128 Desert Storm

Bell & Ross’s khaki-clad BR 03-94 bears tes­ta­ment to the BR fam­ily’s de­sign longevity and ver­sa­til­ity

World of Watches (Singapore) - - Contents - WORDS JAMIE TAN

Bell & Ross’s BR 03-94 demon­strates the BR fam­ily’s de­sign longevity and ver­sa­til­ity

Back in 2005, who would’ve imag­ined that a square watch could sin­gle­hand­edly set Bell & Ross on the tra­jec­tory that’s brought the brand to where it is to­day? The BR 01 did just that, and went on to spawn two smaller it­er­a­tions, the BR 03 and BR S, which were also ex­tremely suc­cess­ful. The lat­est ad­di­tion to the fam­ily, the BR-X1, was con­ceived as a plat­form for Bell & Ross to ex­press its tech­ni­cal savoir-faire, but the brand hasn’t ne­glected its core col­lec­tions de­spite this shift in di­rec­tion. The proof? The BR 0394 Desert Type.

The BR 03-94 Desert Type is the lat­est vari­a­tion on the theme of the square avi­a­tion watch, which is one of Bell & Ross’s calling cards. Like the col­lec­tion’s other mod­els, it con­tains sev­eral recog­nis­able de­sign cues. For one, there’s the square case with a raised round bezel fram­ing the cir­cu­lar dial. The dial it­self is highly leg­i­ble, thanks to a com­bi­na­tion of sword-shaped hands and a mix of ba­ton and Ara­bic nu­meral in­dexes. Fi­nally, there are the four screws on the up­per sur­face of the case – a nod to the screws used to mount avi­a­tion in­stru­ments (the col­lec­tion’s in­spi­ra­tion) onto a cock­pit’s panel.

The strength of the BR 01/03/S fam­i­lies’ de­sign lies in its ver­sa­til­ity, as the BR 03-94 Desert Type shows. De­spite be­ing dressed in matte black and khaki – the two pri­mary hues used in desert cam­ou­flage – the watch main­tains a strik­ing vis­age. Part of this is due to the brand’s sub­tle play with tex­tures. Note how the black por­tions of the hands have a grainier tex­ture com­pared to the black ceramic case, for in­stance, or how the sub-di­als have a cir­cu­lar grained pat­tern. Bell & Ross has also ma­nip­u­lated the sense of depth of this watch by go­ing be­yond the usual traits of a lay­ered case/bezel con­struc­tion and slop­ing in­ner flange. The sub-di­als have been coun­ter­sunk here, while the dial it­self has a sand­wich con­struc­tion con­sist­ing of an up­per dial with cutouts set over a lower dial of a con­trast­ing colour.

Func­tion­ally, the BR 03-94 is pow­ered by an Eta-based BRCAL.301 chronograph move­ment. The watch is ca­pa­ble of mea­sur­ing elapsed times of up to 30 min­utes, and sports a clean bi-com­pax lay­out to fa­cil­i­tate this, with a date win­dow at 4:30 round­ing up its func­tions. Its wearer can opt for ei­ther a match­ing beige calf­skin strap or a black syn­thetic fabric strap to com­plete the pack­age. MOVE­MENT Self-wind­ing BR-CAL.301 move­ment with 42-hour power re­serve

CASE 42mm in black ceramic; wa­ter re­sis­tant to 100m

STRAP Beige calf­skin or black fabric, both with black Pvd-coated steel ardil­lon buckle

PRICE $8,200

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