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Bell & Ross BR03 : Back in the Cockpit

Le 1 December 2015

A little throwback to an emblematic French model in the “Time Instruments” department: The BR03.

After our last article about the WW1 Argentium, a watch with vintage inspirations that definitely wooed us, many of you asked us to return to the cockpit with a more emblematic model of the brand. We have honored your request and now present to you the BR03 92 in its steel casing and in its natural habitat.

Bienvenido a Colombia
Olaya Herrera de Medellin Airport
The Cessna 303 Crusader is ready for takeoff and the 4×4’s are rushing around the tarmac.

In order to be sure that the next commercial flight is still on schedule, he looks at his watch, his trusty time­keeper that comes straight from the cockpit : it’s a steel encased BR­03, with a black Velcro band. They go way back. And yet, countless new adventures are on the horizon. It’s a simple instrument, efficient, legible, and precise. It’s all he needs.

Bell & Ross BR03

We’re all familiar with it. Some love it, others not so much. Because I’m always looking for efficiency and good legibility, I belong to the first category. What is more legitimate in terms of clarity and tool­watch, than using the same designs and technical specs as real navigational instruments ? Bell & Ross understands this by making only minimal adjustments in order to turn it into a wristwatch, and keeping the essence of this instrument untouched. The brand, by the way, owes its success to this model, beginning with the BR01.

Regarding the movement, it’s an ETA 2892, a time­tested and trusted friend that has proven itself before. Certain aficionados may tend to criticize this movement, too “widespread” and “basic” according to them, but I would like to remind them of the utilitarian purpose of this BR03 and trustworthiness of an ETA 2892. Once again, Bell & Ross never had the intention of coming across as an “in­house” reference with this model, but as a visionary assembler with watchmaker design and realization specifics. We’re of course also drawn to the transparency and authenticity of the brand.

That’s a good question to ask ourselves actually: ​why do we like it so much ?​ Well, just like the brand itself, this watch knows its boundaries and doesn’t go over the top. Let me explain : despite its high-­end Swiss manufacture, it remains minimalist and utilitarian. It’s a tool which doesn’t pretend to be fancy, but focuses on its functionality. That’s the beauty of it. Arabic numerals and white watch hands on a black watch face for perfect legibility. The screw heads are there on a large square satin­finished steel casing, with a few discreet polishing touches on the edges and the bezel. It’s all that is needed to look great on a fighter pilot’s wrist, or to complement your navy blue diner suit at that black tie event.

Editor’s note :
“Your male guests will thus subtly understand that you’re not here to play the ‘who has the fanciest three­hand watch game’, quite the contrary.
You’ll leave that reward to Lionel and his Piaget Altiplano. Good for him.”

Bell & Ross BR03

Anja though, that pretty Austrian photographer, understood your subliminal message. You’re a practical man, preferring the thrill of adventure to life in society, even though you’re an expert of its codes. She understands that and she’s ready… Ready, well, for the soirée to end blissfully, and even though you didn’t fly here you’ll be careful not to park your BMW 1200GS too close to the castle. However, you can at least pretend to be flying it, when you both slip out, acting on a sudden impulse, towards new adventures…

Bell & Ross BR03