We all know about the aviation roots of Bell & Ross, the strong DNA and a specific design that made the brand successful for some years now – and even more known since the launch of the iconic squared watch, the BR 01, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. For the 2016 edition of Baselworld, the brand goes even further in the military inspiration, with watches designed to meet the specifications of air forces operating in warm countries. Strong legibility, sand colour and furtive aspect… here are the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 and BR 03-94 Chronograph Desert Type, new ceramic military inspired watches.
The new Desert Type collection by Bell é Ross will be available in two editions (plus a smaller feminine BRS edition), both encased in the classic BR 03 shape, meaning the smaller version of the square-shaped, on-board instrument-like case. Both measures 42mm x 42mm and shared the same inspiration, but not the same display and mechanics. The first one, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Desert Type, is a 3-hander with date while the second one, the Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Desert Type, is a chronograph with bi-compax layout.
To meet with its name “Desert Type”, Bell & Ross applied a rather camouflage style to its iconic model – which you’re probably used to see in full black, with PVD coated case and black dial – like this one. However, the brand couldn’t focus on a single design for ever, and since a few years ago, we’ve seen pretty interesting evolutions at Bell & Ross. We’ve seen a more high-end and technical iteration with the BR-X1 collection (which even comes with a tourbillon chronograph), we’ve seen some vintage pieces (with the WW2 pieces) or more modern and race-oriented ones with the B-Rocket editions. With the Desert Type, the brand goes back to its initial concept (aviation and military), but in a slightly different approach.
Whether we look at the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Desert Type or the Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Desert Type chronograph, the style is the same: a black ceramic case, for the matte and furtive aspect – but also for a great resistance to wear and scratches – a sand-colored dial with black indexes and inscriptions and a sand-colored strap in leather (that can be changed by a black ultra-resistant fabric strap, for a darker look). As always with Bell & Ross legibility and ease of use are important (these watches are conceived to be used on field – and are used on field by certain Special Forces…). Thus, all the indications perfectly contrast with the sand-colored dial. The hands, with their aviation shape, are coated in black but are still luminous during darker conditions.
The main novelty of these Bell & Ross BR 03 Desert Type is the use of a sandwich dial, a perfect military construction. Formed by two overlapping inserts, the beige upper section is cut away around the numerals and indices, revealing the black photo luminescent coating covering the lower insert. This black and sand-colored contrast provides optimal reading of the dial during the daytime, as well as during nighttime as all the hollows will reveal the luminescent numerals and indexes. This new construction however doesn’t alter the typical look of Bell & Ross, as the specific font is conserved.
Both watches are equipped with solid automatic movements (based on ETA ebauches), with an extra chronograph function on the Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Desert Type (which displays a small second at 3 and a 30-minute counter at 9). Both models feature a date window at 4h30, a ant-reflective sapphire crystal on the top and are water-resistant to 100m. Official prices: 3,400 Euros / 2,800 GBP / 4,300 USD for the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Desert Type and 4,990 Euros / 4,000 GBP / 6,000 USD for the Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Desert Type chronograph. More details on the dedicated pages on bellross.com, here and here.