Few brands have watches that are instantly recognizable as their own. The Bell & Ross BR series won’t be mistaken for any other brand. Developed in 2005 with the BR01 and modelled after cockpit instruments, the BR series features a somewhat polarizing square case with round dial, and some models have evolved beyond the military motif. The BR 03-92 Blue Steel with its clean, deep blue time and date dial is a good example, maintaining the iconic square case with a dressier, non-military finish. The new model presented for Baselworld 2019, named the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1, is however all about military inspiration. Back to the roots!
The new BR 03-92 MA-1 is certainly military themed but specifically inspired by the classic MA-1 flight jacket from 1958. This “bomber” jacket was designed for jet fighter pilots, replacing older fleece-lined leather with nylon for more comfort in warm weather on the ground and colder temperatures in the air. The interior of the jacket was also bright orange and reversible, allowing downed pilots to become more visible for rescue teams. These characteristics are seen in the BR 03-92 MA-1, which goes beyond the instrument panel aesthetic.
The dial has the same multi-level “sandwich” design as the BR03-92 Horolum and BR03-92 Black Camo, with a bright orange luminescent (Super-LumiNova) base glowing through the stenciled-out numerals and indices of the upper dial. That upper dial has a dark khaki matte finish, and combined with the orange underneath, replicates the bomber jacket’s colour scheme of sage green and interior orange. The matching dark khaki hour and minute hands, and tip of the seconds hand are also coated with orange Super-LumiNova.
The 42mm x 42mm scratch-resistant ceramic case (water-resistant to 100 metres) of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1 still features the iconic square design with circular dial but replaces the usual stainless steel or black ceramic by a more relevant material. It is for the first time presented in dark khaki-coloured ceramic and still comes with four exposed screws at each corner. The calfskin leather strap further reinforces the jacket’s theme, being reversible with both khaki and orange sides.
The watch is powered by the calibre BR-CAL.302 automatic, based on the Sellita SW300-1. It features 25 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) and boasts 38 hours of power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes and seconds, with a date at 4:30. This movement is common to Bell & Ross BR time-and-date watches.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1 is a limited edition of 999 pieces with a retail price of EUR 3,500. More information can be found at bellross.com.