Category: Bell and Ross Watches
Bell & RossBR V2-92 ORANGE
The new Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Orange sports watch features the graphic signature of the dial of the very recent BR V2-92 Full Lum. It incorporates the same indexes, numerals and hands that light up in the dark.
It spotlights an orange dial just like the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Orange, the Diver who initiated the Orange family in 2020. The BR V292 Orange is the second element of this collection. These two watches have the colour orange in common.
Their emblem is the surfboard for one and the skateboard for the other. Skateboard and surfboards are two equivalent sliding accessories, one land-intended for the macadam, the other aquatic, for the ocean.
The BR V292 Orange watch is characterised by the Pop colour of its dial, a very pure and bright orange.
On the BR V2-92 Orange, the combination of this bright colour and the black outlines of the hands, numerals and indexes, offer optimal reading. Readability has always been one of the fundamental qualities of Bell & Ross instrument watches.
The BR V2-92 Orange pays tribute to the world of skateboarding. Its neo-retro design and its Pop colour associate it with this stylish sport, born in California in the 70s. The roundness of its case evokes in particular the roundness of the wheels of a skateboard.
Its rubber strap with a “braided” tropical print is reminiscent of the grip that covers a skateboard deck. The BR V2-92 Orange is also available with an integrated full steel bracelet.
The BR V2-92 Orange is a sports watch whose objective is readability and reliability. This classic 41 mm steel watch has an assertive neo-retro character. It features the Bell & Ross elegant Vintage case with timeless rounded lines.
Ready for action, this novelty is well suited to outdoor activities. Robust, designed for sport, it is water-resistant to a depth of 100 m.
The BR V2-92 Orange is powered by the self-winding BR-CAL.302 calibre. Reliable and precise, this mechanism displays the hours, minutes and seconds by central hands and the date in an aperture. Its notched bidirectional rotating bezel is used to set benchmarks in time.
Previously available in black, blue, and grey, the fourth addition the BR 05 Skeleton family features a green-tinted crystal that offers a view into the skeletonized dial. The olive green crystal gives you a look at the BR-CAL.322 automatic movement, which has a 38-hour power reserve. The watch features a 40mm stainless steel case that’s fitted to a steel bracelet or a khaki green rubber strap to match the dial.
The “Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Green collection” by Bell & Ross keeps expanding on the skeletonized theme. Back in 2019 they released a steel skeletonized dial, which recently was followed up by a more luxurious gold version. Now they’ve added a green skeletonized dial, thanks to the use of an intermediate tinted sapphire crystal.
The 40mm case comes in the iconic Bell & Ross circle in a square format, made of stainless-steel with a mix of vertically brushed surfaces and polished accents. While mounted to the case is a fixed rounded out square bezel with exposed screws.
On the flip-side we have an exhibition case back, which allows a view into the inner workings of the mechanical movement and continues the exposed theme found on its dial.
It comes equipped with a setting-crown surrounded by crown guards, which give the case an overall concise and compact look. The crown has also been engraved with the ampersand logo that Bell & Ross is renowned for. All topped by a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, which assists with water-resistance reaching up to 100 meters (330 feet).
Time is exhibited on a skeleton dial that appears to be green due to it being directly under an intermediate olive green-tinted sapphire crystal. Meanwhile getting a reading on the current time is facilitated by an inner flange with floating steel applied hour index markers.
Hovering over the upper half of the dial is the “Bell & Ross” logo engraved directly on the top sapphire crystal in white font. The central steel hour, minutes hands and hour index markers have all undergone a luminescent filling, for an enhanced legibility.
The “ Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Green ” (Ref#: BR05A-GN-SKST) is powered by the self-winding mechanical movement, caliber BR-CAL.322 with 25 jewels and 28,800 Vph. It is based on the classic Sellita SW3000-1, but specifically modified for this Bell & Ross edition. Power reserve on this watch can last up to 38 hours, when fully wound. Mounted on the watch is an integrated stainless-steel bracelet, secured to the wrist by a three-fold clasp. An optional green striped rubber strap with a steel folding clasp is also available with a more accessible price-tag.
This is a limited edition of only 500 manufactured timepieces. For more up to date information visit the official Bell & Ross website here.
Bell & Ross has launched a watch for cigar lovers with the Edición Limitada, a nod to the Spanish-speaking Island of cigars – otherwise known as Cuba.
Based on the BR 05, the chronograph is aimed at what the brand describes as a “chic, stylish dandy and urban epicurean.”
The BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada chronograph echoes the spirit of the previous Edición Limitada and is inspired by the world of Havana cigars.
If this watch were a cigar, it would be the famous Robusto Maduro. A cigar is defined by two main elements: the colour of its wrapper and its module.
With its rounded square corners and 42mm case, the BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada chronograph evokes the Robusto cigar, a famous thick, short cigar with a square tip.
Matte brown dresses up the dial with the colour here evoking the tobacco leaf surrounding the cigar while gold covers the small, subtle details, like the outside of the chronograph counters.
Red can be found on the stopwatch hands, inducing the cigar bands. As a nod to the cigar’s roots, the Edición Limitada inscription on the dial is written in red and in Spanish.
The colour code used is also a way to separate different functions, a Bell & Ross signature design detail. The two stopwatch hands are dressed in red.
The large central hand measures the seconds, while the small hand on the counter at 9 o’clock measures the stopwatch minutes.
The counter at 3 o’clock houses a small golden hand which displays the seconds: no risk of confusion.
In terms of materials, gold features on the bezel and strap links and the case and the rest of the strap are made of steel.
Available in two strap variants, there is a brown rubber entry level strap as well as a more luxurious 4N rose gold and steel to match the case and bezel.
A refined chronograph, the BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada houses a self-winding BR-CAL301 movement.
The diver watch continues its legacy as one of the most iconic watch designs in timepiece history, with countless brands manufacturing their own variations. Born from the sky and deepest depths of the ocean, the Bell & Ross Collection features an array of luxury watches that cater to any lifestyle. Bell & Ross is proud to present the newest addition to its line of diver watches, the new BR 03-92 White. The new BR 03-92 features a 42mm case design crafted from polished stainless steel and holds an impressive 300-meter water resistance. Under the black ceramic rotating bezel, the silver opaline dial design clearly highlights the time and date functions of the BR 03-92.
Driving power to the new diver watch is Bell & Ross’ in-house BR-CAL.302 automatic movement, which provides an impressive 38-hour power reserve for those with an extensive collection. The covered back of the BR 03-92 includes engravings that signify the watch’s specs, along with branded logos to highlight the special release. With function in mind, Bell & Ross adds a thick black rubber strap to the constriction of the BR 03-92 diver watch. The new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 White is currently available through an authorized dealer with a price tag of $3,990. Check back into duPont REGISTRY Daily for more upcoming luxury watch news and releases.
For 2015, Bell & Ross has updated the BR 01 collection with the BR-X1 (hands-on here) which takes the classic square-shaped cockpit instrument-inspired Bell & Ross watch design and renders it in its most modern look ever. aBlogtoWatch staff members were surprisingly satisfied with the Bell & Ross BR-X1 despite the watches being on the pricier side of what we’ve come to expect from the brand. So, in the spirit of very high-end Bell & Ross watches, here is the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon – which comes in four limited editions all costing well over $100,000.
Bell & Ross is no stranger to the tourbillon, having created a few such models over the years, starting with some interesting movements developed for them by movement specialists in Switzerland. You’ll see the base movement in the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon sitting in other watches produced in the luxury watch industry – and to be honest, among them, the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon is not wildly priced (comparatively speaking, that is). Bell & Ross hasn’t quite had the thunder it did a few years ago, but we still believe they make some very compelling products. So why a new tourbillon, and why now?
When meeting with Bell & Ross, you get the idea that things are changing. People might be moving internally, and overall, there is the sense that top-level management has decided to shake things up… so maybe some people are nervous (I don’t really know). What I can, however, predict is that the customer is going to win. Either there will be better marketing and a more concentrated product collection, or a total business revamping of the brand with new people and new ideas. So maybe these Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillons are the last hurrah of the “old” way at Bell & Ross. Maybe these are the pinnacle of what the BR 01 collection has come to. They even come – for what I believe is the first time… with diamonds. Yes, folks, that is right. The cockpit instrument panels of the future will ALL be lined with diamonds. So many bright things to look forward to.
It really does feel like a farewell party for the BR 01 on its 10th anniversary. I suppose, there are so many out there that Bell & Ross could take a break from making them for a while, wait for demand to catch up, and then bring them back by “popular demand.” Thanks, Corum Bubble! It is true what people say. Everyone does love a good comeback, and if anyone knows that better than the watch industry, I would like to meet them. Brands today are looking at what happens in the vintage market to, perhaps, end product collections, only to plan on bringing them back in the future. The vintage appeal of tomorrow might be much more calculated that the appeal of many vintage watches today.
Again, take all of this with a grain of salt. I have no idea what Bell & Ross is planning on doing. I’m just having a conversation with myself over what they might do to combat what some have said is a bit of brand stagnation. I mean, these are smart people running a major business; if things aren’t going right, they move the direction of the ship a bit. Going back to the Bell & Ross BR-X1 case, it is the same 45mm-wide size of the BR 01 but with a wildly different design which looks like a watch version of a Transformer. This is like Hublot DNA got into Bell & Ross and had fun. And that isn’t a bad thing. This is a great look for Bell & Ross, and helps show that it can be done with a square watch case design. That really isn’t easy.
Of course, the case is a bit thicker, but that isn’t too big of a deal, given how tall some people like their watches to be. You have to understand that a decade ago when Bell & Ross first released the BR 01, people freaked out about the size. No, I never did, but some people were offended by the idea. What Bell & Ross didn’t realize was that it was ushering in a market for the much higher-end nice luxury sport watch industry that goes up to Richard Mille. The coolest “functional” elements of the case design are the switch-style chronograph pushers. They work very well, but you can get them with the BR-X1 non-tourbillon models. For the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillons, Bell & Ross is only making the cases in either titanium or 18k rose gold.
On the wrist, I think they look really cool. They aren’t for everyone, but they have a great presence and are going to be very good for those who want a modern military style with a bit more grace than some of the competition that goes a bit overboard on the small details. Straps are rubber with a layer of alligator in them. It sounds weird, but wears really well. The brand calls the movement in the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon the caliber BR-CAL.283, or just the “283.” It has a rather plain back but a great dial with a lot of decoration. Manually wound, it has 4 days of power reserve operating at 3Hz (21,600 bph). Functions include the time with subsidiary seconds dial via the tourbillon, 30-minute monopusher chronograph that only uses the subdials (sorta cool), and a power reserve indicator. Overall, it is a decent movement that is nice to look at through the skeletonized dial. It also has a welcome small degree of originality in the layout of the dials and hands. If you are interested in those diamond versions I mentioned earlier, then you have them available both in the titanium and 18k rose gold versions of the watch. Each adds 46 large baguette-cut stones around the bezel. Yes, it looks weird, but it also looks like something a cool Bond villain might wear. I even like that the case is water resistant to 100 meters. So many of these so called “sport” watches have crap water resistance even though they look like space ships. Is it so much to ask for durability in high-end sport watches? I mean $100,00 and you can’t wash your hands with it? What’s the point? They don’t have, say, decorative pickup trucks. All the luxury ones have at least some off-road cred. Why can’t the luxury industry do that with expensive sport watches?
Recently, Bell & Ross introduced a bolder, stronger, more masculine and robust edition of its iconic square watch (the BR-01, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year). This watch, called the Bell & Ross BR-X1 features first a skeletonized chronograph movement but mainly a complicated, modular and strong case (that also exists in forged carbon). This watch illustrates the wish of B&R to fight in another league, the heavyweight class, and to reach other customers. And this is now even more true with the latest addition to the collection, a skeletonized, monopusher chronograph with tourbillon. Here is the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon. Available in titanium or in 18k pink gold, with or without diamonds on the bezel and In the same muscular 45mm case of the BR-X1, Bell & Ross adds one of the most (if the most) complicated movements they ever had in one of their watches. The brand already introduced some tourbillons (like this unique edition for Only Watch 2015) or some cool chronographs but never Belamich and Rosillo (the two founders) went that far. If the BR-X1 Chronograph was the stud, the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Monopusher is the hammer that finishes the job. Let’s first talk about the main piece of interest of this watch: its movement. A chronograph with a tourbillon is already an impressive engine, but when you add to the package some interesting complications like a visible column wheel at 12 and mainly the actuation of the chronograph via a single push-piece, it becomes to be quite stunning. The movement is rather special in its architecture, as for once, all the chronograph pieces (levers, wheels, brake and pinions) are located on the dial side – and this is not a modular construction. Of course the 60-second tourbillon is classically visible at 6, in a large, opened cage adorned with the “&” of Bell & Ross (something common to all the tourbillons made by the brand). The bridges and plates are all coated in black to emphasizes the shiny steel parts and specific wheels (with double spokes). The elements are polished, grained, bevelled… A nice execution that shows the wish to be called haute horlogerie. The movement also brings a specific display, with minutes and hours classically located on the central axis. However, the chronograph is displayed in two separated sub-counters, placed on the upper-half of the dial. This hand-wound Calibre BR-CAL.283 boasts 100 hours / 4 days of power reserve (that can be checked with an indicator at 9). The cherry on the cake: the dial is translucent and then, you can have a view on the movement and see the column-wheel and the levers doing their job when pressing the monopusher. (note: considering the specific display and the specifications of this movement, it makes no doubt that it was outsourced from Akrivia – which is a very wise choice, considering the beauty of the watches made by this young manufacture). Now back to the watch itself. The Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon, as said earlier, is the bold, strong, muscular version of the iconic squared-design imagined by Bell & Ross. The 45mm case comprises several parts, assembled to create a solid “protection box” for the movement. All starts with a central titanium “container” that encases the movement and that ensures lightweight, robustness and water resistance. Around it are added the cover, bezel, attachments, thumb rest, bumpers, crown guards, crown and caseback, meaning a modular construction allowing to play with different materials and colours (for instance, the normal Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph was mixing titanium with black ceramic and red accents). Here, the choice is between grade 5 titanium and 18k rose gold (both versions are also available in jewel-encrusted versions with 46 baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel). According to the chosen edition, the dial matches the case. The titanium edition plays on multiple shades of grey while the 18k gold edition brings several details matching the case’s material (hands, indexes and sub-counters rings are all in pink gold). Finally, both editions of the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Monopusher are mounted on a strap mixing rubber with alligator leather inserts.
At Baselworld 2017, Bell & Ross unveiled a number of very cool watches, including the BR03-92 Diver and the new Vintage Collection, all pieces that were completely in the vein of the brand’s DNA. Another watch was (discreetly) shown though, a watch that was quite unexpected and unusual. Fitted with a slim tourbillon movement, wound by a micro-rotor, built around a concept of transparency, and mixing a certain elegance with bold elements, with a quite unique construction for the case… This watch is the Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor, and today we take a closer look at it.
Let’s first have a look at the BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor on its own. What we have here is a watch that is part of the “X-factor” concept by Bell & Ross; watches that are created with complex movements, complex construction and no compromises on technical solutions or price (relatively-speaking of course). The X-collection was first introduced in 2014, with the BR-X1 Skeleton Chronograph, a watch to be seen as the most technical and boldest proposition of the brand, with a modular case and a skeletonized chronograph movement. The idea will soon be derived with a tourbillon-chronograph movement, and last year, the brand revealed a full sapphire version of this watch (and this time, it really made no compromises on the price… close to half a million Euros). This crazy watch thus opened the door for other creations, and the new BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor is part of it.
This watch shows a quite unique construction. Contrary to the production of standard watches, where the movement is enclosed in a case with at least 3 parts (central container, bezel, caseback) on which sapphire crystals are attached, the BR-X2 is built around a different architecture. The movement and the case are in fact close to being a one-piece element and on this central module, two sapphire crystals are directly screwed – acting like a bezel and a caseback. In a more detailed way, rather than to enclose it, the steel case frames the movement on its periphery, creating an outer protection. The case and the movement are an almost seamless assembly. See the technical drawing below to understand:
This central module is framed on both sides by two thick sapphire crystals (which in fact represent more than half of the watch’s thickness). Thanks to polished, bevelled sides and clear gaskets, the BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor offers great transparency in all angles. 4 functional screws create the final assembly and give the watch its solidity and water resistance (50m, which is respectable considering the specific architecture of the watch). As you can see on the image above, the case is just a steel band that frames the square-shaped movement and that comprises the lugs. A sort of monobloc construction.
The Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor also makes a signifgicant impression because of its proportions. While the case measures 42.5mm x 42.5mm – meaning visually quite large on the wrist, as squared cases tend to feel larger – it wears well thanks to extremely short lugs. The most impressive specification concerns the thickness of the watch, at 8.9mm – which is impressive indeed, considering that the thinnest automatic tourbillon on the market right now is a Breguet, with a 7mm profile.
This was possible because of the construction of the case, the thinness of the movement itself (4.05mm) and the absence of a dial. Indeed, the front side of the Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor is the main-plate of the movement, on top of which a circular brushed flange with integrated indexes has been applied. All of this creates a highly technical, almost industrial look, which dramatically contrasts with the elegant proportions of the watch – I’ve seen it worn with a suit and tie and it makes great impression and at the same time it fits under a shirt’s cuff…
The dial side displays the hours and minutes as well as the flying tourbillon at 6 – with a pretty nice decoration, as it is bevelled and polished, but also a cool shape with the “&” of Bell & Ross integrated into the cage. As no dial is present, the front of the watch is highly technical, with several finishes usually found on the caseback – vertically and circularly brushed, sand-blasted, circular-grained – and several technical elements remain unhidden, such as the winding mechanism and the bridge for the keyless works.
The movement inside the Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor is exclusive to this watch. As with all tourbillon movements found in Bell & Ross watches, the BR-CAL.380 has been developed together with MHC Manufacture Haute Complication, a Geneva-based movement-designer, which also takes care of the assembly (remember that Bell & Ross is not a movement manufacturer and has never claimed to be one). Based on an existing (round) architecture, MHC gave the movement a squared-shape to perfectly adapt to the style of the watch. Technically-speaking, it features a one-minute tourbillon, an automatic winding via dense tungsten alloy micro-rotor, and it boasts a 50-hour power reserve. It measures 36mm x 36mm with a low thickness of 4.05mm.
In terms of look and decoration, Bell & Ross chose for an industrial, technical look rather than going for the classical Haute-Horlogerie style. The calibre of the Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor is deliberately quite rough and monochromatic. Bridges are vertically brushed, bevels are sand-blasted and the wheels are rhodium-plated. This doesn’t mean that the decoration is “easy”, as for instance gears and wheel are circular grained and their spokes are bevelled. In the same vein, the tourbillon and its cage are brushed on top and polished on edges. While this decoration can’t be called haute-Horlogerie or hand-made, it is pleasant, made accordingly to the overall style of this watch and in line with the price.
Conceived as an affordable entry into the world of the integrated-bracelet, luxury-sports watches, the BR 05 was first launched in steel, priced at a little under US$5,000.
Now the brand has just taken the covers off the decidedly more lavish BR 05 Blue Gold, which is rendered in the trendy colour combination of a metallic blue dial with a rose gold case, and even a matching gold bracelet.
When it made its debut last year, I found the BR 05 to be as good looking as it was controversial. At a glance the design is redolent of the usual suspects in the luxury-sports watch genre. However, there’s originality to the design that is less noticeable, such as the bezel derived from the quintessential Bell & Ross (B&R) wristwatch, the square BR 01. And the case finishing on the steel BR 05 is well done; not overly complicated yet managing to have well defined edges.
All of those qualities carry over to the rose-gold variant, which coupled with the blue, sunburst-brushed dial, results in a compelling watch. But the price is far from compelling. At US$32,500 on a bracelet (and US$11,000 less on a rubber strap), the BR 05 in gold is expensive, especially since the competition is very, very strong.
It is cheaper than the Royal Oak or Overseas in solid gold, but the difference doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch at this level. The Overseas in gold, for instance, costs a little over US$46,000.
While the value proposition in terms of the movement and finishing is not as compelling at this price point – and that is probably not the point of an all-gold watch anyway – the BR 05 in gold is handsome.
Compared with pricier alternatives from Audemars Piguet or Vacheron Constantin, the BR 05 case design is less nuanced but still nicely detailed. The case is a square with rounded edges, avoiding complicated geometric shapes and angles, but finished with sharp, polished bevels on all edges. The bezel is wide and flat, with four large bolts at each corner – a trademark element taken from the BR 01. But while straightforward, the case construction and finishing is excellent. Like most B&R cases, it is made by G&F Chatelain, a case specialist that also supplies bigger, more exotic names like Richard Mille and MB&F. The quality of the case finishing is accented by the rich tone of pink gold, giving it a more upscale look than the steel model.
The case is sized exactly the same as the steel version, 40 mm by 10.4 mm, giving it a compact profile on the wrist. And the movement is the BR-CAL.321, which is a Sellita SW300 fitted with an open-worked rotor.
About a year and a half ago, French brand Bell & Ross made an unexpected and bold foray into the market of sports watches with integrated bracelets. Personified by the BR 05 collection, the idea was to merge the classic design cues of the brand – the square case, the military roots – with a more modern and urban direction. And in our eyes, it succeeded. Following the inaugural models, Bell & Ross also released a chronograph model and, today’s topic, a new blue-coloured version of the BR 05 Skeleton.
The Bell & Ross BR 05 concept is, on paper, pretty simple… but also pretty risky. The idea was to use the most iconic elements of the brand’s design language and to implement them into the ultra-popular style of the luxury sports watch with an integrated bracelet. In short, B&R decided to create a watch in the spirit of the times, still recognizable as a B&R but to be worn in the city and not on a battlefield or inside a jet fighter’s cockpit. Easier said than done. Drastically changing category never comes without risk and, from experience, we also know that entering the luxury sports watch market, without copying existing icons, can be complex.
Still, Bell & Ross showed creativity and managed to highlight the key assets of a sports watch – the relatively thin steel case, the simple display, the mix of sportiness and luxury, the mandatory integrated steel bracelet and an overall very nice execution – in a watch that was still fully identifiable as a Bell & Ross, thanks to the integration of the square case, functional screws and round dial opening, as well as numerals and indexes identical to the brand’s pilot’s watches.
In addition to the classic (understand closed dial) models and the more masculine, bolder chronograph version, the Paris-based brand also included an openworked version in the collection, and today we look at a model launched in mid-2020, the BR 05 Skeleton Blue.
Basically, we’re looking at a different movement and a dial that reveals the mechanics. Other than that, the BR 05 Skeleton is identical to the time-and-date versions with the precision-executed 40mm square case topped by a flat square bezel with four functional screws. Most of the case is finely brushed, with vertical brushed flat surfaces and horizontal brushed casebands. This matte finish is dynamized by large polished bevels running on the sides of the bezel and mid-case and the whole habillage not only feels solid but beautifully done. The crown is protected by a square-ish module and screws down for a comfortable 100m water-resistance.
Essentially the same watch as the limited-edition Skeleton presented in 2019, the BR 05 Skeleton Blue brings a splash of colour to a previously monochromatic model. The blue-tinted sapphire dial gives it a bolder look; it should be noted that the colour comes from the dial, not the movement, which is grey. This transparent background offers a view on the movement, with a mainplate opened upon B&R requirements (the pattern is unique to the brand). The mechanics are nicely if industrially finished, with a vertical brushed surface. The dial is framed by a circular brushed inner flange where the applied metallic rounded baton markers appear to float above the movement. The hands and indexes are filled with Super-LumiNova and the date function has been removed.
Available, like the rest of the collection, on an integrated stainless steel bracelet, we had the version on a rubber strap. While the closed dial models are, in my opinion, better looking on a steel bracelet, the more complex style of the dial and its colour are better paired with the textured blue rubber strap offered by Bell & Ross. It is well integrated with the case and is very comfortable. It is closed by a folding clasp. Inside the case is the well-known Sellita SW 300 base movement. This alternative to the ETA 2892 has been visually modified but retains its specifications, meaning a 4Hz frequency and 42h of power reserve. The sapphire back reveals an openworked rotor coated in blue with matte-finished bridges.
New collection from Bell & Ross, joining the bandwagon of luxury sports watch. The new BR 05 collection is based on the iconic BR 05 square case, and continues to bear the brand’s watchwords of legibility, functionality, reliability and precision. We had a sneak look of the new collection during Baselworld, but as it was under embargo (until minutes ago!), we had to keep mum. We also had a few days with the pre-release models for photography and here is our hands-on review. With photographs of the actual watch. A total of 4 models are released with stainless steel cases – a navy blue dial, a deep black dial, a silver grey dial and a skeleton dial. Plus a gold model.
The BR 05 is created to feature an integrated case: the bracelet fuses with the case to create a unified piece. In the words of Bruno Belamich, Bell & Ross’ co-founder and creative director: «This integration of case and bracelet is not only in line with the brand’s visual identity, it also brings another dimension to the watch: the first link forms part of the case. This type of design harks back to the Seventies, and when transposed to Bell & Ross, it creates a result with a graphic style which is both striking and modern.”
While the base case structure is based on their iconic square instrument style BR-03 case, the new case also draws from the other iconic pieces in the market. Comparison is perhaps drawn to the industry giants of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. And perhaps to a lesser extent to the various Panerai Luminor, Vacheron Constantin Overseas and the Girard Perregaux Laureato. But also indeed with the grand daddy of them all – the Cartier Santos, designed in 1904 by Louis Cartier made a special watch for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont.
But the BR 05 updates all those designs. The BR 05 case is delivered in a modern dimension of a 40 mm square. Which is rather angular in design, with the rounded edges of the square literally taking the edginess out of the design, making it look very sleek. The satin-finished surfaces are perfectly flat. The polished bevels emphasize and enhance the volumes they contain. The crown guard are two pieces of sculptured steel, screwed on the case sides, perhaps taking the cue from the Cartier Santos.
The curves have a nice feel as one runs one’s fingers over it. The sensations of the textured satin finish juxtaposes nicely with the polished, and the straight lines contrast nicely with the curves.
The bracelet itself is a work of art, with alternating satin finished and polished surfaces. The final bracelet feels remarkably flexible and comfortable on the wrist, and a testament to the craftsmanship needed. We were reliably told by the BR team that this is perhaps the most complicated part of the watch. Particular attention has been paid to the arc of the curve, allowing all the components to be perfectly aligned and ensuring the bracelet can adapt seamlessly to any wrist.
The dial is classic Bell & Ross style, with emphasis on good clarity and legibility. The numerals in Arabic are at 6, 9, and 12, while huge bar indices infilled with luminous material mark the other hours. No minute track is provides and this reduces obfuscation. The hour and minute hands are huge batons infilled with generous luminous material. As a result the design goal of good legibility is met with ease, even on the tone-on-tone model which features the silver grey dial. As expected, readability and legibility is outstanding on the black dial version as well as the version with the navy blue dial. The BR 05 range is equipped with a BR-CAL.321 mechanism, wound by a 360° oscillating weight, openworked to allow the movement to be admired in full.
The movement is the new BR-CAL.321 which is a basic automatic movement based on the Selitta SW300 with special finishes. The balance wheel and hair spring is “chronometer type”, according to the specifications sheet. The rotor is also reworked into a circular oscillating weight, and completely covers the movement but at the same time allows peeks to view it through the skeletonized design.
As is expected from BR and in this price category, the movement finishing is adequate and judged at a level demanded by competent engineering. We expect the movement be robust to be able to withstand the rigors of being a daily beater and will run for many years without intervention, bar for regular maintenance service and for it to keep good time. As mentioned, the landscape is a heavily populated one. And one where many of the watchmaking industry icons live. We have already mentioned that it bears more than a passing resemblance to the AP Royal Oak, especially the bracelet. But also to the PP Nautilus and perhaps even the Aquanaut, the VC Overseas, the GP Laureato, and perhaps even the numerous Hublots like the Big Bang Sang Bleu.
However, these watches feather a higher level of haute horlogerie finishing and are targeted at a rather higher end of the market, with commensurate pricing. So, we think perhaps, not direct competitors.
The list continues, and perhaps it is with the IWC Ingenieur, the numerous Panerai Luminor base models, the various Rolex and Tudor sports models that the competition is more directly confrontational, but to these, the BR05 bears little physical resemblance.There remains perhaps one more direct competitor, from an established haute horlogerie brand which will launch on October 1, which we have been privy to and have had our week of hands on and for photography, but we are not able to disclose yet. That new line is remarkably similar, though the visual cues are totally different. We think that might perhaps be the most direct competition to the BR-05. The Bell & Ross BR 05 is an intelligently designed sports watch which is targeted at the demands of the urban explorer. The watch is built to withstand the rigors of daily life in the city, and boasts a resolutely urban
look and feel. The lines of its case are nice and clean, a combination of round and square, the basic geometric shapes that form part of Bell & Ross’ identity. While the DNA of the brand is apparent and very strong, the signals from other marques in the same crowded space is also almost equally strong. As mentioned, hints of the AP RO, the PP Nautilus floats in, though the BR 05 does not sport an octagonal bezel like the Genta designs, yet, the identity is still rather plausible, however oblique. But take it for what it is. A reasonably priced, sporty watch which meets the demands of a busy urban lifestyle, while looking sleek and handsome, the BR 05 certainly presents well. It wears well, is very comfortable on the wrist. It is quite stylish. And is robust enough to easily deal with the urban lifestyle.