March 12, 2022
Bronze-cased divers are one of the hottest trends in the current luxury watch market. The warmth, patina, and nautical underpinnings of bronze have made it a popular choice for enthusiasts, but for the most part, bronze divers have been restrained to highly traditional designs. On paper, this trend makes sense, with brands aiming to tie the maritime legacy of bronze to equally legacy-driven silhouettes, but it leaves a wealth of unexplored venues for the reddish metal. Bell & Ross aims to shed this traditional association with its latest release, pairing a warm bronze case and earthy complementary colorway to its contemporary, fighter jet-inspired BR 03-92 platform. The new limited-edition Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze presents a bold alternative to the safe and classical field of current bronze divers, presenting a rich and luxurious new colorway without sacrificing the brand’s unique spirit.
Measuring in at 42mm-wide and 12.05mm-thick, the bronze case of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze uses the brand’s signature aircraft instrument-esque rounded square form. Although this squared-off shape should carry a sizeable presence on the wrist, Bell & Ross tempers this somewhat in images with its short, sharply downturned lugs. The CuSn8 bronze alloy Bell & Ross uses for this case carries a brighter rose-gold tone in images than many of the redder, more commonly used bronze alloys, and the brand showcases this luster with a variety of finishes. Radial and vertical brushing work to define the top and sides of the case in images, while an uninterrupted polished chamfer encircles the top edge of the case and adds a flash of brightness. The horizontally brushed wedge-shaped crown guards include oversized screws and black-filled engravings, maintaining the line’s function-forward, instrument-inspired ethos in spite of the flashier new case material. Although many current bronze watch offerings aim to impede the growth of verdigris on the case surface with special coatings or proprietary alloys, Bell & Ross looks to embrace the changing nature of bronze with this model and offers no special safeguards against patina. This lack of protection may prove divisive among enthusiasts, however. The brand tops this striking case with an anodized aluminum bezel insert in rich coffee-brown, which handsomely complements the bronze-tone dive scale in initial images. Around back, the brand equips the BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze with an intricately engraved stainless steel caseback featuring a dive helmet motif. Although this rounded-square shape may not follow the traditional dive watch pattern, its performance is undeniable, with a robust 300-meter water resistance rating that meets the ISO 6425 international standard for dive watches.
Bell & Ross continues this attractive colorway into the dial of the BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze, with a deceptively nuanced take on the classic dive watch layout. The unique terraced baton hands and rounded applied diver indices add a unique twist to the quintessential diver look without feeling forced or over-designed in images, with polished and matte-blasted rose-gold plating that should offer dramatic highlights on the wrist. The matte coffee-brown hue of the main dial surface plays off the reddish undertones of the bronze and rose-gold elements excellently in images, creating a warm, softly vintage color palette that brings upscale masculinity to the familiar layout. The BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze’s circular date window at 4:30 is also likely to split opinions, however, because while its dial-matching date wheel helps it to blend into its surroundings, its off-center placement notably disrupts the overall symmetry of the dial.
Inside the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze beats the Sellita SW300-1 based BR-CAL.302 automatic movement. The BR-CAL.302 is a long-serving stalwart of the brand’s lineup and is beginning to show its age with performance figures like a subpar 38-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. To complete the package, Bell & Ross equips the watch with a pair of straps. First up is a textured black rubber strap with a modernist sculpted look. When out of the water, however, the more attractive option of the pair is the heavily tapering distressed leather strap in deep cocoa brown. With a dramatic mottled patina that attractively echoes the dial hue in images, this should prove to be a versatile and alluring pairing.
By introducing bronze to a more contemporary, distinctive take on the dive watch formula and imbuing it with a stylish new colorway, the new limited-edition Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze delivers one of the boldest and most unique entries into the current bronze diver trend. Only 999 examples of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze will be made. The watch is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze stands at $4,700 as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.