By Roger Valberg
There is a certain hysteria associated with Bell & Ross these days. They make beautiful watches, price them competitively and have a military lifestyle story to tell in each of the timepieces.
Simply put, in the here and now, a Bell & Ross watch is very cool. It obviously helps when the brand actively seeks new horizons for inspiration.
Bruno Belamich, the creative head of the French watchmaker (the Bell in Bell & Ross) is a man who takes nothing for granted. From building custom bikes for the B-Rocket to the hyper-competitive Formula 1 championships where B&R are partners with RenaultF1, he sees watches in everything.
But about the Diver, he said: “Bell & Ross had made a diver called the Hydromax in 1997 which went down to 11,100 metres! And we produced some others but with round cases. For the Diver, we wanted to challenge ourselves to combine a square with a circle.”
The reception for the BR 03 Diver, which premiered in 2017 was nothing short of amazing. Selling out in Malaysia in just a few months, the 2018 iteration – Diver Blue and Diver Bronze was similarly received.
Which brings us to the Diver Black Matte for 2019. Like its predecessors, the Black Matte is a ISO6425 certified piece.
This certification is what separates a water resistant watch from a proper dive watch. The tests include water-resistance to a minimum depth of 100 metres; the presence of a unidirectional rotating bezel with a graduated minutes scale, an operation indicator and luminescent markers; legibility in the dark; anti-shock and anti-magnetic protection.
But unlike earlier editions, which were either stainless steel or bronze cases, the Black Matte case is a new matte black ceramic.
It’s new as the brand has been doing some R&D to enhance the material somewhat. It is after all virtually scratch-proof, pleasant to wear, soft to the touch and thermo-regulated, instantly reaching body temperature when worn.
Almost as tough as a diamond, the high-tech ceramic developed by Bell & Ross is incredibly hardwearing, non-deformable, lighter than steel and hypoallergenic.
To put it another way, this Diver is a big step in the direction of making the Diver collection a professional instrument.
You can of course wear it for leisure, as do most buyers but it can be used in a professional setting should the need arise. Which is perhaps one of the many reasons why B&R have attained that aforementioned level of hysteria. It just does cool so well.