One learns never to call anything “the first” in the world of Bell & Ross fake watches because, invariably, someone with a photographic memory will contradict the declaration. I welcome such pedantry because I hate fake news or any other sort of mis- or dis-information, and am therefore pleased to say that Bell & Ross is not claiming that the BR 03-92 is the world’s first square diving watch. It is, however, the first full-on square diving watch in the BR 0 family, and my only surprise is that they waited so long to release it because it’s a natural.
Bell & Ross’ inventiveness
Bell & Ross’ inventiveness, when it comes to exploiting the possibilities of the square-cased BR copy watches 0 range, knows no limits, as we learn at every Baselworld. We’ve seen camouflage editions, bronze versions, tourbillons, sapphire panels, one with a roulette wheel, assorted skulls, dials inspired by non-horological cockpit instruments (e.g. altimeters or horizon indicators) and now we have one with the assurance of water-resistance and a mandatory, massive, rotating bezel with error-free legibility.
Mixing round with square has become a Bell & Ross specialty, and it works because the language is now familiar. Not that the original BR 0 model was a shock: there have been round dials in square cases since wristwatches began, from makes as diverse as Omega and Longines, Bulova and Benrus and Jaeger-LeCoultre. For Bell & Ross, it’s a signature model, like elongated tonneaus are for Franck Muller.
Square-cased diving watches, however, are relatively rare because they’re harder to make water-resistant, so Bell & Ross is doing this as much because the maison expected to do it rather than needs to do it. In all honesty, it’s simply much easier to make the whole thing round, because that shape inherently lends itself to an easy-to-screw-in back for assured water-resistance.
Nothing about the BR 03-92 Diver strikes you as forced, however, because it simply looks so natural an evolutionary step in a now-familiar form. This follows earlier diving watches from the brand, including the conventionally round Hydromax of 1997, secure to 11,000ft thanks to a case filled with transparent fluorinated oil, and fitted with external rotating bezel. Then came the BR 02, with its curved tonneau case and decompression valve; this model placed the rotating bezel under the glass, accessed via a second crown at 2 o’clock.
Bell & Ross’ testing meets ISO 6425 standards, achieved in part by an anti-reflective sapphire crystal that is 2.80mm thick, compared to 1.80mm on the non-diving BR 03-92 Steel Bell & Ross replica watches. The requirements defined by ISP 6425 include a minimum water resistance of 100 meters and “the presence of a time pre-selection device”’ or a 60-minute calibrated uni-directional rotating bezel in plain English, which is protected against accidental rotation or incorrect setting.