The first Bell & Ross I ever laid my hands on, back in 2008, was the Marine, an uncommon and somewhat unusual beast that took the brand’s trademark dial and transplanted it into a large, 1000m water resistant, tonneau-shaped case that looked like it could handle anything short of being run over by a main battle tank (and even then it’d probably only scratch the case a little). And it turns out that this isn’t the brand’s first foray into the world of hardcore divers (check out the Hydromax). The only issue is that these older models don’t neatly fit into the Bell & Ross family. They’re round pegs trying to fit in a square hole.
The newly minted BR 03-92 Diver has no such problems. Bell & Ross has taken the instantly recognisable BR 03 case shape and turned it into their first ever square dive watch. The first thing I thought on seeing it was – why haven’t they done this before?
There is no doubt that the BR 03-92 Diver looks every inch the professional diver, as well it should, given that it has all the bells and whistles required by ISO 6425 – the international standard that effectively defines what is and isn’t a dive watch. There’s the crown guard, the 300m of water resistance, clearly different hour and minute hands, and of course that unidirectional dive bezel.
It’s still very much a Bell & Ross: square case with visible screws and solid rubber strap. What I find most interesting are the small evolutions, and the way the amended design plays with the brand’s established DNA. The handset and the applied luminous indices rather than printed Arabic numerals, for example, create a watch that is simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar. The introduction of this square diver is a smart and intriguing move from Bell & Ross, and I’ll be curious to see where it evolves from here.