Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT: A Now Bolder Bidirectional Travel Companion
by Martin Green
How I long to travel again! The COVID-19 pandemic grounded me and I am used to traveling abroad regularly. Fortunately, in many countries, the infection rate is now stabilizing and even going down.
As traveling once again becomes an option, it’s a good time to dust off our travel watches or mark the occasion with a new one: and a good start is the recently introduced BR 03-93 GMT from Bell & Ross.
The BR 03-93 GMT follows in the footsteps of the watch with the same name launched in 2016. The updated version includes a bidirectional bezel, instead of the previously fixed one, as well as a bolder dial and bezel design.
The elephant in the room: Rolex
The bezel on the 2021 BR 03-93 GMT features silver Arabic numerals and hour markers; the background between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am is black, while the other half is red. This is so one may easily distinguish between the hours of the night and the day.
This bezel is a variation on the Coke or Pepsi bezel theme, so nicknamed for its color combination. And as soon as you slip this watch on, an elephant enters the room. Actually, it is an even bigger animal than that, more a woolly mammoth. Even though this Bell & Ross bezel is black and red instead of blue and red, comparison to the Rolex GMT-Master Coke/Pepsi is imminent. And when Rolex is involved, everything else tends to look like a copycat.
There is an exception to this, of course, and that is the BR 03-93 GMT. The square case is so distinctly Bell & Ross that the Coke-style bezel loses any resemblance to Rolex.
The dial also aids in this as Bell & Ross uses bold Arabic numerals in combination with a full set of minute markers. The hands are equally bold, with the second time zone hand boasting a red Super-LumiNova-filled arrow tip.
Visually, this offers a lot of balance on the dial as the color theme is very consistent. It may look a tad busy, but legibility is great and the visual impact is strong. The generously sized hands and hour markers allow for plenty of luminous material for great low-light visibility. Perfect for checking the time during an overnight flight to an exotic location.
Details I love
The BR 03 collection from Bell & Ross does not really match my personal style and preferences. Fortunately, two decades in the industry have taught me to recognize a great watch when I see one despite my own tastes, and the BR 03-93 GMT is a great watch.
A lot of brands focus on making sporty watches big and bold, forgetting the power of refined details. Bell & Ross doesn’t. There are small things that excite me about the BR 03-93 GMT, starting with the case. Its square case is very charismatic but also well executed with its polished, beveled edges and aligned screws. These details also do a lot for the wearing comfort as at a diameter of 42 x 42 mm it is not a small watch.
Looking at the dial, it is hard not to notice how organically the date is integrated; you don’t really see it until you need it. Bell & Ross opted for a round window sunk into the dial. The hour markers are shaped like tubs filled with luminous material, adding depth to the dial. My favorite detail is the Arabic numerals, which lay on top and feature a refined brushed finish.
When traveling, I tend to bring only one watch – the one on my wrist. So it needs to suit a wide variety of activities, including some that take place in the water. It is great that Bell & Ross didn’t cut corners in this respect, giving the BR 03-93 GMT 100-meter water resistance.
If getting it wet, the cool-looking leather strap is perhaps not the best option. But fortunately Bell & Ross also offers comfortable synthetic fabric straps with the watch.
Another thing I like when traveling is reliability. The BR 03-93 GMT is powered by BR-CAL.303, which is a stalwart modified ETA 2893-2.
For me, this is still one of the greatest movements with a second time zone. It is relatively slender yet robust, can easily run within chronometer standards, and when it needs servicing it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
All told, the BR 03-93 GMT is the complete package, combining charismatic character with all the features you could want in a mechanical travel watch. Now let’s get out there and explore!
For more information, please visit www.bellross.com/our-collections/Instruments/br-03-42-mm/br-03-93-gmt/NEW-BR-03-93-GMT.
Quick Facts Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT
Case: 42 mm, stainless steel, anodized blue and black aluminum bezel with 24-hour scale
Movement: automatic Caliber BR-Cal.303, (based on ETA 2893-2), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, second time zone
Price: $4,200 / €3,800