Watch the week: Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT


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French watchmaker Bell & Ross got its start when watch designers and “flight control panel specialists” (the people who design gadgets for airplane cockpits) collaborated to create a highly rugged, easy-to-read watch for military pilots and others working in harsh environments. Almost 30 years later, aviation still exerts a powerful influence on the company’s watches. This is especially true with Hours GMTA type of watch that was initially developed for jet pilots. The company’s latest GMT watch, BR 03-93 GMT, tilts to date with a new bi-directional bezel and the iconic “Coke” black-and-red color road.

“Bell & Ross continues to cement its relationship in the aviation world with BR 03-93 GMT,” he says. Men’s magazine Fashion Editor Kevin Breen. “While maintaining its iconic square shape, the new edition focuses on function and readability.”

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The new bezel is a distinctive feature of this watch. Unlike previous Bell & Ross GMT watches, the BR 03-93 combines a square case with a 24-hour bezel that rotates in two directions (plus a dedicated 24-hour hand, this allows the watch wearer to set and track time in multiple zones simultaneously). The black and red track is a nod to the date of GMT: the two-tone pattern is known as the “Coca-Cola” color path, and is a hallmark of famous history Rolex GMT-Master and GMT-Master II watches.

Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT
Courtesy Image

There are a lot of references to aviation on this watch: the 42mm square case is a clear case – its unique shape and exposed screws recall the design of analog instruments found in all types of aircraft – and the black dial and white indicators also indicate muted utilitarian color patterns for aircraft dials and gauges. Even with a splash of red on the bezel and the 24-hour hand, it appears to have been pulled straight from the cockpit.

Like other Bell & Ross watches, the BR 03-93 is designed to provide maximum clarity and functionality. Large numbers stand out on the dial, and hands and indexes feature Super LumiNova coating for easy reading in the dark. The watch is able to display three different time zones and the current date (date window is located between the 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock positions). The knurling on the crown makes it easy to grip for quick adjustments to the time, and although water is usually a pilot tries to avoid, the watch is water-resistant to 100 meters, just in case.

It’s backed by an automatic movement for reliably keeping time, and comes with two bracelet options: calf leather or durable synthetic fabric. Although one is definitely more subtle than the other, both bands allow the bold angles of the brushed steel case to shine through.

“This watch is a nice choice for the international traveler, or for anyone with loved ones spread across the globe,” says Breen.

[$4,200; bellross.com]

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