Modern diving watches are often inspired by the horological greats of the past, with more than a few paying homage to the vintage aesthetic of the 1960s. In stark contrast, Bell & Ross’ BR 03-92 Diver collection is more than happy to follow its own path, adhering to the lessons of the past but not kowtowing to bygone design principles. The latest addition to the line-up is the new BR 03-92 Diver Military, which adds an army fatigue colour to the range for a sombre and serious variation
The most notable feature is the case design – the square case was first used on a diver by Bell & Ross in 2017, to fit alongside the rest of their square-cased timepieces. It’s a nice twist on the diving formula which traditionally favours simple round cases. The 42mm width is created from matte black ceramic, a lightweight and durable material that is all but scratchproof, making it ideal for harsh environments. The ceramic is supported by both steel and iron internal structures that helps boost the watch’s physical and magnetic resistance.
Nestled at the centre of the square is the olive drab dial that is not dissimilar to the khaki tone of military fatigues. Although, that kind of sandy colour is more traditionally considered a desert camo, such as on the recent IWC ‘Top Gun’ Mojave edition, so its use on a diver seems a little out of place. However, the argument can be made that it’s a perfectly suitable drab camo for beach and coastal areas, and underwater, with the absence of light, it will darken into a suitable grey/black tone. So ultimately it does make sense on this watch and it looks great.
Something that is well established is the diving pedigree of the BR 03-92, with a solid 300m depth resistance, unidirectional rotating bezel with dive timer and screw-down crown with guards. I would be interested to find out what impact the square case has on a feature like the bezel, because classic divers typically try to make rotation as easy as possible, even going so far as having oversized grips. In contrast, this watch has relatively fine fluting on the edge of the bezel and the case might make gripping it even harder. I doubt it’s a problem, but it’s something worth considering if you regularly complete dives with multiple decompression stages.
Beyond doubt, however, is the extreme legibility of the dial. It has been optimised for both light and dark conditions. The dial is matte to prevent reflections and the 2.85mm thick sapphire crystal has been given an anti-reflective coating. The applied indices are coated in green lume, providing reliable luminescence in low light conditions while also standing out with a slightly off-white colour in the light. The hands are also lumed in the same way.
Housed inside is the BR-CAL.302, an automatic calibre based on the Sellita SW300-1 with an approximate power reserve of 38-hours which is not outstanding but adequate enough. These days it feels like 42-hours should be the minimum for a serious timepiece, especially one aimed at professionals.
Emphasising the military theme are the straps, a woven black rubber option and a synthetic fabric one in matching drab. The watch is also provided in a water-resistant PELICAN® box. At £3,990, the BR 03-92 Diver Military is on the pricier side of the collection, however that makes sense as it is limited to 999 pieces, making it fairly exclusive.
Price & Specs:
Model: Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Military
Case/Dial: 42mm diameter, matt black ceramic case, khaki dial
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: In-house BR-CAL.302, automatic, 25 jewels
Power reserve: 38h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Woven black rubber and ultra-resilient khaki synthetic fabric
Price/availability: £3,990, limited to 999 pieces
More details at Bell & Ross.