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Bell & Ross Redesign BR 03 Diver Collection Featuring Improved Movement

Bell & Ross BR03 Diver Blue Steel

I think it’s fair to say that from around 2020-2023, Bell & Ross faced a consistent piece of criticism from the watch enthusiast community – the quality of their movements was not in line with their prices. However, in 2023 Bell & Ross began to make a concerted effort to tackle this issue with a sweeping redesign to the core BR 03 collection. Now, they’re continuing this series of updates by revamping the Bell & Ross BR 03 Diver range with five new references.

Bell & Ross BR03 Diver Black Steel
Bell & Ross BR03 Diver Matte Black Ceramic

As we’re talking about an updated collection, it’s useful to have a baseline reference in the old style to compare and contrast the new models to. For that, we can turn to the BR 03-92 White Bronze launched last year. That watch has a 42mm diameter case with 300m water resistance and all five of the new references maintain those specifications, although the new watches are split between three steel models and two ceramic editions.

Bell & Ross BR03 Diver Black Matte Ceramic

Ceramic is really important to this update because the hardwearing, scratch resistant material actually features across all five of the new BR 03 Divers. That’s because all of them feature ceramic insert bezels matched to the colour of the dials in the case of the steel models or matched to the colour of the case in the full ceramic editions. It’s a significant update in durability compared to the aluminium inserts of their predecessors, plus the colour will never fade so the bezel will remain intact and legible after plenty of wear.

Bell & Ross BR03 Diver Blue Steel

Similarly, focussing in on the dials, a lot of the updates are to do with improving the legibility. Most notably the hands have been completely redesigned. Gone are the stepped, facetted hands of yore with flat tips and now we have bold and easy to read arrow hands. The newly pointed tips remove any ambiguity as to where they are pointing, which as you would imagine is important when you’re deep below the waves. Bell & Ross also describe it as having a new typography but any changes there are too subtle for my eye to make out without seeing them in the metal.

Bell & Ross BR03 Diver Full Lume Matte Ceramic
Bell & Ross BR03 Diver Full Lume Matte Ceramic

As for colour, the three steel BR 03 Diver models are available with dials in black, blue or white. The ceramic editions then feature either a black dial or a fully luminescent one that falls into B&R’s Full Lum sub-collection. My personal preference leans towards the understated and traditional steel model with black dial, although the Full Lum is very striking. All five are presented with two straps, a rubber number in black or blue and a synthetic fabric strap in black.

Bell & Ross BR03 Diver White Steel

Lastly, but by no means least, we come to the movement. It’s the upgraded BR-CAL.302-1, an automatic movement based on the Sellita SW300-1, with a 54-hour power reserve. It’s a substantial improvement from the 38-hours of the BR 03-92, which helps to justify the £3,800 price of the steel models, as well as the £4,300 black ceramic and £4,700 Full Lum. Ultimately this is a hugely positive step for Bell & Ross, especially as the BR 03 Diver perfectly encapsulates the practical instrument aesthetic and design they’re known for.

Price and Specs:

Model: Bell & Ross BR 03 Diver
Ref: BR03A-D-BL-ST/SRB (black steel), BR03A-D-BL-CE/SRB (black matte), BR03A-D-LM-CE/SRB (full lume), BR03A-D-BLU-ST/SRB (blue steel), BR03A-D-WH-ST/SRB (white steel)
Case: 42mm width, stainless steel or matte black ceramic
Dial: Black, pale blue lume, blue sunray or white
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Bell & Ross calibre BR-CAL.302-1, automatic, 25 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 54h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Woven rubber and additional synthetic fabric strap
Price: £3,800 (steel), £4,300 (matte black ceramic), £4,700 (full lume)

More details at Bell & Ross.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.