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Bell & Ross BR 03 Heritage Watches

by Marco 18 May, 2010 View Comments

Bell & Ross was one of the most talked about brands at Baselworld 2010. This is thanks to some fantastic and defining novelties such as the BR 03-92 military Ceramic and an entire new collection of vintage-inspired timepieces. Because of this, some of the BR 03 novelties were somewhat overshadowed, but for Bell & Ross fans like us their release was very exciting. The BR 03 Heritage models are amongst these low-flying novelties. They depict the style of the larger BR 01 Heritage that enjoyed much success over the past six months. A three-hand and chronograph version, previously unavailable in the larger BR 01 size, were presented.

Anyone who even occasionally follows the Baily Blog probably knows all about the BR 03 watches, so I will only write of the details that are unique to the Heritage series. The most notable aspect is the beige colour found on the dial, which is meant to emulate the discolouring of paint that happens on older watches over their lifetime. On watches built prior to the early 1990s, small amounts of radioactive Tritium were used to make the markers and hands luminescent. This means that the luminescence weakens over time. One would have a hard time finding a watch built more than 25 years ago that still displays a glow in the dark. Like most modern watches, the BR-03 Heritage models differ from this by using phosphorescent material instead of Tritium. They will therefore retain their luminous qualities throughout their entire lifetime.

The dials of the Heritage models display another subtle particularity. The minute hand has a counterweight not found on other BR models. This extra length, along with the style in which the hand is shaped and painted, is typical of the indicators on analog, in-flight instruments such as altimeters. It is also worth mentioning that, due to the smaller diameter of the dial, BR 03-94 faces display the chronograph functions on two subsidiary dials rather than three as on the BR 01 chronographs. This means the watch loses the hour function of its chronograph, but gains a pleasing esthetic given by the proportionally larger circles.

Aircraft altimeter

The strap on the BR-03 Heritage models reflects the more serious character of the BR-03. Instead of being decorated like on the BR 01-92 Heritage, the light tan colour is left unaltered minus a BR marking burnt into it near the buckle. When wearing the watch, this marking would be at the bottom of the wrist.

Up to now, the Bell & Ross' BR 03 watches have been designated as the more sombre, down-to-earth models, ideal for B&R purists. With the sole exception of the Ceramic Top with diamonds, none of these 42mm square watches have been adorned with precious metals or gems. Furthermore the dials have been strictly functional dials with none being as conspicuous as the Airborne or Radar. The Heritage style, with its simple beige hour markers and hands, and subtle homage to the cockpit instrumentation of the forties are ideal candidates for the black carbon finished BR-03 case.

More details on the BR 03-92 Heritage and BR 03-94 Heritage are now available on MattBaily.ca. These watches bring together two aspects of Bell & Ross watches that have led many to fall in love with the brand. The first is the perfectly sized, comfortable, and attractive BR 03 Instrument, and the other the cool and innovative styling of the Heritage.

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