While most might know about the square design of Bell & Ross watches and their strong link with aviation and military purposes, we should all remember that this was not the only field where the brand has been active. Indeed, in 1997, Bell & Ross became the leader in professional diving watches with the launch of the HYDROMAX®, a watch capable to resist to 11,100 meters of water, thanks to an innovative case entirely filled with oil. So, to all of those who will say that Bell & Ross don’t know anything about dive watches, here’s the proof that they are wrong. And for Baselworld 2017, the brand goes back to its roots, with the Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver, their first square dive watch.
Bell & Ross and Dive Watches
As explained in the introduction of this article, Bell & Ross is particularly famous for Aviation and Pilot watches, with their iconic BR01 and BR03 watches, a design that now celebrates 12 years of constant production. From the beginning of the brand, these military roots have been in their DNA. Yet, dive watches have also been widely explored by Bell & Ross, with quite some impressive pieces. For instance, in 1997, Bell & Ross simply created one the most water resistant watches to be publicly commercialized, the HYDROMAX®, a watch that was capable to resist to an immense pressure of 1,110 bar (equivalent to a depth of 11,100 meters), without being a brick on the wrist. How was is possible? Bell & Ross achieved this by creating a hyper innovative case filled with a patented transparent fluorinated oil (also allowing to avoid any underwater reflections and distortions). Of course, it was fitted with a quartz movement.
Later, in 2002, a further step was reached with the Bell & Ross Diver 300, a watch whose automatic movement is housed in a resolutely vintage round case, and which meets all the technical and aesthetic requirements of an authentic professional diving watch.
Five years later, in 2007, Bell & Ross launched a new collection specifically designed for an underwater environment, the BR02, which is instantly recognizable, thanks to its tonneau-shaped case; its helium decompression valve and its ultra-resilient domed sapphire crystal.
The Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver, The Brand’s First Square Dive Watch
This year, based on that long experience, bell & Ross create a new professional diving instrument; an all-new dive watch featuring the brand’s iconic square case: the BR03-92 Diver, the first square diving watch created by the brand that offers water resistance to 300 meters. What we are talking about is a proper tool watch, meaning the requirements defined by international standard ISO 6425, thus the BR03-92 Diver can be labeled as “diving” watch.
The general requirements for a professional diving watch recognized as such by standard ISP 6425 are, among others, a minimum water resistance of 100 meters, an indication that the movement is running (even in the dark, enhanced by the presence of a luminous second hand) and the presence of a time preselection device (a 60-minute calibrated uni-directional rotating bezel), which is protected against accidental rotation or incorrect setting. Finally, during a dive, the legibility of the watch’s indications is critical, and may even be lifesaving. As a result, the indices must be easily legible at a distance of 25 cm in the dark. Likewise, the hour hand indication must be distinct from the minute hand, with the minutes more legible to allow for better time calculation.
The new Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver meets with all these requirement, and more (mainly because being water resistant to 30 bars). Using the iconic square case of the BR collection, this new watch adds here a necessary unidirectional rotating bezel on top, with a classical 60-minute diving scale. Screwed down to withstand the pressure at great depths, the crown of the BR03-92 Diver is equipped with a guard that guarantees complete protection against impacts and optimal water resistance.
The dial of the BR03-92 Diver also evolves in a diving way. No more pilot indexes but large, luminous and legible plots, applied on the dial, to mark the hours (with several shapes in order to quickly identify them in the dark). In the same vein, the hour and minute hands are differentiated in size, shape and color. The hour hand is orange and the minute hand contains white Superluminova, helpful to make calculations underwater.
Finally, compared to the aviation-oriented BR that are more likely used in the air than underwater, the case of the Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver is highly reinforced to withstand pressure. The case is reinforced with a very thick back (2.80 mm on the BR03-92 Diver, compared to 1.80 mm on the BR03-92 Steel), with the addition of a soft iron cage to increase its resistance to magnetic fields. The sapphire crystal with antireflective coating is an impressive 2.85 mm thick, compared to the 1.50 mm on the classic steel BR03-92. Inside the case is an automatic Swiss movement (most likely an ETA-clone) with 4Hz frequency, 38h power reserve and date feature.
The Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver comes in a water-resistant PELICAN® box, and is available with two straps: the first is made from woven black rubber with a steel pin buckle. The second is in ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric, allowing the watch to be quickly and ergonomically adjusted over a diving suit, thanks to a Velcro closure system. The BR03-92 Diver comes in at a retail price of € 3.300 Euro. More details on www.bellross.com.