Only one word comes to mind when describing the Bell & Ross BR03, and that is ‘iconic’. The legendary “circle within a square, held by four screws” that is reminiscent of the silhouette of cockpit clocks is Bell & Ross.
Considering the circle within a square’s significance to the brand’s identity – and as the ultimate reference in the field of aviation watches – even the most minor update is a monumental decision. However, as the industry responds to collectors’ desires for smaller cases, icons need refining.
Introducing the BR 03 41mm collection.
In refinement comes evolution and the BR 03 41mm collection is exceptionally loyal to its predecessors, making subtle but powerful changes.
First introduced in 2005, the BR 01 was conceptualised with one core design inspiration: to turn an aircraft cockpit into a pilot watch which could offer great legibility, accuracy and functionality. While it remains to be, arguably, the brand’s most important release, the 46mm size made it unsuitable for many wrists.
In 2006, the BR03 was launched in response to the 46mm BR01, offering the same design theme in a 42mm case. Since the launch of the BR03, over 150 iterations of the model have been developed, however, the design has only been refined once before – until now.
The BR03 41mm collection marks the first design refinement in almost a decade, which includes the addition of a new automatic movement: the BR-CAL.302 calibre with a 54-hour power reserve, and 100m of water resistance.
Enhanced bevels frame the newly sized case and bezel, accentuated by newly rounded square corners, up half a millimetre to convey fluidity. The hour hand has been slimmed down for a more sophisticated appearance, as have the faceted rubber straps: reduced in width from 33mm to 32mm at the lugs and tapering to 22mm, down from 24mm.
Shavings of 1mm or less across the lugs, buckle pin and stepped rubber strap literally redefine ‘refinement’. Such reserved changes showcase how important pedigree and attention to detail is to Bell & Ross.
Finally, a new naming convention makes its debut on the dial – the end of dash ‘92’ or ‘94’ to classify the function – replaced with a letter. ‘A’ in the case of automatic.
In this new 41mm format, the BR03 collection explores 3 watches in black ceramic cases: Black Matte, Phantom and Heritage; and three in polished steel: Black Steel, Blue Steel and Golden Heritage. Additionally, there’s an on-trend ‘Copper’ dial in steel (above) and, my personal favourite, khaki-coloured ‘Military Ceramic’ in black with matching khaki rubber strap will also be offered.
The new Bell & Ross BR 03 41mm collection is priced at $5,300 for the Black and Blue Steel, $5,700 for the Golden Heritage and $5,700 for the Copper, both on steel. The ceramic models command a slight premium priced at $6,000 for the Black Matte, $6,300 for the Heritage and $6,500 for the Military and Phantom references.
Watches will be available from September 7, 2023.
This article is sponsored by Bell & Ross. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.