It came to our attention that the Swiss watchmakers will soon start selling a new version of their BR03 model. Presented in the same stainless steel body, the upcoming Bell & Ross BR03-90 Grande Date & Reserve de Marche automatic watch will be equipped with the well-known Soprod 9090 chronometer movement that we have seen in numerous timekeepers including, for example, the elegant and sporty Edox Sea Dubai Super Limited Edition wristwatch.
Based on the tried and true ETA 2892-A2 self-winding ebauche, the Soprod 9090 is basically a rather simple add-on module that sits atop 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 sort of surprising since the extra indicators should clearly put an extra load on the mechanism’s main spring and probably says something good about the quality of engineering demonstrated by the famous Swiss-based complications specialist.
Although the ETA 2892-A2 is known for its reliability, it must be noted 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 appearance of the piece, it is, quite predictably, coming in the same stainless steel case as the base BR03 model. Featuring polished and satin-finished surfaces, the body of the watch 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 new BR03-90 delivers and almost unrivalled 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 does the setting crown that looks quite short and not particularly comfortable when it comes to operating the gadget.
According to the Swiss watchmaker, the watch will be offered 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.
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 material: 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