Mention Bell & Ross and what comes to mind immediately would be their cockpit instrument timepieces. Interestingly some 20 years ago in 1997, the brand became the leader in professional dive watches with the Bell & Ross Hydromax, a dive watch that can withstand the depth of 11,100 meters because of its patented oil-filled case. Back then, the Hydromax was designed for the most extreme conditions encountered in professional diving and was regarded as a major technical innovation.
Fast forward to today, the market is abundant with all sorts of dive watches, with varying depth ratings, functions and price points, suited for all types of divers. It may seem like a challenge for Bell & Ross to reintroduce their dive watch on its 20th anniversary, but we are with the designers on this one, by offering the dive watch in their iconic Bell & Ross stainless steel square case. The result is a refreshing piece that looks extraordinarily different from other dive watches, and one that can also double-up as a cockpit instrument or pilot watch.
The BR03-92 Diver
A dive watch is not just one that can withstand the depths and thermal shock under the sea without water intrusion or condensation, but it must also have elements to allow legible time reading at a distance of 25cm in the dark according to ISO 6425 “Divers’ watches” standard.
Despite it not having a huge crown which is common for Flieger/Pilot watches (so that it can be used with gloves) the BR03-92 Diver possesses exceptional legibility with its clearly defined, luminous hands and contrasting indices, fulfilling both the requirements of a dive and a pilot watch, all in a easily recognizable square-shaped case.
The BR03-92 Diver has many “firsts” for the brand. Apart from being the first square diving watch created by the brand, this is the also the first time Bell & Ross has presented a watch in a pelican case as the watch box, complete with a BR velcro watch strap, that you can easily adjust to use for diving over the thick wetsuit. As you will see in our unboxing video below, the watch comes with the BR hex screwdriver as well as an Allen key so that you can perform the change of straps and pin buckle yourself easily.
The case, dial and hands
The first thing that one would notice on this watch would be its sapphire crystal, or rather, the lack of (the look of) it. As mentioned above, a good dive watch requires remarkable legibility and the anti-reflective coating on this piece is commendable. The sapphire crystal does not look like it’s there most of the time, unless under strong reflective lighting conditions. We learnt that the crystal has a thickness of 2.85mm, compared to 1.50mm on the classic steel BR 03-92 for improved water resistance.
The black matte dial shows maximum contrast with its glossy metal indices filled with white Superluminova, which once again, adds to making it easy to tell the time.
Another positive feature on this piece would be the hour hand, easily distinguishable by its bright orange hue, drawing the wearer’s attention to it at the quickest glance. Both the minute and second hands contain white Superluminova, vital for calculating dive time when in the depths of the sea.
The BR03-92 Diver has a brawny presence on its 42mm steel case that comes in satin polished steel, with straight brushed finishing at the sides. We learnt that the case of the BR03-92 Diver has been reinforced with a thicker back of 2.80mm compared to the 1.80mm on the classic steel piece. For its antimagnetic feature, the dive watch is equipped with a soft iron cage inside the case.
The bezel is unidirectional with 60 clicks and feels incredibly sturdy with a good degree of resistance to rotate in order to prevent accidental rotation and incorrect setting. To us, the 3mm-wide black aluminum insert is at an impeccable size without looking over-imposing, allowing this dive watch to be worn with formal office wear.
The watch comes with the familiar B&R steel signed crown but this time, it has a rubber crown insert, as well as a crown guard, contributing to the slew of safety features on the watch.
In the heart of the BR03-92 Diver lies the automatic BR-CAL302 movement which is based on the Sellita SW300-1. It has a reasonable power reserve of 38 hours, and is functioning at the frequency of 4Hz, 28,800 bph.
Coming from a brand with wealth of experience in the aeronautical, military and maritime fields, the BR03-92 Diver is a trustworthy, functional piece, made to withstand the underwater environment of up to 300m. Even if it’s used by a desk diver, one can easily appreciate it being legible, practical and most importantly, having unique aesthetics as a dive watch in the distinctive square shape case. It can also be regarded as a cockpit instrument watch, akin to the classic steel version, only this time with additional dive features.
In case you missed it, here’s the unboxing video that we shared last week so that you will know what else to expect, apart from the timepiece:
Technical Specifications and Price
Reference: BR 03-92 Diver
Movement: BR-CAL. 302 Automatic mechanical
Case: 42mm stainless steel
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating steel bezel with 60-minute scale and black anodised insert
Dial: Black, with metal applique skeleton Superluminova-filled numerals and indices.
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Straps: 1 x woven black rubber and 1 x ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric, with a stainless steel “BR” signed pin buckle.
Lug width: 24mm
WR: 300 metres
RRP including GST: S$5,300
For more information on the BR03-92 Diver, visit bellross.com