Bell & Ross, known for its military-influenced aviator-style watches, launches a new trio of them at the upcoming Baselworld 2016 watch fair: the Bell & Ross BR-03 Desert Type collection, with sand-colored camouflage motifs designed to meet the specifications of air forces operating in hot, arid, desert locales.
The cases of the BR-03 Desert Type models are made of through-colored matte black ceramic, a material prized for its resistance to high temperatures, acidity, corrosion, and erosion, as well as for its light weight, hypoallergenic qualities, and tendency to adapt to the wearer’s body temperature for comfort on the wrist (all important attributes, obviously, for the relatively few wearers of this watch who actually might find themselves stranded in hostile desert conditions). The crystals are made of nonreflective sapphire, and the bezel is secured to the square case by means of four functional screws at the corners — in a style reminiscent of the front-mounted on-board instrument panels in aircraft cockpits — which helps to ensure a water resistance of 100 meters.
The dial has been designed for maximum legibility, with hands and numerals inspired by those on analog aviation counter instruments. It’s composed of two overlapping inserts — a beige top piece featuring cut-out numerals and indices and a bottom piece coated with black photoluminescent paint. This means ideal readability in daylight (when it’s black numerals and indices against the sand-colored dial) as well as in darkness (when the luminous material, which is also used on hour and minute hands shines through the cut-out hour markers).
The “captain” of this desert tactical team is undoubtedly the BR 03-94 (above), an automatic chronograph in a 42-mm case, powered by Swiss-made Caliber BR-CAL.301 (based on the ETA 2894-2). It features a central chronograph seconds hand with a minute track on the flange, a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, and small seconds display at 3 o’clock. The date, as on all the Desert Type models, is in a small round window at 4:30.
There are also two three-hand versions of the watch — the BR 03-92 (above), also in a 42-mm case and equipped with Caliber BR-CAL.302 (modified from the ETA 2892-A2) and the BR S (below), which contains a Swiss-made quartz caliber (BR-CAL.102, with an unspecified base movement) inhabiting a slightly more modest 39-mm case. (Bell & Ross describes it as “suited for smaller wrists and also for women who like to stand out from the crowd.”) All the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Desert Type watches come on beige calfskin leather straps (the 42-mm models are lined with a black synthetic fabric) with pin buckles made of black PVD-coated steel. Prices will be $2,900 for the ladies’ model with quartz movement; $4,300 for the three-hand BR 03-92; and $6,000 for the BR 03-94 chronograph.