By James Phang
Bell & Ross has been known for its ruggedness and strong statements through its iconic square timepiece – the BR01. For Baselworld 2016, Bell & Ross steps up its game again through its military inspiration, with two new ceramic watches designed to cater to air forces operating in warm countries. The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Desert Type is a 3-hander with date while the Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Desert Type, is a chronograph with bi-compax layout.
The new Desert Type timepieces by Bell & Ross will be encased in the BR 03 shape (a smaller version of the square-shaped, on-board instrument-like case). In line with its moniker “Desert Type”, Bell & Ross has applied a camouflage style to its iconic model which stays true to its aviation and military concept. Both BR 03-92 Desert Type and BR 03-94 Desert Type chronograph sport a classic black PVD 42mm ceramic case and the dials are sand-colored with black indexes and inscriptions. It achieves two purposes, for the matte and furtive aspect, as well as strong(er) resistance to wear and scratches. Both models come with 2 straps, a sand-colored leather strap and a black ultra-resistant fabric strap which can be switched around for a darker look. As always with Bell & Ross, legibility and ease of use are top priorities as these watches are designed with military personnel in mind – and have been known to be used on field by certain special forces (lucky them!). All the indications perfectly contrast with the sand-colored dial. The hands, with their aviation shape, are coated in black but are still luminous during darker conditions.
The main novelty of the BR 03-92 and BR 03-94 Desert Type is the use of a sandwich dial, which has been perceived as the ideal military construction and is most well-known to consumers through Panerai’s timepieces. Formed by two overlapping inserts, the beige upper section is cut away around the numerals and indices, revealing the black photo-luminescent coating covering the lower insert. This black and sand-colored contrast provides optimal reading of the dial during the daytime, as well as during nighttime as all the hollows will reveal the luminescent numerals and indexes.
Both the BR 03-92 and BR 03-94 Desert Type are equipped with modified ETA automatic movements and feature a date window at the 4h30min mark, with an extra chronograph function on the BR 03-94 Desert Type (which displays a small second at 3 and a 30-minute counter at 9).
The BR 03-92 Desert Type is priced at USD 4,300 while the BR 03-94 Desert Type Chronograph is priced at USD 6,000. For more info, please visit bellross.com
JAMES PHANG – CONTRIBUTING WRITER
James Phang is a young watch enthusiast from Singapore and is a self-professed fanatic of independent brands for their unique avant-garde designs. Some of his favorite brands include MB&F, Urwerk, Romain Jerome, Sarpaneva, Peter Speake-Marin and Azimuth. His love for art extends out to all things handmade, and he has made it his personal mission to find the best handmade straps and buckles worldwide for his humble collection. Read his articles here