Monday, 18 September 2017

ON THE WRIST: Bell and Ross BR-03-92 Diver and Camo Phantom


Leslie Davis / Milton Keynes 16th Sept 2017

I've been aware of Bell & Ross watches for a while now, and thus far I've been undecided about them. I quite like their aviation instrument aesthetic, but having never tried one on I was unsure about how the round/square design would look on the wrist and whether the watches would be bulky and unwearable.

Well, I have to say, while they are unusual they are also a lot less 'square' on the wrist than a Monaco and thanks to the lovely, wide rubber straps they wear surprisingly nicely. I tried on two models, the BR-03-92 300M Diver pictured above and also the phantom-camouflage version pictured below.


I'm a bit confused by the nomenclature being that both of these watches are 'BR-03-92', and a quick look at B&R watches on the internet shows that there are plenty of other variants with the same number...

This second one has a little bit of a Panerai look, I think it's the numerals which give the impression of your typical Panerai but it doesn't seem to have the classic lume sandwich or indeed any lume at all (though there might be some on the hands, I couldn't see any but the assistant reckoned there was).

In the window the phantom model was the one that caught my eye the most but on the wrist I preferred the diver. I thought the polished case would put me off, and that the black case would 'disguise' it more, but in actual fact once you get used to the idea of a square watch with a round face and go with it, the polished case actually looks fine.

The rubber straps are really comfortable and very wide, I prefer the ridged strap on the diver if I'm honest, but both are well made and fit well. For some reason the diver seemed to sit slightly better on my wrist, though I don't really understand why that should be. The phantom seemed to want to ride away on the bone, which is something of a problem I do have with other watches as well.

It's quite surprising how different these two models look, one bringing to mind Panerai and the other quite obviously echoing the look of the Rolex Submariner. I still like both but I'm swaying towards the diver, which is actually £2800 compared to £2900 for the phantom. 

The question now is do I sully my collection with a non-TAG product? Currently there's nothing in the TAG collection that is really setting my heart racing, and everything I do like either has a shitty strap or a cyclops, of course there is the potential of the new movement, but it's probably only going to turn up in the so called 'mutant' Carrera which I already own with the Heuer 01 movement.

But is the B&R a good investment? Not that I buy watches as investments, but nor do I want a watch that's going to lose a ton of money, and if it does then I'm more inclined to wait for a second hand model to turn up. Ah the eternal dilemma of the watch collector!


Goldsmiths / Milton Keynes 16th Sept 2017

Another watch I tried on was the Tudor North Flag on a steel bracelet. Tudor fans would probably point out that this is probably a better 'investment' than the B&R, particularly with it's in-house movement and display caseback... and I'm sure they would be right. But the case is a bit marmite, and even though it's a good chunk cheaper than the B&R diver it doesn't really excite me in the same way.

I do quite like the dial and the power reserve indicator is a nice feature, but it seems a bit odd not having any crown guards. To be honest, I only really tried it on because I wanted a Tudor catalogue. So no, I don't think this is really one for me...

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