No matter how great, gratifying, or original a new watches are, a genuinely “iconic” model is something most watch manufacturers will never be able to convincingly assert — by its very nature the expression can be accurately appropriate to only a limited number of watches. I attempt to avoid even using the term, but I believe lots of watch fans will agree that Bell & Ross’ square-cased, aviation-themed watches based on the dashboard tools of older planes will be eligible. The plan is strongly associated with and rooted in aviation, but Bell & Ross has branched out to plenty of different styles or genres with all the square instance as the foundation. While the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver might get lost among numerous other variants on the theme, taken alone it’s successful as a compelling dive watch.There are many Bell & Ross collections that use essentially the same standard case design but also in different sizes (and each with different models). The BR 01 is a wrist-eclipsing (for me, anyway) 47mm, the BR 03 like the one reviewed here’s 42mm, and also the BR S is 39mm. The BR X watches are Bell & Ross’ “Experimental” collection that also use some variation of this square instance but with generally more elaborate structures, bold designs, and haute complications (hands-on example here with the Bell & Ross BR X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor). There are divers in other groups — and there have been more in the past, such as the BR 02 — but, again, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver is the first diver in the square case.
When Bell & Ross released the “pro” version of the iconic square BR01 case a few years ago it was pretty “wow.” It was perhaps at an apex of the large aviator watch’s popularity, and Bell & Ross was interested in creating as diverse a range of BR01 models as it could dream up. That included limited edition versions in various colors, and thematic items like this futuristic looking ‘warrior’s watch’ in titanium with a carbon fiber dial. So is the BR01-94 Pro Titanium Carbon Fiber still cool or a reminder of when watches like this sold more easily?
Bell & Ross first released this BR01 Pro model back in about 2008 (covered here), and then in 2009 a version of the BR01 Pro was released in an all carbon fiber case (covered here). This reviewed model is a combination of the two. The case is titanium while the dial is carbon fiber. As you can see, Bell & Ross was truly trying to offer something for everyone. We’ve complained about carbon fiber before. Often in dials where its presence destroys legibility. That isn’t the case here because Bell & Ross had the foresight to design the watch with massive hand and hour markers slathered in lume that could be easily read (but not look that garish). In practice we like it.
There were a few versions of this “Pro” dial treatment, and it showed up on a few different watches. Bell & Ross even offered this dial (in carbon fiber) on one of their BR02 dive watches (hands-on here). As you can see, three-hand (BR01-92) as well as chronograph models (BR01-94) were available. While it is a healthy alternative to the standard aviator dial which is so classic looking on the BR01 (as well as many other Bell & Ross watches), we think the Pro dial is more of an “occasional” look versus something you would wear daily like the aviator dial.
Having said that the case is very cool. Bell & Ross added another square shape to the bezel, but one that is turned at a 45 degree angle (of course with cut off corners). The bezel is also raised up a bit, and not flat like that on the standard BR01. A little bit of trivia, custom truck and car maker ICON 4×4 has some dashboard bezels in their vehicles that were inspired by the case of the BR01 Pro case and bezel. The case of course is 46mm wide, which for me is the perfect size for this look. Bell & Ross released the smaller 42m wide BR03 as a smaller version of the BR01, but I don’t think it has the same visual effect as its larger brothers.