Top Picks from Bell & Ross’ Aviation, Diver and Urban Watch Collections
Monday - 22 November 2021
With France as its headquarters and its manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, Bell & Ross is a watchmaker that has spearheaded the luxury watch industry with an astounding selection of instrument-inspired military timepieces, many of which are characterised by the brand’s distinctive circle-within-a-square case shape. Its new-era watches in particular (from the mid-2000s onwards) have a very distinct appeal, tapping into elite watch collecting circles (those with a natural love for vintage-inspired military watches and pilot’s watches). Some of these instruments embody the history of flying during a prominent period of conflict. From the BR 01 watch to utilitarian designs, Bell & Ross watches have a far reach across the luxury watch market and, as such, has become a humble player in the watchmaking game.
Bell & Ross watches from the Instrumental collection include five main sub-families. These are the BR 01, BR 03, BR S, BR 03-92 Driver, and the BR 05 range. The BR 03 watch sub-category is an extensive line in itself, including GMT models, Head Up Displays (HUD), and power reserve indicators. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best Bell & Ross watches to collect from the manufacturer’s esteemed line of Dive, Aviation and Urban instruments.
The Bell & Ross Aviation line follows the same four principles that those from the brand’s Marine and Vintage lines do; legibility, functionality, reliability and precision. The key features of these watches normally centre around the same DNA; a square-shaped 42mm stainless steel or ceramic case topped with anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass. They’re powered by either a quartz or automatic movement, offer 100-meter water resistance, and come fitted on a rubber, leather or canvas strap.
BR 03-92 Nightlum
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Nightlum is a watch that goes back to basics whilst also promoting a very futuristic aesthetic by night. The dial elements glow richly in the dark thanks to Super-Luminova C3 coated hands, numerals and indices. In the daytime, legibility is also guaranteed by a strong sapphire crystal glass lens treated with anti-reflective technology. The matte black dial, surrounded by its equally stealthy matte black ceramic case is parred down and simple but effective. The 100-meter water-resistant BR 03-92 Nightlum watch is supplied with a grey-green calfskin strap and a black ultra-resilient synthetic fabric strap, enabling you to switch up the look of the instrument whenever you wish.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1 watch is a limited edition model that pays homage to the US Air Force’s MA-1 flight or ‘bomber’ jacket of 1958. The model is exclusive to just 999 pieces worldwide and presents the time on a matte black dial with vivid orange accents. The nylon-based bomber jacket has recently entered the civilian market and has become the subject of many high-fashion design collaborations. In the design of this Bell & Ross BR 03 watch, the jacket is conveyed through two overlapping inserts. The orange interior of the jacket is portrayed through a lower dial insert showing large orange Arabic numerals, whilst the upper dial insert offers a khaki green alternative dial, cut away around the orange numerals. The watch is powered by the BR-CAL.302, which produces an impressive 38-hour power reserve during times when the watch is away from the wrist.
The armée de l'Air et de l’Espace chose Bell & Ross to become the official watchmaking partner of the Patrouille de France. The watchmaker shares values of performance and authenticity with the unit that is now one of the world’s most precise acrobatic training operations. The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Patrouille de France watch is a 42mm matte black ceramic watch powered by the BR-CAL.301. Its deep blue chronograph dial is accented with subtle touches of red and yellow to convey the livery of the Patrouille de France colours, surrounded by a black bidirectional rotating bezel with a tachymeter scale for measuring speed based on distance. Luminous hour markers and hands enhance the readability of the dial, and the limited-to-500-pieces edition is completed on a black rubber strap with a black PVD-coated steel pin buckle.
Legible hour markers, luminous hands and a clear, simple and easy-to-reference dial are all key features of a dive watch from Bell & Ross. The collection has grown considerably over the years to accommodate models for professional divers, amateur divers and those that just love the luxury dive watch look. The tool watches from this collection by Bell & Ross are generally characterised by their confident cases and their indexes contoured in black, as well as their rugged stainless steel bracelets that provide a quick-drying and anti-corrosive option when dipping in and out of water frequently.
BR03-92 Diver Blue
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Blue watch is a ruggedly handsome dive tool that comprises a 42mm satin-polished stainless steel case with a unidirectional rotating bezel in a matching blue anodised aluminium insert. As well as measuring elapsed time underwater with this feature, the dial in which the bezel surrounds is executed in an attractive blue colour with luminous baton hour markers and a date window at 4:30. The 300-meter water-resistant Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Blue watch features a vivid yellow-coated hour hand, along with a lollipop second hand – both of which are driven by the Calibre BR-CAL.302 for reliable timekeeping whilst exploring deep underwater depths.
BR03-92 Diver Military
For a more military-infused look, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Military watch presents the time on a khaki green dial with luminous appliques and a visible black unidirectional ceramic bezel. The lightweight and scratch-resistant matte black ceramic case of this luxury dive watch captures the spirit of Bell & Ross watchmaking and its commitment to designing military-inspired instruments for assisting with life-threatening challenges on both land, sea and in the air. The 300-meter water-resistant dive watch is limited to 999 pieces worldwide and features photoluminescent features and a date window at 4:30. The dive watch, certified to ISO 6425 standards, comes with both a black woven rubber strap and an ultra-resilient fabric strap, enclosing with a black PVD-coated steel pin buckle.
BR03-92 Diver Black Steel
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Black Steel watch conveys the classic dive watch look with a black dial and luminous hour markers and hands. The legible display is also home to a date window at 4:30 and an orange-coated hour hand that matches the orange “300M” water-resistant reference towards the south of the dial. Ideal for exploring water down to these depths, the watch’s 42mm stainless steel case protects the performance of the Calibre BR-CAL 302 beating inside. The movement performs at a rate of 28, 800 vibrations per hour and delivers a power reserve of 38 hours when needed. The BR 03-92 Diver Black Steel is the go-to dive-watch-come-daily-beater for all of life’s pursuits.
As its name suggests, the Urban watch collection by Bell & Ross is designed for those with busy lifestyles – the modern man. Practical, functional and stylish – there would be no mistaking a Bell & Ross watch on the wrist of today’s business entrepreneur, traveller or trend-setter.
BR 05 Blue
Following along those same lines of legibility, functionality, reliability and precision – the BR 05 watch is designed for extreme environments and professionals. The ergonomically designed case of this BR 05 Blue watch conveys a somewhat classic and universally appealing look thanks to its practical 40mm satin-polished stainless steel case. Its sapphire crystal glass caseback exposes a 360° oscillating weight belonging to the automatic BR-CAL.321, capable of producing a 38-hour power reserve. The model’s enchanting blue dial shade creates a superb contrast against Arabic numerals at 12, 6 and 9 o’clock, a set of sword-shaped central hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock. An integrated stainless steel bracelet completes the look of this BR 05 Blue watch.
BR05 Chrono Black
The bicompax layout of this Bell & Ross chronograph watch shows the world that the manufacturer can still churn out something new whilst hinting at something of a bygone era. The 42mm stainless steel case is designed for comfort as is its integrated stainless steel bracelet, whilst a black sunray dial with a central chronograph seconds hand and a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock provide a very practical purpose for measuring timings. The small second sub-dial at 3 o’clock finishes the display with balance whereas the skeletonised hands and hour markers are treated with Super-LumiNova for enhanced readability during the night. A screw-down crown assists the case with 100-meter water resistance. Flip the BR 05 Chrono over and Bell & Ross has exposed the BR-CAL.301 through a sapphire glass bottom, complete with its oscillating weight on show.
Lastly, the Bell & Ross BR 05 GMT rounds up the Urban collection with an instrument fit for wearing on the wrist daily but with some additional features that encourage exploration. The BR 05 GMT is a dual time model powered by the Calibre BR-CAL.325 engine, which can be seen at work through the back of the case. On the dial side, however, a red arrow-tipped GMT hand points to a 24-hour scale around the periphery of the dial, whilst the centre of the display features the classic luminous hour markers, hands and date under a sapphire crystal glass front. As a result of all these features plus a rugged steel bracelet, enclosing with a satin-finished and polished folding buckle, the Bell & Ross BR 05 GMT watch is the ultimate globe-trotter’s companion.