Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver: A square diving watch for the stylish ocean explorer
If you are a diving watch enthusiast or if you are a diver, professional or otherwise, this watch will make you stand out from the pack, even at a distance.
As one of the few watchmakers in the business of regularly pushing out form or shaped watches, Bell & Ross occupies a specific niche. However, even with such an iconic shape, which you can see here, the firm’s first proper diving watch in 1997 was round. This is simply because one needs a unidirectional rotating bezel, among other things, for a true diving watch. There are many other famous names with famous shapes in watchmaking conforming to the pressure of the tool watch requirements in their own offerings, though we won’t name them to avoid making unfair comparisons.
For Bell & Ross though, it seems conformity was merely a passing phase because the BR 03-92 sports the “circle within a square” shape that defines Bell & Ross today, and yet it manages to meet the stringent requirements of ISO 6425 to qualify as a diving watch. Yes, naming conventions are fuzzy in watchmaking but only watches built to specifications of ISO 6425 can be called diving watches.
Given that BR 03-92 is a diving watch, let us look at the specifications here: it is water-resistant to 300 metres, and stands up to shocks, magnetism, salt water, temperature extremes and other professional requirements. Impressively, the watch is properly certified so you don’t just have to take the brand at its word. In the interest of reliability and performance, Bell & Ross is going with its standard automatic calibre BR-CAL.302, based on the reliable Selita SW300; the movement is protected here by a soft iron inner case, which is what makes it anti-magnetic.
The water-resistance here is the piece de resistance for Bell & Ross as the best it has managed with the square case is 100 metres; the BR 03-92 has three times that resistance. Looking at the case as we did at BaselWorld, this one is significantly thicker than the BR 03-92 Steel and such. Bell & Ross says this increased heft comes from a very thick steel caseback (2.8mm) and sapphire crystal (2.85mm). This compares with a caseback of 1.8mm and sapphire crystal of 1.5mm in the regular BR 03-92 Steel. Of course, that sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating to protect against glare and keep the dial visible. Speaking of which, the dial and its markers are certified to be visible in the dark from 25cm, with the hour, minutes and seconds all bearing different coloured Super-Luminova coatings.
All in all, the aesthetics and performance of the watch combined make it worth serious consideration. If nothing else, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 is exciting because it is a truly unusual timekeeper, because of its shape. If you are a diving watch enthusiast or if you are a diver, professional or otherwise, this watch will make you stand out from the pack, even at a distance. That sort of cachet is nigh impossible to achieve and we salute Bell & Ross for its courage.
- Movement Self-winding calibre BR-CAL.302 with date; 38-hour power reserve
- Case 42mm in steel, with unidirectional rotating bezel in steel as well as anodized alunimium insert; water resistant to 300m
- Strap Woven black rubber and ultra resilient black synthetic fabric