Review: new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver White

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Bell & Ross releases a new addition to their popular Diver lineup with a white dial version. Here is our hands on comprehensive review of the BR 03-92 Diver White.

Bell & Ross’ diver watch history is a rather interesting one. Way back in 1997, they launched the Hydromax. It had a round case, and was their first diving watch, and is rated to a depth rating of 11,100m. We missed mention of the Hydromax in our Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep article. Unlike the Rolex and Omega, the Hydromax was not tested in the field to this depth. Like the Sinn EZM2 Hydro which is also not field tested, it uses a quartz movement filled with oil. In the Hydromax, this is a mineral oil called Hydroil and in the Sinn, it is a silicon oil. The unlimited depth capability takes advantage of the fact that liquids are uncompressible, and thus is able to withstand any pressure. Also, no helium escape valve is required, as the gas is not solvent in either fluid.

In 2007, Bell & Ross introduced the BR 02 Diver, which had a tonneau shaped case, and in 2017, the squared case of the BR 03 Diver appeared.

The new BR 03-92 Diver White.

The Bell & Ross BR-03 Diver lineup is one which is quite accomplished. The lineup is extensive, currently with 10 models in the catalog, ranging from steel to ceramic to bronze cases. We have covered most of the series in detailed writeups here:

And now the BR 03-92 Diver White, with a pure white dial, inspired by the ice and snow.

Prices have remained largely unchanged over the years where the BR 03-92 Diver has been introduced. In 2017, the retail was SGD 5,300, and this latest release is set at SGD 5,600.

Review: new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver White

The retail price of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver White is set at SGD 5,600 inclusive of GST/ EUR 3,800.

Bell & Ross’s design inspiration and intention is for the new BR 03-92 Diver White to set out and discover icy waters and icebergs. Waterproof and resistant, the watch invites you to dive under the ice floes.

The case, dial and hands

The case is the standard BR 03-92 Diver case. Square with a round bezel. On first blush, this combinations sounds like its going to look like an odd duckling. But when seeing and handling the watch, it is anything but. However, you already know that, as it is the exact same case as has been used in all the other BR 03 Divers before. Though, it may interesting to explore why this is so. Might we suggest that this is possibly due to a couple of reasons, chief of which is the very cleverly chosen proportions. The size of the bezel vis a vis the thickness of the square case is well chosen, that it looks quite beautiful. The bezel is, of course, unidirectional to meet the requirements of the ISO 6425, and has a nice feel to the 60 click ratchet. The crown is equipped with a screw down mechanism, and is protected with rather large shoulders in steel which are held in place by two screws. The crown itself is rubber clad and is embossed with the “&” Bell & Ross logo.

The finishing chosen for the exterior is also equally well made. The top surface of the rounded square case is in a high polish. In the pictures we have taken, the mirror finish reflects the corrugation of the bezel and looks like striations on the surface. The edge is chamfered, also in a high polish. The four screws which hold the top plate in place are also in high polish, and secured in countersunk and high polished sloped sides. The case middle is finished in a straight graining, and looks matte. What is interesting is that the graining is not along the long edge, but along the thickness of the side, going from top to bottom. A thick 2.85mm sapphire glass with excellent anti-reflection coating is used. As can is evident on the photographs, the glass is almost invisible, and glare is almost impossible to induce except under extreme lighting conditions.

The dial is a model of simplicity and clarity. An important feature of a dive watch, where legibility of a watch can be a matter of life and death. Though these days, this is not so critical, as most divers will use multiple redundant computers to ensure that failure of one system is not the end of the world. But still, a diver watch must be highly legible. And the BR-03 Diver White is a superb exemplar. The dial base is white. To be exact, Bell & Ross calls this an opalescent silver in subtle tones, and the dial’s matte surface has been metallised, creating iridescent reflections across the piece. “The refined finish gives the watch a sense of nobility. It reflects our top-of-the-range quality and finesse of the work,” says Bruno Belamich, Creative Director and co-founder of Bell & Ross. The overall effect is not much different to looking at the surface of freshly fallen snow – a light crispiness, with said iridescent glow over the pure white base.

The markers are appliqué, and huge. They have a black border and generously filled with SuperLuminova. The chapter ring for the minute markers are inclined like the sides of a velodrome, and clearly marked in black transfer print over the pure whit dial surface. The hands are equally large, and also infilled with lume. And of course, it is no surprise that the watch glows in the dark in a superbly legible way.

The case is rated to a depth rating of 300m, and feels rather robust and hefty on the wrist without feeling heavy. Within the thick case, is a soft iron cage which provides the movement with antimagnetic properties. The watch is delivered in a water proof Pelican case, as with the other BR-03 Diver timepieces.

The movement

The BR 03-92 Diver White is equipped with the same BR-CAL 302. This is a well proven movement based on the ubiquitous Sellita SW300-1. Power reserve is a reasonable 38 hours, running at 28,800 bph. Perhaps we might have wished for a longer power reserve, especially these days where 60 hours may seem to be the norm for modern movements. But the caliber is known to be robust, and have been proven to be excellent in timekeeping and ruggedness in multiple other watches, including the entire lineup of the BR 03 Diver series.

A sapphire glass display back is not fitted, and the back plate is held with the same style as the front – with four polished screws which sit flush in their countersunk and polished holes. The plate has chamfered sides which are in a high polish, and a reinforced backing to ensure that it is rigid enough for the 30ATM rating. The center of the back plate features a cartouche in straight graining, with engraved verbiage.

The competitive landscape

Perhaps we may be excused for the brevity of this section. Other than internal family competitors, we don’t know of another diver watch which has a square case. In fact, other than the original Omega Marine in 1932, square or rectangular cases are not used in diving watches. Almost all diver watches have round or tonneau shaped cases.

Bell & Ross promotional photograph, showing a diver with the BR-03 Diver White emerging from a hole in the ice.

Concluding thoughts

The BR 03-92 Diver White joins the existing Bell & Ross lineup. Immaculately white, and looking pristine, the version uses the same iconic BR 01’s rounded square case, but in a water proof underwater enclosure The design is based on a watchmaker’s interpretation of an aircraft’s dashboard. And the use of a square case is unusual for a dive watch, the other BR Divers notwithstanding. So the case shape gives the watch a distinctive personality.

On the wrist, the 42mm square case which is 12mm thick feels just about right. The lugs are short and wraps around the wrist, making wearing the watch quite comfortable. And it is a very handsome watch suitable for diving. Either in the icy depths of lakes and oceans, or in the city as part of an urban warrior’s uniform.

For more information, please see the official Bell & Ross site for the BR 03-92 Diver White.

Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver White Specifications

REF. BR0392-D-WH-ST/SRB

Movement: BR-CAL.302. Automatic mechanical. Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating.
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds and date. Water-resistance: 300 metres.
Case: 42 mm wide. 12.05 mm thick. Satin-finished and polished steel. Unidirectional rotating steel bezel with 60-minute scale and black anodised aluminium insert. Screw-down crown. Crown guard.
Strap: woven black rubber and ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric.
Dial: silver opaline. Applique indices with Super-LumiNova® inserts. Skeletonised applique Super-LumiNova®-filled hour, minute and seconds hands.
Buckle: pin. Satin-finished and polished steel.

Also new: Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze

In a related news, Bell & Ross also released a new BR 03-92 Bronze with a brown dial as an extension to the Diver Bronze series. What is new is the colour of the dial, a deep, chocolate brown. We have not had the opportunity to handle and see the watch yet, but the photographs released looks like this is a winning combination – the warm hues of the bronze case with the chocolaty brown dial.

Retail price: SGD 6,600/ Euros 4,500 and is a limited edition of 999 pieces. For more information on the Diver Brown Bronze, please see this link here.

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