The BR 03 family of watches has stood as a cornerstone of the Bell & Ross catalog throughout the years. From Bauhaus-inspired to desert combat-ready, we continually see Bell & Ross build upon the existing concept to create watches that are meant to appeal to a wide range of enthusiasts. More recently, the brand has added the third and latest version, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Black Camo, to their successful line of “camouflage watches.” While it’s true that most Bell & Ross models can appear rather “loud” on the wrist, this one seeks to be, well, a little more covert.
All joking aside, the sheer number of BR 03 models can seem overwhelming for the average watch buyer. Still, I find it entertaining to watch Bell & Ross as they add more styles, incorporate different materials, and attract a diverse audience to their timepieces, all while staying true to their identity. After all, there’s no doubt that the BR 03 line delivers strong brand recognition so it makes sense for them to explore the possibilities offered by the underlying design even if that just means simple aesthetic updates.
The dial of the Bell & Ross Vintage V1-92 Bellytanker is easy and very legible, using applied metal hour mark including Arabic markers at 12, 3, 6, and 9. The hands are stainless steel and full of Super-LumiNova for legibility in low light. A favorite feature of mine present in the two watches is the counter-weight of the seconds hand, which is a simple triangle and seems to be designed to resemble a delta-wing plane. Both the watches include a date window at 4:30 which, to tell the truth, I’m not fond of and believe could have been excluded. Nonetheless, this is a personal preference and as much as date windows extend, this really is nicely done and the date wheel is at the exact same gilt copper color as the dial — no cutting corners with a black date wheel here. A finishing touch is a black minute chapter ring which adds some pop and contrast to the dial of the Bell & Ross Vintage V1-92 Bellytanker.The Bell & Ross Vintage V2-94 Bellytanker chronograph shares a lot of the same features like the palms, the second chapter ring, and date window. The main enhancements here are the two brightly, black sub-dials in 3 and 9 o’clock. The prior shows running seconds and the latter is a 30-minute chronograph counter. Like the chapter ring, the sub-dials add some very nice visual comparison and also help legibility. The sub-dials replace both 3 and 9 hour mark, however, the 12 and 6 Arabic markers remain and assist fill in and balance the dial out visually.
At 42mm wide, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Black Camo features the same dimensions as the rest of the BR 03 watches. In my experience, it’s the most comfortable size for a Bell & Ross and the matte black ceramic case on this one should only serve to enhance wearability due to the material’s lightness and the fact that one doesn’t need to worry about scratching it. As a successor to the two previously released watches in the camouflage sub-collection (the BR 03-92 Phantom and BR 03-92 Commando), this model almost seems to tie in visual elements from both of them while serving as a worthy, final installment in the series.
As I mentioned, everything about this watch is meant to fly under the radar, including the dial itself. It’s entirely composed of, you guessed it, a distinct black and gray camo patchwork pattern. It’s interesting to see how it works with the sandwich layout, which Bell & Ross does very well. The bottom layer is a solid disk of black Super-LumiNova that glows through the numeral cutouts of the top dial layer. Black lume is not bright like C3 or similar variants, of course – as that might give away your position to the enemy.
Together with the large sword hands, which are also coated in black Super-LumiNova, the watch takes that highly legible altimeter-like look the brand is known for… and makes it markedly less legible. We talk a lot about legibility around here, but it seems like to dwell on it for a piece like this would be missing the point. It is what it is. There’s also a date window that they seem to have positioned within one of the darker camo textures for discreet integration.
Inside the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Black Camo is the BR-CAL.302 automatic movement, a variant of the Sellita SW300-1 with 38 hours of power reserve. Other features include a sapphire crystal with AR coating, 100 meters of water resistance, and a stealthy, well-integrated black rubber strap that flows with the rest of the look. For an even more “tactical” look, Bell & Ross includes a synthetic fabric strap, which appears to be secured with a hook-and-loop material (i.e., Velcro), which we’ve seen from the brand before.
I’ve actually been a fan of the Bell & Ross BR 03 series watches for quite some time. They’ve become archetypal for Bell & Ross, and as I mentioned, I’m happy that the brand is still experimenting with the range. While this specific version wouldn’t be my first pick (I still love the Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT) I think the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Black Camo will be popular in certain circles, though it might be more destined to see action in the club than on the battlefield. The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Black Camo will retail for a price of $3,800. bellross.com