If there was one single thing to remember with Bell & Ross, it’s how committed to flight instruments the brand is. The Paris-based brand is indeed known for its passion for everything related to aviation and military equipment. And it showed this on multiple occasions, not only with its regular production models (such as the signature BR 01 and BR 03 collection, which are designed after vintage cockpit clocks) but also with special editions based on the display of actual flight instruments. And in this instance, the brand today reissues one of its most emblematic models, a watch that is inspired by the radars used by flight controllers and that relies on an oddly attractive display, as well as a bold colour scheme. The Red Radar concept is back for 2021, with multiple improvements and updates, in the name of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Red Radar Ceramic – and we had the opportunity to film it prior to the launch!
Since its foundation in 1994, aviation and military references have always been at the heart of the Parisian brand Bell & Ross. And over the years, it has become a reference for instrument and pilot watches, even worn by multiple squadrons and special forces around the world. A turning point in the brand’s history was the launch in 2005 of the BR 01 watch, the brand’s most emblematic model. Its square case with 4 screws and a round dial was directly inspired by analogue dashboard instruments found in fighter jets. And with this in mind, the brand unveiled a series of watches, the Flight Instruments collection, with displays paying tribute to altimeters, compasses or jet cockpit clocks.
In 2010, this range of instruments will be joined by the Radar collection. The first model, the BR 01 Radar, was the first to feature an innovative display with rotating discs. It will be followed in 2011 by an even more impressive model, the first Red Radar, with its dial topped with a mysterious red sapphire crystal.
This year, the BR 03-92 Red Radar, now in ceramic and with a reduced size, is the third addition to this striking family. In 2011, the first Red Radar was a highly innovative piece, where the display felt totally in line with the DNA of the brand, at a point that you could even wonder if this watch was actually telling time – no worries, it does! Its graphics reproduced the scanning motion of the light beam on a radar screen with realism. The bright red crystal topping the dial is reminiscent of the flight control instrument. A succession of three concentric discs was indicating the hours, the minutes and the seconds. This very watch remains on the brands most emblematic models and fans of Bell & Ross will certainly enjoy seeing it coming back this year, with multiple updates though.
The new BR 03-92 Red Radar Ceramic is, as indicated by its name, housed in the smaller 03 case. This means a watch that is now 42mm by 42mm… and not 46mm like the past model. This implies that, even though a large watch with a great presence on the wrist, it remains fairly wearable thanks to short lugs. Another improvement is the material of the case. Previously in black coated stainless steel, this new Red Radar now has a ceramic case. Not only it is scratch-resistant, but ceramic is also lighter than steel and soft to the touch, making this new edition more comfortable.
The star of the show in this new Bell & Ross Red Radar Ceramic is the dial. If it feels familiar at first, the brand has updated it with a more realistic, playful look that slightly differs from the 2011 model. The display is composed of two concentric discs, which are fused with the dial. The external one displays the hours and the inner one shows the minutes. They replace the traditional hours and minutes hands. To read the time, you’ll have to use the two small planes, which are screen-printed and appear to fly over the dial. Finally, a red central hand displays the seconds, like the scanning bar found on a real radar. The challenge with this display was to develop ultra-light discs to maintain the power reserve.
The other cool thing to finalize the display of this BR 03-92 Red Radar Ceramic is the sapphire crystal, which is red-tinted and that features the hour and minute scales printed on the inner side. Under the closed caseback engraved with cool military-inspired inscriptions is a classic automatic movement, the Calibre 302, based on a Sellita SW300. As most watches in the BR 03-92 collection, the new Red Radar Ceramic is water-resistant to 100 metres. It is worn on the brand’s classic black rubber strap, closed by a black PVD coated trapezoidal pin buckle. An ultra-resilient black fabric strap with velcro closing is also included in the box.
Availability & Price
The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Red Radar Ceramic (ref. BR0392-RRDR-CE/SRB) will be limited to 999 pieces and available as of early July 2021. It will retail for EUR 3,900. For more details and orders, please visit bellross.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.