It's worth noting that Bell & Ross has a finger on the pulse of the future. Aside from being in all kinds of watchmaking endeavours, the brant even ventured into aeronautics and transportation on terra firma. Bell & Ross continues its envelope-pushing course, with the BR 03 Cyber Ceramic.

Taking the iconic BR 03 line, the design is tweaked and given perspectives without erasing what came before. Bell & Ross’ co-founder and creative director, Bruno Belamich, combined the BR 03 design with the Cyber collection's graphic and futuristic codes.

Through faceted 3D designs, the timepiece's personality is shown through the lines making up its case. It reminds one of a stealth aircraft—with their sharp-edged fuselages and the distinct technical feature of reflecting waves, which is how spy planes, drones and strategic bombers become undetectable to radars. (It can be said that this was inspired by stealth design but we are pretty sure that the design is gonna turn some heads, but we digress.) The readability of flight instruments is added to the wrist with a graphic edge and an openwork feature is chosen for the dial and main components on the mechanical self-winding movement, the BR-CAL.383 calibre, with particularly spectacular 3D skeletonising.

Matte black is chosen as its bold shade, straying away from your usual precious materials used in traditional watchmaking. With a laser focus on technical and contemporary components, the BR 03 Cyber Ceramic 42 x 43.7 mm frame is a ceramic case. With the removal of the lugs, the rubber strap is cut into the case. Ceramic is used to decorate the 12 metallic indices and logo and treated in glossy black under the surface of the anti-reflective sapphire crystal. With a five-year warranty, production of this exceptional watch is limited to 500 pieces world-wide.

Metamorphosis is an often risky process—successful examples within the horological context are finely balanced along the double-edged sword of mass opinion. With the release of the Bell & Ross' latest BR 03 collection, however, the brand demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of this balance by preserving the elements that made the collection a cornerstone of the manufacture’s offerings, while paying heed to modern design sensibilities.

The most visible change within the BR 03 is the watch's reduced dimensions. The cosmetic changes are subtle. The case diameter is reduced from 42mm to 41mm, while the lugs have been downsized from 4.5mm to 4mm, contributing to a marked change in the timepiece's wear and presence on the wrist. In an era where smaller watches are once again gaining traction, these changes reflect the brand’s recognition of contemporary watchmaking trends and preferences.

(From left: 2006 BR 03 42mm; 2014 BR 03 42mm; 2023 BR 03 41mm)
The BR 03’s cosmetic changes see its case diameter and lug length reduced.

More significantly, the BR 03 has a new movement under its hood: the BR-CAL.302. Based on the Swiss Sellita SW 300-1, the movement itself is a reflection of the manufacture's delicate balancing act between trends and heritage. While it is (for the most part) still the same reliable, workhorse movement widely used across other Bell & Ross timepieces, it also crucially introduces an extended power reserve of 54 hours—a significant upgrade on the previous 38 hours of power reserve.

The BR 03 may have undergone a subtle metamorphosis in the dimension and movement department, but Bell & Ross has elected to retain the elements that made the BR 03 a success. The 'circle within a square' case shape embellished with screws and highly-legible, flight instrument-inspired font, for example, ensures that the timepiece still possesses much of the tool watch charm that made it a unique design proposition when it first landed in 2006.

BR 03 Black Matte
BR 03 Black Steel
BR 03 Phantom

Offered in two case materials—black ceramic and brushed steel—Bell & Ross offers a choice between a muted, utilitarian look more synonymous with a tool watch, and a more sophisticated, dressier appearance.

Amongst the ceramic offerings, a new union of the matte black ceramic case with a khaki dial and matching rubber strap functions as the manufacture’s homage to its military-inspired design language. As for the polished steel option, the newest kid on the block takes the form of a retro-styled, brushed, copper/salmon dial offering. Engraved, jet black Arabic numerals and indices are paired with eye-catching blued steel hands, with the contrast between the satin-brushed finishing and smooth chamfered edges of the case a refined touch on a handsome timepiece.

Overall, the new edition of the BR 03 is a great horological example of the tricky act of balancing oft-fickle and transient trends, while staying true to brand philosophy.