Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT Watch Review
Wednesday - 31 March 2021
When you think about the different features that an aircraft captain may require in a pilot’s Watch compared to those of a jet fighter officer, or indeed, a frequent traveller - it becomes apparent just how versatile modern-day pilot’s watches need to be. One definitive function that meets the needs of most pilot’s watch collectors, however, is the GMT function, and Bell & Ross is certainly no stranger to this complication. Interestingly, many Bell & Ross Pilot’s watches have a distinctive military vocation since this style of watch is strongly linked to the needs of those out on the frontline. Early pilot’s watches used to be quite utilitarian, but when travellers started to cross timezones, the industry began manufacturing more urban-styled aviation watches for civilian use. The GMT function remains one of the most useful features of a pilot’s watch. The idea of a pilot being able to access a second time zone as well as local time became apparent and was utilized by many individuals working within an international environment. With this in mind, Bell & Ross introduced the complication into its catalogue of luxury pilot’s watches. The GMT function became a necessity in the BR 01 and BR 03 collections.
The history Bell & Ross GMT watches
Not so long ago, Bell & Ross released a celebratory timepiece that marked the 30th anniversary of a cornerstone of the French Fleet – the Airbus A320 with the launch of the BR V2-93 GMT A320 AF. Other Bell & Ross watches with a GMT function include the BR 03-51 with a large date complication and an added time zone in a sub-scale, but also the BR 123 Vintage watch collection, which features models with a central GMT hand and a fixed 24-scale bezel. GMT watches from the V2 series are slightly more compact with a smaller case size. The Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT watch, however, incorporates the “circle within a square” concept and boasts a design inspired by dashboard flight instruments. The watch was released with a 24-hour engraved steel bezel accompanied by a vibrant orange coated GMT hand that added both an urban and stylish look to the wrist but certainly didn’t lack in fundamental military aesthetics.
The new Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT watch
Now Bell & Ross has released a new BR 03-93 GMT model that follows in the same footsteps as the earlier version but comes in a new colour scheme. It keeps the same 42mm x 42mm case dimensions with the four decorative screws bolted onto the front of a square stainless steel case and a practical 100-meter water resistance. The polished bevels on the side add a nice touch to the design. The satin-brushed and polished stainless steel case is fitted with a circular bezel crafted from anodised aluminium and executed in vibrant red and sleek black tones. Its 24-hour scale is easy to reference, with clear numerals marked out against their respective colours – black for evening times and red to represent daytime hours.
The dial of the new Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT watch is executed in the classic B&R style. The stylised Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock are accompanied by baton markers and visible minute dashes. A date window is also located at 4:30 and the hands and hour markers have been treated with a generous coating of Super-LumiNova material for assisted reading during the night or in dark conditions. Accompanying these elements is a set of central hour and minute hands that have evolved from the previous propeller-shaped hands to present a wider, sword-shaped tip.
Propelling these hands around the dial is a tried and tested movement that Bell & Ross used in the former BR 03-93 GMT watch. The CAL. 303 is a self-winding movement that offers a power reserve of 42 hours and beats to the rhythm of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Bell & Ross has adapted the movement from the ETA 2893-2 and offers hours, minutes, seconds, date and second time zone functions.
The new Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT watch, in its new red and black colour palette, is completed on a black ultra-resilient synthetic fabric strap or a black calfskin leather band. Both choices come fitted with a robust stainless steel pin buckle adorned with a mix of polished and satanized finishes.
How does the GMT function work?
All GMT functions comprise a four-handed dial for the hours, minutes, seconds and additional time zones but what can differ is how the three time zones are adjusted. Bell & Ross GMT watches enable the wearer to adjust the home time hand very easily in one-hour increments, making this process hassle-free when touching down in a new destination. The second time zone hand makes a full rotation around the dial in one 24-hour cycle and is read from the 24-hour engraved bezel in black and red anodised aluminium. Innovatively you can use the additional time zone function on the new Bell & Ross BR 03-93 as a day/night indicator or as a way of tracking time zones abroad, but mainly - as a travel tool where the local time is displayed on the main hour hand and your home time on the coloured GMT hand. The second position of the crown is used to adjust the GMT hand in one-hour increments. Simply pull the crown out to the third position to adjust the new local time on the hour hand too! This enables seamless tracking of both local and home times simultaneously.