of these square case clocks. It was absolutely the most inaccurate timepiece I have ever seen – like 15 minutes off in a two hour flight. In a career of flying I don’t think I have ever seen an aircraft clock particularly accurate. I am sure the Bell and Ross watches are very accurate but what is the point of trying to copy something grossly inaccurate to begin with?

  • mtbiker here: I’m sick of turquoise.

  • I failed to find the compass. Any of the two.

  • Orient’s logo doesn’t match with anything!