As is often the case in watchmaking, the most important events are hidden behind the smallest details. Let’s take the case of Bell&Ross and its update of the BR03 which has just been carried out this fall. Such an update is not trivial because it concerns the brand’s flagship collection. This is why the changes that are made should not upset it. However, they are important from a strategic perspective.
From an aesthetic point of view, the main changes concern the case. The diameter has been reduced from 42 to 41mm while the lugs have been shortened. In order to preserve the harmony of the whole and to add a touch of elegance, the hands have been refined.
The evolution also takes place at the level of the movement since the new BR03 models are powered by the BR-CAL.302 caliber (in fact a Sellita SW300 caliber) whose performance has been revised with a power reserve of 54 hours (compared to 40 hours for the previous version).
Ultimately, the objective of the update is to define a piece that is more comfortable, easier to wear, slightly more refined than the initial version while retaining the spirit and all the recognizable elements of the style of the BR03. It also adds a more practical dimension thanks to the greater power reserve.
All this seems like minor information compared to the release of a new model. Let’s not be mistaken. The example given to us by Bell&Ross perfectly illustrates the need for brands to subtly adapt their flagship collections to market developments. It’s a difficult exercise. We must evolve without distorting. Today’s trends are pushing towards more contained diameters and renderings that we would describe as more “urban” in opposition to more “rough-cut” watches which are less popular. In addition, recently designed movements offer greater power reserves and it is today very difficult for any brand to stay stuck around 40 hours. Is it really that important to increase the power reserve of an automatic watch? From a practical point of view not really, unless you leave your watch on the weekend. But from a commercial point of view, yes, it is a determining factor since it is essential to present performances consistent with market trends.
This update was therefore crucial for Bell&Ross, which otherwise risked suffering an erosion of sales of this major collection in its catalog in the medium term. Evolution was therefore necessary. I have the feeling that it is in any case successful since the new variations of the BR03 respect the aesthetics that made the collection successful while being easier to wear and slightly more elegant on the wrist.