Great and Small

by Charmian Leong
07 Sep 2023

Bell & Ross' popular pilot’s watch receives a tiny update with a big impact.

Born from a desire to create tough, functional watches inspired by all things military, Bell & Ross’ time-telling “Instruments” have captivated the market with designs lifted from aircraft dashboard instruments. Since the introduction of the BR 01 in 2005, the signature template of a round dial inside a square case secured by four exposed screws has been the brand’s calling card.

The BR 01 was a burly thing with its hulking case size of 46mm, so the BR 03 soon joined the family as a downsized option in 2006, offering a more wearable 42mm diameter case. However, this year sees the BR 03 in its smallest incarnation yet, shrinking the dimensions by a further 1mm to appeal to an even wider fanbase.

In watchmaking, tweaking the size of an iconic design is a delicate matter where every millimeter counts. The lugs have been slimmed down from 4.5mm to 4mm, and the straps are now also narrower to accommodate the new proportions. As a result, long-time fans of the standard BR 03 models will likely see and feel the difference immediately.

BR 03 Black Steel
BR 03 Golden Heritage

The new collection comprises eight references in a variety of styles, but that still “preserve the identity that has made the BR 03 so successful, while adapting it to the new times and maintain its allure,” according to co-founder and Creative Director Bruno Belamich. There are three classic models with black ceramic cases: The Black Matte, with its contrasting white and black dial, the all-black Phantom, and the Heritage, with sand-colored hands and indexes. The three references with polished steel cases are the Black Steel, Blue Steel, and Golden Heritage, which feature black, blue sunray, and brown sunray dials respectively.

BR 03 Military

Adding a little more aesthetic flair are the BR 03 Copper with its galvanized dial enhanced by engraved black numerals and blue metallic hands for a retro twist, and the BR 03 **** Ceramic, which leans hard(er) into the martial influence with a black ceramic case and khaki dial. All watches come with 100m of water resistance.

The only thing that didn’t get reduced with the new collection is the movement’s power reserve. In fact, the automatic BR-CAL.302 has received a bump in autonomy from 42 hours to 54 hours so you can rest easy for about two days.

BR 03 Heritage

The new BR 03 watches showcase style, functionality, and excellent readability, serving as a continued testament to Bell & Ross’ expertise in the realm of professional wrist-worn instruments.

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