When you hear the name Bell & Ross, if you’re like me, you have a particular mental picture that comes to mind – a square case that calls to mind the very aviation instruments they’re intended to reference. For 2014, Bell & Ross is introducing a new model to their Aviation collection that relies not just on the shape, but also the color scheme, to establish the airplane roots.
The new model goes by the name of BR 03-94 Carbon Orange, and for my eyes, the orange is the star of the show, especially when paired with the orange canvas strap (sure, you could opt for their standard black rubber strap, but why?) that manages to be just as bold and blocky as the case it’s paired to.
The orange then carries over onto the dial. Why? While aviation instrumentation (amongst other industries) relies on the crisp black and white contrast to keep legibility high, a color like orange is thrown in the mix to highlight crucial information. In the case of the BR 03-94, this critical data is in the chronograph functions.
Go ahead; take another look at the watch. Everything that’s in orange relates solely to the chronograph; the central seconds, 30 minute register at 9 o’clock, and the start/stop pusher north of the crown. All in brightly contrasted orange, making it a cinch to hone in on the chronograph in a hurry.
The rest of the dial is the look that we’re all quite familiar with, and is a successful style for the brand. Large numerals and broad hands top the dial, and complete the aviation look. Overall, it’s a cohesive style (both to itself and the collection) that’s sure to find many supporters amongst those who are fans of these distinctively-cased watches.
With carbon appearing in the name of the watch, I was holding out that we might see something like a case made of some carbon fiber composite, which, if done up properly, can give quite a unique patterning to the case while reducing the overall weight of the piece. Unfortunately, that’s not the case – just “plain old” steel here. And yes, perhaps another brand could go for a CF dial, but I think that would be rather out of place on a B&R model, unless it was painted flat black – and then why even bother?
For myself, I’ve always enjoyed seeing Bell & Ross pieces pop up in articles, and I do rather like the style. They take something familiar (the aviator watch) and have turned into something that’s uniquely their own (in large part due to that case) that all at once lets you know what marque’s name is going to be gracing the dial. Limited to an edition of only 500 pieces, I have a feeling this $5,900 BR 03-94 will be a model that moves pretty quickly off the shelves. bellross.com
Tech Specs from Bell & Ross
>Movement: ETA 2894
>Case: 42mm steel with black PVD finish
>Dial: Matte black with luminescent numerals, indices, and hands
>Crystal: Sapphire with AR coating
>Water Resistance: 100m
>Strap: Orange canvas and black rubber with PVD pin buckle