Comparatively speaking, Bell & Ross is still a newer face in the contemporary watch industry. Launched in 1992, right in the middle of the so-called Revival Years of the mechanical wristwatch, the company has managed to establish a strong following and recognisable look thanks to its trademark “square-in-circle” design that is directly inspired by the analog tools found in the dashboards of military airplanes. For its first release of 2019, Bell & Ross has announced a limited edition timepiece that continues to explore the military-grade motif with a light shined on the aesthetics of navigation.
The aptly-named BR 03-92 Bi-Compass uses the design of a vintage radio compass as its distinguishing feature. The layout of the dial is separated into a trio of concentric circles. The innermost zone features a printed triangle coated in blue-green Super-LumiNova that functions as the watch’s hour hand. As time passes, this part of the dial will actually rotate to indicate the changing hour. The middle area features printed hour numerals and indexes in Bell & Ross’ recognisable style in the same blue-green colour. There’s also a colour-matched date aperture tucked away at 4:30 on this ring.
A steep rehaut with dashes for seconds/minutes separates the middle zone from the final level. This area features Arabic numerals at every 10 second/minute marker and the Bell & Ross logo at 12 o’clock. The dashes on the rehaut and markers on this upper-level as well as the date aperture at 4:30 feature a different colour Super-LumiNova application in off-white that matches both the minutes and seconds hand. Bell & Ross says that this colour scheme is similar to the one used on U.S. Navy avionic instruments. To top it all off, the dial and case are made of black matte ceramic that offers strong anti-glare properties.
Although it boasts no true navigational function, the BR 03-92 Bi-Compass took quite a bit of development for Bell & Ross’ R&D team. The brand had to construct an ultra-light disc for the interior zone to ensure that neither the power reserve nor the accuracy of the watch was affected.
Inside the 42 mm by 42 mm case is the automatic BR-CAL.302, based on a Sellita SW 300-1, with a 38-hour power reserve. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters and comes with both a black rubber and a black synthetic fabric strap.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Bi-Compass is limited to 999 pieces and is priced at $3,900. It will be available starting in April.