March 29, 2023
by Matt Reudink
For the past several years, Bell & Ross has focused heavily on its BR 05 modern sports watch lineup — and for good reason. The BR 05 line captures the classic Bell & Ross styling but does so in a sleek, toned-down, integrated sports watch package. Yet, if you’ve been following the brand, it’s likely that the aggressive, square-cased instrument watches come first to mind when thinking of the Parisian brand. Luckily, Bell & Ross hasn’t abandoned its roots. For Watches and Wonders 2023, Bell & Ross is introducing the BR 03-92 Diver White Bronze, a new dive watch that juxtaposes style, material, and color for a novelty that is old-school Bell & Ross in the best possible way.
Bell & Ross is a brand that embraces contrast. Based in Paris, but manufactured in Switzerland (after an early life of German manufacture), the brand’s signature style was derived from studying the instruments found in aircraft cockpits. This translated into the BR 01 line of square-cased instrument watches, but over the years has diversified from pilot’s watches into a broad array of purpose-driven timepieces, from chronographs to divers to GMT watches, available in a broad array of materials and colors. Using century-old fighter plane instruments as a platform for creating an elegant and refined dive watch is wonderfully contrarian.
With the new BR 03-92 Diver White Bronze, the brand keeps the contradictions coming. Aside from packing a dive watch in a pilot’s watch case, the brand has also opted for bronze as the case material with modern case design and construction. Next, they contrast the blocky and aggressive case design with a soft opaline silver dial and vintage brown bezel insert. But here’s the thing: It works. Bell & Ross simply has a knack for taking contrasting styles and elements and bringing them together in a harmonious package.
We’ve been using bronze since the ancient Sumerians discovered copper and tin-rich rocks in the Tigris Euphrates valley, but in recent years the use of the antediluvian material has taken off in the watch world, thanks to both its warm luster and ever-changing patina that can be restored with a bit of elbow grease. For this new release, Bell & Ross uses a CuSn8 bronze that’s made of 92% copper and 8% tin, resulting in a bronze reminiscent of the fittings on old sailboats and classic yachts. Appropriate for a dive watch. The case measures in at 42mm, but being a square watch, it will have plenty of wrist presence, especially when coupled with Bell & Ross’s wide lugs and broad straps.
The silver opaline dial is complemented by rose gold-plated applied indices and a gold-plated handset, all of which are filled with Super-LumiNova. The warm hues of the hands and indices play off the tones of the case and are a lovely contrast to the brown anodized aluminum bezel insert. Powering the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver White Bronze is the BR-CAL302 automatic movement. Based on the Swiss Made Sellita SW300-1, the movement is plenty robust for the 300m diver and will provide 38 hours of power reserve while beating at 28.8kbph.
The BR 03-92 Diver White Bronze is nothing if not stylish in its execution, but it remains a professional dive watch at its core, complying with ISO-6425 specifications. It’s refreshing to see Bell & Ross return to its roots with the BR 03-92 but do so in a way that’s fresh, colorful, and difficult to define. The Diver White Bronze isn’t aggressively modern, nor is it a vintage throwback. It’s elegantly sculpted and finished, yet undoubtedly falls into the tool watch camp. It’s this embrace of contrasting styles that makes the new BR 03-92 so intriguing. Available as a limited edition of 999 pieces, the BR 03-92 Diver White Bronze is available for 4,800 €. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.