WorldTempus met Fabergé, Bell & Ross, Montblanc, Ateliers Louis Moinet, Zenith and Patek Philippe at the Monaco Yacht Show last September, on the occasion of the first stage of the world tour showcasing the 50 unique watches created for Only Watch 2017. The final stage of the exhibition will be Geneva, where the watches can be seen from 9 to 11 November at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, just before the auction which will take place on November 11, in Geneva.
The steely grey lines of the 3Hz manually-wound BR-CAL.288 movement architecture cast a nicely skeletonized, industrial comparison against all the translucent elements on the eye – although the strap is translucent rubber, which should make for some interesting wrist shots. Part of the idea, aside from the novelty itself of a totally transparent case, is that the movement and even the screws holding the case together are observable from about every angle. The only region of the watch that isn’t fully see-through is that the massive mainspring barrel itself, which provides 100 hours of power reserve, and is tucked conveniently behind the luminous hour and minute hands at 12:00, maintaining some level of legibility for timekeeping.In keeping with the more exclusive customs of the Experimental collection, only eight pieces of the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire are generated. Launched in 2017, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver isn’t the brand’s first dive watch, but it is the very first dive watch in their iconic square instance. It is, in my estimation, a great success in balancing various design components and themes in addition to boldness and wearability. “Balance” is a phrase which I kept returning to if considering different facets of this Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver. The result is a solid, elegant dive watch having a look and personality quite unlike any other I know of, and it’s just plain fun to wear.
Water-resistance is often understood by customers as a shorthand for or method of measuring general durability. The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver is graded to 300m and meets all of the other ISO dive watch specifications, and also the brand highlights how those specifications influenced the design.Considering that many dive watches are primarily used now to tell the time on dry land, I have often felt that the deemphasized hour hands found on many are kind of a sacrifice of real-life usability for the sake of being taken seriously as a “genuine” diver. Part of the ISO standards, however, stipulate that the minute hand should be more legible than the hour hand because the minutes are somewhat more critical when diving. For the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver, legibility isn’t hampered by the orange lume for the hour hand, but it is really deemphasized in the dark with a (much) fainter shine whilst every thing else (hands and markers) glows brightly green using Super-LumiNova. Also recognizable — and demanded for dive watch specifications — is the unidirectional rotating bezel. It is a 60-click one in the case of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver having an aluminum fit, and it’s slightly stiff to turn but with a good sound and feel. Bell & Ross also notes the BR 03-92 Diver’s shock immunity to professional specs, and the thicker caseback and gentle iron cage help make the watch anti-magnetic into ISO 764 criteria. The angular crown guards are another durability-emphasizing feature. While Bell & Ross has not provided the official measurements, because of dive watch, this will be considerably thicker than other BR 03 cases together with the prominent bezel, thicker caseback, and thicker sapphire crystal. And it is about as heavy as it looks. There is no sensible reason that the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver case needs to be square, but because it works so well in the end, there’s also no reason it shouldn’t be, right?