Vogue Watches

Bell & Ross Welcomes Another Bronze-Clad Diver Into The Fold

While it might be more known for its unconventional square case design on its divers, this ain’t Bell & Ross’ first rodeo when it comes to working with bronze. In attempts to further connect with diving heritage and history, the brand introduced its first bronze dive watch back in 2018 and has returned to the material every now and again since that first exploration – often in the form of a limited production run. Now, Bell & Ross continues its love affair with bronze, releasing its latest limited edition BR-03-92 diver in a new emerald green and black colorway.
Despite still being a decently underutilized material in the watch world, bronze has been around a long, long time – like 2000 years BCE long. Primarily composed of copper and known for its resistance to the elements, bronze was a natural choice to craft early maritime-oriented tools, including old-school diving helmets – which just so happens to be engraved on the stainless steel caseback of this watch. Quite the logical fit for a dive-centric tool watch, no?

The calling card of bronze in the modern watchmaking context is its ability to be shaped by the elements and lifestyle of its wearer, taking on a patina over time. Because of the natural oxidation process of the copper elements, this watch will begin to take on brown and green tones as it ages. This watch will also look different depending upon the context you subject it to – if you are wearing this thing frequently by the sea and underwater, it will age differently than if you spend most of your time in the city. Additionally, you have the option to polish the case to your liking, allowing you to lean into its ability to shine almost like gold. The bronze that Bell & Ross has used for this BR-03-92 is composed of 92% copper and 8% tin, which is intended to make it appear very similar in its hue to the bronze used on early sailboat fittings.

If you are already familiar with Bell & Ross’s signature diver, this model is not going to feel dramatically different. Aside from its classic 42mm x 42mm “rounded-square” case inspired by the dashboard of fighter planes, all of the dive-centric specs you’d expect are accounted for here. The unidirectional safety bezel has been reimagined in black that stands out against the blue-green dial, and it’s water resistant up to 300 meters. As far as inner workings are concerned, this watch is powered by the BR-CAL.302 automatic mechanical movement, which is based on the Sellita SW300-1 caliber and has a power reserve of 54 hours.
The striking thing about this brand in particular is its commitment to curating its unwavering sense of identity – each of its watches makes itself known instantly and with a certain air of confidence. With that cockpit-inspired circle-in-square case shape alone, there is no trace of anonymity, or being lost and forgotten within a lineup of dive watches. That fact might alienate itself from some, while at the same time appealing to those who have a certain kinship with its designs. A brand of the masses it is not. And that’s alright. The 43mm x 43mm sizing had me out of the game from the jump as a consumer, to be transparent. If you can rock it, all the power to you. Given that this piece isn’t representative of a complete overhaul of the functionality or design language of the BR-03-92, nor something that the brand intends to mass produce, the novelty of the bronze in a new color palette is really the heart of the story here.
Within the industry (and arguably, the culture at large) there can be a bit of an obsession with timelessness, with maintaining a pristinely polished veneer against showing signs of aging, isn’t there something a bit poetic about a material that bears witness to its passage through time?

To further indulge in my boundless sense of sentimentality, I will now subject you to an anecdote from my childhood. Aren’t you so lucky? I often spent long summer afternoons with my grandmother in East Texas growing up, and if I ever complained about being bored, she would quickly whip up some menial tasks for me to do. With one recurring task, she’d pour a few handfuls of dirty pennies on a placemat and have me spend the afternoon polishing them with vinegar. Given that I was a rather eccentric child, this mundane chore didn’t bore me to tears – there was a lot of satisfaction in renewing the copper pennies to their rosy sheen. Looking back, I can only think that this was sort of a zen exercise in patience, in taking care of the little things around you, no matter how small. More likely, it was an opportunity to remove my nose from the TV for an hour or so. Where my grandmother got all of those filthy pennies remains even more mysterious.

All of this is to say that while this might not be the bronze watch for me personally, the sentiment of incorporating a material that is shaped by the way that you care for it does appeal to my romantic sensibilities, at the very least. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other things I’d spend my hard-earned cash on before picking up a bronze watch of any kind. But from a kind of woo-woo idealist frame of mind, it does work for me https://www.vogue4uwatches.com.