Coming out of the depths of darkness that 2020 has ushered on us, shining the light is the new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Full Lum
It is apparently the dive watch season. You know it would have been easier to tell that here in Australia as well if it wasn’t the Covid-19 season and winter taking grip, but going by the plethora of new watch releases that have either been a lesson in diving like Tudor’s Black Bay 58 “Navy Blue” or a homage to summery colours like TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition or Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57, I reckon it’s safe to assume that I would be covering a lot more of diving watches in the weeks to come. The new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Full Lum is yet another one that ‘dives’ to the occasion.
Nothing wrong with that; we all love a dive watch now and then, if not always, even when we have no intentions or habits that involve actual diving (nudge Submariner wait-listers and queuers).
Anyway, coming back to the watch in hand, let’s have a gander at the new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Full Lum, shall we?
Legibility is King
Anyone who has read my stuff will vouch that we at Watch Ya Gonna Do About It are particularly partial to watches that are exceptionally legible. To me, a watch without legibility is not a timepiece, simple as that. It can be a wonderful piece of art, perhaps the most impressive work of wrist sculpture ever made, but a timepiece it is not. And that’s okay; we are kidding ourselves if we say that mankind needs watches. There are much more reliable ways of telling time, especially ones that don’t need to be pampered so much as a mechanical watch. Being able to be impressed by the innovativeness of brands, especially independents, is what makes this watch journalist job even more interesting. But yes, I still maintain that a wrist watch needs to be legible, first and foremost.
And when I see one that is perhaps the epitome of legibility, coming out of the depths of darkness that 2020 has ushered on us, shining the light is the excessive lume-filled dive watch, the new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Full Lum.
You would have gathered that I may not be the biggest supporter of dive watches, but hey, I would sure like to rally up support for a watch as legible and quote frankly superb, as this new diver.
Let’s dive a bit into the history of this new release and put it into some context.
Bell & Ross as a brand has two specific aspects working for it. I have said this before and I’ll say it again; legibility is in Bell & Ross’ DNA and the iconic “circle in a square” that is emblematic of an aeroplane cockpit clock is the definition of minimalist design.
Bell & Ross have an iconic square shape that works so well that somehow no matter what’s on the dial, the resting watches stand out on their merits and yet don’t scream. From a design language perspective, they have managed to come up with a perfect balance of what’s understated yet distinctive.
This area of creating sporty square watches is where the brand shines the most, and the new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Full Lum is no exception.
It follows on the footsteps of its close relative, the recently released Bell & Ross BR03-92 Grey Lum. We covered that in our feature from April this year, ‘Top Gun – battle of the 5 most legible Pilot’s watches of recent times’. The Grey Lum — short for ‘lumière’ (light) — was again high on the legible scale and was the latest addition in B&R’s LUM family that already includes watches such as the BR03‐92 HOROLUM, BR03‐94 HOROLUM, BR03‐92 NIGHTLUM and the original BR03‐92 FULL LUM that had first come to light in 2017. And even though the last one began shining in 2017, it had been in the making for two decades. It was a successor to the BR02 range launched in 2007. And the BR02 range was a follow up to the HYDROMAX dive watch designed in 1997 that was water-resistant to an emphatic 11’100 meters. So the new release is resting on some solid foundation.
Form Follows Function
Being an architect, or rather an ex-architect, I have always been partial to the design language that follows along the lines of form follows function. Slightly off-topic but I have always wondered how cool would it have been if Frank Lloyd Wright had also been an avid watch designer? Sorry, I digress. The new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Full Lum in my opinion is an excellent example of form following function. Legible, functional, accurate, robust and reliable, B&R’s dive watches are designed to match their specific environment, and the new Full Lum follows suit as a practical tool watch that is perfectly suited for underwater exploration, even effectively assisting divers in the deepest and darkest waters.
Based on the principles that define what a dive watch should be — as laid out by the international standard ISO 6425 — the new Full Lum features a water-resistance of more than the mandatory minimum of 100 meters, the presence of a unidirectional rotating bezel with a graduated minutes scale, and an operation indicator and luminescent markers. It also includes high legibility in the dark, and anti-shock and anti-magnetic protection. A note on the anti-magnetism though; as a rule wearers should be aware that magnetic fields can adversely affect the accuracy of your watch, and you should avoid placing your watch near electronic devices that may generate large magnetic fields such as radio, smartphone, television, computers and loudspeakers.
The reference BR0392-D-C5-CE/SRB features the calibre BR‐CAL.302 which is essentially a modified Sellita SW-300 automatic movement and the same movement used in their recent BR03-92 Grey Lum. The movement beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) and comprises of 25 jewels. The movement is encased inside a 42mm x 42mm matt black ceramic square case that also features a unidirectional rotating ceramic bezel with a 60-minute scale.
Limited to 999 pieces only, the watch offers an okay 40-hour power reserve, an impressive water resistance of 300m (30 ATM), and comes on a woven black rubber and ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric with a black PVD coated steel pin buckle. As impressive as its water-resistance is, it’s always a good idea to ensure that it stays that way. One way of keeping this in check would be to carefully rinse off the watch and strap with fresh water after it has been immersed in seawater. Most brands usually also recommend having the water-resistance of your watch checked every two years. And of-course it goes without saying but to ensure perfect water-resistance, make sure the crown is pushed and screwed back, and you are not operating the crown underwater.
Watch Ya Gonna Do About It
One of the stand out features of this new release, and one that I particularly like, is how the brand has managed to play with inverted contrasts. They have sort of reversed the traditional idea of day and night legibility.
During the day, the watch’s clean, cluster free dial, large indices and black hands, and modern lines depict the time plain and square with no unnecessary frills polluting the watch face. This simple display of time on an almond green coloured dial is enveloped by a 42 mm case that with its contrasting deep matte black ceramic material helps to further frame the essence of time.
And at night or under the dark seas, the luminescent dial comes to life with different shades of luminescence. On one hand the metal based dial is fully coated with a paint made of green Superluminova® C5 pigments, and on the other hand, green Superluminova® C3 has been used to fill in the metal appliqué skeletonized indices and the bezel’s numerals. Readable even at 25cm in the dark, I am very impressed by this green on green contrast on the dial.
As to whether or not you should take the plunge, at 7’100 AUD I wouldn’t say it’s a bargain because it does swim in congested waters when it comes to competition. But I will say that not many full lume (or night lume) luxury watches exist in the market today, and if you are an avid swimmer who likes to occasionally take the plunge to slightly deeper depths, the new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Full Lum is an excellent choice.
Victor Hugo once said, “Strange to say, the luminous world is the invisible world; the luminous world is that which we do not see. Our eyes of flesh see only night”. Probably not intentionally but proving him wrong is the new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Full Lum, that lets you see in any lighting condition thanks to the excessive luminance present on its iconic circle-in-a-square dial.
To find out more about the new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Full Lum or their other offerings, please head to their website here. All images are courtesy Copyright © BELL & ROSS