Bell & Ross BRS-98 White Diamond & Black Diamond: Hands on review.

Today we have with us two instantly recognisable ladies Bell & Ross watches from our Pre-owned site . These watches are virtually identical, yet different as night and day so we can’t wait to have a good look at them!



Bell & Ross aren’t celebrating their 150th Anniversary like some other watch brands. In fact, they are only just reaching their 27th birthday! However, that does not mean in their comparatively short existence they haven’t left their mark in the watch industry! Created in 1992 as a university project between lifelong friends Bruno Belamich & Carlos A. Rosillo with the aim of creating effective and rugged time pieces with: “function shapes and form.” Initially, collaborating with the reputable German brand Sinn to create their image and finally began selling pieces to the public in 1994 featuring both companies’ brand names on the dial. This partnership only came to an end when Bell & Ross opened their own manufacturing facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 2002. Their watches became inextricably linked with robustness and reliability with Bell & Ross watches being adopted by pilots, divers, astronauts and specialist bomb disposal teams. Setting a world record for deep diving with a watch capable of reaching 11100 metres underwater due to a special oil that filled the inside of the watch. With their popularity further growing in 2005 following the release of their cockpit instrument inspired square timepieces for Pilots resembling vintage cockpit instruments with 4 obvious screws on the case imitating the screws used to install classic instruments in vintage aircraft.


These pieces have an instantly unique look, not only due to the square cases but also due to the polished ceramic case materials. As you can clearly see, one in white ceramic, one in black. Here is where the differences in these identical watches appear besides the obvious! The White diamond features polished steel accents that compliment the purity of the polished white ceramic. This can be seen in the steel screws in the case corners, steel lugs, steel ‘&’ branded crown, steel case back and steel bezel. All coming together with the steel in the dial (but we’ll get to that later…). The Black diamond is different though, with the entire case in polished black ceramic with only the dial features in steel. I’ve talked plenty about the advantageous properties of ceramic, being extremely strong as well as scratch and wear resistant and Bell & Ross are masters in the use of ceramic in their cases. While the ceramic cases ensures the watches will keep their immaculate finish and colour, it makes them extremely light. with both watches weighing an incredible 50 grams with their leather straps. For comparison a steel Bell & Ross chronograph weighs just under 150 grams on a material strap. These watches while being on the larger side, have exquisitely effeminate dimensions, sleek and comfortable at 6.8mm tall and 39x39mm across. The short thin lugs and flexible gloss leather strap makes it comfortable on even the smallest of wrists once broken in. The bezel is the most stand out aspect of this watch, set with countless diamonds surrounding the dial it ensures that added opulence and elegance that makes these watches stand out due to more than just the unusual case.



As we examine these elegant pieces in more delicate scrutiny, the more subtle details begin to reveal themselves. Both dials have 4 steps in depth that give the dial a 3D nature despite the thinness of the case. Beginning with the seconds hand sub-dial, the most recessed section of the dial. In both watches it is given an extremely fine turned radial finish but the way this catches light differs, on the Black diamond giving a sunburst effect within the sub-dial yet with the White diamond it shines a slight silver colour not matching the rest of the dial but complimenting exquisitely. the next layer up is a central recessed platform with the “BELL & ROSS” branding in steel on both dials. The next layer is the outer ring, slightly higher than the central inner ring and housing the steel hour markers and 12,3 & 9 numerals all in steel. The polished steel numerals and hands add to the final layer, the different angles of polished steel means unpredictable but controlled reflections and the chamfered indexes and rounded numerals ensures highlights of glowing steel on both dials. The only differences in the handsets are so meticulous most would never notice. On the White diamond, the hands are half sand blasted and half polished, split along the central line adding two angles to the hands. Whilst on the Black diamond the hands on both angles are completely polished, and the seconds hand is white instead of steel, likely to stand out more on the more reflective sub-dial of the Black diamond. The clear dial rehort, lack of a minute track and minimal printing on the sub-dial maintains the cleanliness and minimalistic appearance of the dial. 



Both pieces are fitted with glossy, hand made leather straps with a noticeable taper from 24mm down to 18mm at the buckle. The wide strap width for a ladies watch further adds to the unique and standout appearance of this watch where straps for women’s watches are generally very thin at between 10-16mm lug width.


There isn’t all too much to talk about with the movements. Concealed behind the solid case back and working away quietly, both pieces are fitted with the Bell & Ross work horse calibre BR-CAL.102 Quartz movements. Ensuring the watches maintain Swiss accuracy and reliability at all times. 


We are guilty of neglecting women’s watches on The Watch Source Blog which is a shame, we miss a whole separate world of the Watch industry. These pieces illustrate just that, maintaining Bell & Ross’ signature aesthetic (generally marketed towards men) yet expertly engineering it into an exquisitely feminine piece. And the contrast we have comparing these two watches that at first glance appear identical (except the obvious) are in reality, worlds apart in the diminutive details!

If you want to be the next owner of either of these decorous watches, view them to buy at our Pre-Owned site Or, to simply enjoy these stunning pieces, view our extensive in-house photography of the watches below in the Gallery.

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