When one thinks of diving watches, the Omega Seamaster, the Rolex Deepsea or Seiko Prospex are names that immediately come to mind. Bell & Ross, on the other hand, has always been a brand associated with aviation. Just recently, the company rubber stamped this identity by launching its very own plane.
It’s an easy misconception to have. In fact, many have forgotten that Bell & Ross proved themselves as pioneers of diving timepieces when they developed the Hydromax in 1997. This underwater instrument was one of the most water-resistant watches to be commercialised for the public, capable of resisting a depth of 11,100 meters. The team had developed an innovative case filled with transparent fluorinated oil, which also stopped any underwater reflections, as well as fitting it with a quartz movement.
The team didn’t stop there. In 2002, they released the Diver 300, an automatic movement housed in a round vintage case and met all the technical and aesthetic requirements of an authentic, professional diving watch. Then, in 2007, came the BR02 collection, specifically designed for underwater environment, instantly recognisable thanks to its tonneau-shaped case, a helium decompression valve and an ultra-resilient domed sapphire crystal. Finally, 10 years later in 2017, Bell & Ross introduced the first square diving watch, the BR03-92 Diver.
Bell & Ross has had a long-standing relationship with the military and armed forces; so regardless of whether they are soaring in the skies or swimming in the deep blue, their watches are designed with the aim of withstanding the most extreme of conditions.
In order to be recognised as a true professional diving watch, a timepiece has to meet the ISO 6425 standard, which lists some very precise technical criteria. For example, it has to be water-resistant to a minimum depth of 100 metres, must have anti-shock and anti-magnetic protection and there must be a presence of a unidirectional rotating bezel with a graduated scale, an operation indicator and luminescent markers.
During a dive, the legibility of the watch’s indications is critical, and may even be lifesaving. As a result, the indices must be easily legible at a distance of 25 cm in the dark. The BR03-92 goes further than the minimum requirement, featuring water-resistance up to 300 metres.
BR03-92 Diver Blue
Two new additions to the BR03-92 have turned this diving timepiece into a true collection. The BR03-92 Diver Blue is a sporty aesthetic but doesn’t spare on technicality. It seeks to achieve maximum legibility for divers, with indices coated in White SuperLuminova® and a yellow hour hand. Underwater, colours vanish one after the other due to the loss of light intensity. This yellow hour hand fades away to give precedence to the minute hand, which must be visible to ensure the diver’s safety.
BR03-92 Diver Bronze
Evoking historical roots of underwater exploration this BR03-92 has its case and bezel made from bronze, a material that harks back to the diving helmets of old. The tribute to the origins of underwater adventures is proudly displayed on the back of the case in an elegant engraving. The aged leather strap confirms the watch’s authentic vintage spirit, but can be replaced with a rubber strap for use while diving. Boasting exceptional technical and aesthetic qualities, this model will only be issued as a limited edition of 999 pieces; truly a collector’s item.