Fans of Bell & Ross watches are by now familiar with the aircraft dashboard instruments that inspire the timepieces in its Instrument collection like the BR 03-92 revealed shortly before Baselworld 2019. For this year’s most buzz-worthy new release, however, the Swiss brand looked beyond the cockpit instruments and took its design cues from an iconic piece of aviator apparel, the famous MA-1 flight jacket adopted by the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s. Here’s a look at the new BR 03-92 MA-1, limited to 999 pieces.
Bell & Ross describes its BR 03-92 model, with its familiar square case and large, legible Arabic numerals, as its “purest” pilot watch, and thus the ideal stage upon which to pay tribute to the MA-1 “bomber,” whose parachute-derived nylon shell and reversible khaki green and orange design took it from utilitarian military gear in the ’50s to a stylish fashion statement in the ’70s. The 42-mm case is made of dark khaki-colored ceramic, a lightweight and scratch-resistant material. The dial, also khaki-colored, is in the “sandwich” style with two superimposed metal plates, the lower one coated with orange Super-LumiNova that shines through the stenciled, cut-out numerals and indices in the upper layer. The luminous substance also coats the hour and minute hands. Orange, of course, is a color long associated with the military and aviation, and the combo of khaki and orange is a direct reference to the MA-1 jacket.
The strap, made of calfskin leather and fastening to the wrist with a gunmetal-colored PVD steel pin buckle, continues the theme. Like the jacket, it is dark khaki on its top layer (even the stitching is in the same color, for a total camouflage effect) and orange on its lining, and reversible. For a pilot in distress, putting the orange layer on the outside served as a beacon for Search and Rescue teams; for the wearer of this watch, it essentially allows you to wear it with two totally distinctive looks.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1 is powered by the automatic BR-CAL.302, based on the tried-and-true Sellita SW.300-1, which offers a 28,800-vph frequency and a 38-hour power reserve. Priced at $3,900, it will be available at retail by Summer 2019.