It came to our attention that Bell & Ross will soon start selling a new version of their BR03 model. Presented in the same stainless steel body, the 2012 BR03-90 Grande Date & Reserve de Marche now sports the well-known Soprod 9090 chronometer movement.
Using the tried and true ETA 2892-A2 self-winding ebauche as its base, the Soprod 9090 adds a simple add-on module that sits atop of the blank caliber and enhances the dial of the simple three-hander with a power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock and a big date display at 12 hours.
Like the base movement, the hybrid beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and features a guaranteed power reserve of 42 hours, which is somewhat surprising since the extra indicators should put an extra load on the mechanism’s mainspring and probably says something good about the quality of engineering demonstrated by the famous Swiss-based complications specialist.
Although the ETA 2892-A2 enjoys a reputation of a reliable movement, I must warn you that, due to the introduction of an add-on module, the mechanism becomes slightly less reliable and more difficult to service in case of failure.
As to the exterior, it is coming in the same stainless steel case as the base BR03 model. Featuring polished and satin-finished surfaces, the case is not particularly large (for a pilot’s watch) at 42 millimeters in width (crown not included) and is not terribly thick.
As usual for the line, the BR03-90 delivers almost unrivaled legibility with its wide, massive hours and minutes hands, as well as the Arabic numerals and hour markers, covered with white Superluminova that ensures perfect contrast both in a broad daylight and in total darkness.
Well, perhaps, the “big date” indicator at 12 o’clock could have been slightly bigger: compared to the pair of numerals on the dial, the calendar numbers look especially small. As, for that matter, does the setting crown that looks short and not particularly comfortable when it comes to operating the gadget.
According to ell & Ross’ PR department, the Grande Date & Reserve de Marche will go on sale with a set of rubber and heavy canvas NATO straps and will retail at a more or less affordable price of $4800.
To my taste, equipped with a mass-produced movement and not offering anything terribly high-tech in its workings, the watch is definitely overpriced, however, their marketing department probably knows better than yours truly would ever hope to do.
Photos: Bell & Ross
Bell & Ross BR03-90 Grande Date & Reserve de Marche specification
Price: $4800 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber Soprod 9090, based on ETA 2892-A2 ebauche, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 28
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, big date, power reserve
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 42.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber band and heavy canvas straps included
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Solid, engraved