Hands-On: Bell & Ross BR03-92 Full LumTaking nocturnal legibility to the extreme.
From the ultra-graphic BR-X to the newly launched, all-steel BR-05 collection, Bell & Ross’ capacity for reinterpreting its signature square-cased, aviation-inspired watches has proven rather remarkable. But its latest watch is a return to its roots, and perhaps the most extreme iteration of its foundational BR-03 model.
The BR03-92 Full Lum is the visual negative of the BR 03-92 Nightlum launched a year ago. While the Nightlum had a black dial with luminous numerals and markers, the Full Lum has an entirely luminous dial with its indices printed in black – and a luminous strap to boot.
Stealth dial and strap
The watch features what appears to be the standard, unapologetically industrial BR 03 dial with oversized Arabic numerals at the quarters and large baton markers.
However, the entire dial as well as the bottom sections of the hands are painted with Super-Luminova. Notably, even the date disc, visible through an aperture between four and five o’clock, is coated with “lume”.
And not only is the dial fully luminous, it also uses the brightest Super-Luminova, specifically C3. It is the purest form of Super-Luminova with a pale-yellow appearance during the day, while emitting an intense and long-lived green glow in the dark.
As a concession to daytime aesthetics, a majority of watches utilise white lume, which is fully white in daylight and emits a blue glow in the dark. This is simply because white offers a more attractive contrast against black or blue dials. They are typically either BG W9 or C1 Super-Luminova – both of which fall short of C3’s performance, with the latter having just 31% the brightness of C3 and BG W9, which is closer at 95%, but not quite up to par.
Thus, as with most BR03-92 watches, the Full Lum is an uncompromising tool watch, with an intense, graphic appearance in the dark. But what’s perhaps more amusing is how understated and unassuming it looks in daylight.
Even more unusual, the watch is fitted with a luminous rubber strap. This was achieved by incorporating phosphorescent pigments into synthetic polymer rubber before it is hot-pressed and moulded.
Robust case and movement
Measuring 42 wide and 11mm in height, the matte black ceramic case retains the same simple, but impressive and robust construction, essentially a three-part case held together like a sandwich with four screws. The screw slots are all perfectly aligned at a 45-degree angle as they are actually bolts secured by screws visible on the case back.
Bell & Ross has been producing ceramic watches for several years now, thanks to its parent company Chanel, who owns G&F Châtelain, a reputed case and buckle manufacture who is responsible for one of the most iconic ceramic watches in watchmaking, the Chanel J12.
As with all watches in the BR03-92 line, it is powered by the BR-CAL.302, which is actually the workhorse Sellita SW300-1. It is a low-cost but robust automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve.
The Full Lum is one of the most unusual iterations of the BR03-92. It offers the brand’s signature stark, highly functional dial and solid case construction, but with an abundance of Super-Luminova, a stealthy feature that only comes to light in the dark.
Key facts and price
Bell & Ross BR03-92 Full Lum
Material: Matte black ceramic
Water resistance: 100m
Movement: Automatic BR-CAL.302 (Sellita SW300-1)
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds; date
Frequency: 28,800bph, or 4Hz
Power reserve: 38 hours
Strap: Luminous rubber strap with a black PVD pin buckle
Limited edition: 250 pieces
Price: €3,500 Euros, or 5,700 Singapore dollars
Availability: Only available through balloting that opens in boutiques and online from November 15 to 21. The winners will be contacted on November 22.
For more information, visit Bellross.com.
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