This season, Bell & Ross continues to make the BR 05 a new benchmark in affordable, high-value luxury watchmaking with the new 500-piece limited edition addition to the collection: a blue sapphire dial skeletonized version.
The BR 05, which debuted in late 2019 — although it was secretly shown to pretty much everybody at Baselworld earlier that year — is the watch that currently boasts the aesthetic concepts of the brand, founded by Carlos Rosillo and Bruno Bellamich and its association with horology with aeronautical legacy, but aimed at collectors with more urban-chic tastes, if I may say it like that.
The BR 05 stands out for its eye-catching balance, achieved by all the design highlights. It combines graceful proportions and a modern and beautiful finish. Without a doubt, in a time when new watch designs with integrated bracelets are on the rise, this timepiece by Bell & Ross is the only one that dares to stay close to most of us common folk with a fascinating design, at an attractive price point, which only add to its awesomeness.
The new BR 05 Skeleton Blue is a continuation of the attractive proposal of the original BR 05 Skeleton, launched along with its solid-dial siblings. While the BR 05 can be understood as an aesthetic derivation of the squared-case BR 01 (46 mm) and 03 (43 mm) that we have known for a long time, the BR 05 Skeletons also integrate certain features that associate them with historical Bell & Ross watches, namely the Type Demineur (worn by bomb squads of the French elite troops), which also had an integrated bracelet design.
That Bell & Ross Type Demineur was a professional-grade watch with a 200-meter water-resistant case. It had a barrel-like shape, the classic design of the 1970s that is well remembered in watches such as the Omega Speedmaster MK II and the Zenith A384. The bracelet of today’s BR 05 is a genuine renaissance of the Demineur dual-link metak band and manages well to develop on the evolved aesthetics of the squared “instruments” from Bell & Ross, which as you know, have garnered quite the following.
If anything defines the brilliance of the BR 05’s style, it is the very apparent care that Bell & Ross took in integrating the bracelet with the case. Starting from having a technical design — anchored by a case comprised of three layers — the coupling and articulation implies a very deep and intentional effort. The end result of which is remarkable and seamless. You would well be excused for having thought that this was a banal design exercise to slap a metal bracelet on the Bell & Ross square form.
Being a design that, while keeping its inspirations, wants to look like a cosmopolitan watch, ideal for the urban environment, Bell & Ross had to soften its “dashboard instrument” appearance to make it a clever luxury accessory.
The four screws that hold the bezel are polished, generating a remarkable contrast that further emphasizes their perfect alignment to-wards the geometric center of the watch. The bracelet is equally detailed, with its meticulous brushing, highlighting the H-shaped links with contrasting polished central nodes.
Overall, the Demineur bracelet design was a passive homage to the great integrated watches of the 70s. If you prefer a straight forward sporty look, the included blue rubber strap is another perfect match for the BR 05 Skeleton Blue.
The transparent blue dial is made of sapphire and has metallic indexes through which the movement can be admired. The hour and minute hands, filled with SuperLuminova, offer ideal readability, despite the technical nature of the and its large open main bridge plate.
The 40 mm case with three sandwiched sections houses the BR-CAL.322 movement, a “lighter” execution derived from the BR-CAL.321, which is based on a reliable Sellita SW300-1 selfwinding caliber.
The BR 05 by Bell & Ross deserves to be on everyone’s short list of those looking for an original and distinctive watch, but one that is accessible and decidedly valuable because of its honest and truly attractive offer. Who would have thought that what began as the BR 01 some 15 years ago would evolve into a story as successful and honest: everything in sight, pure, familiar and forever on point.
Self-winding mechanical; caliber BR-CAL.322; hours, minutes and seconds; 28,800 bah, 38-hour power reserve
Steel, 40 mm; skeletonized dial with blue glass; sapphire caseback, water-resistant to 100 meters
Dual link design in steel; also included with a ribbed blue rubber strap
USD $ 6,900; Available from end of June