Bell & Ross BR 05

The all new Bell & Ross BR 05 range is currently available in three dial colours, all presented in stainless steel. In addition, there is also a skeleton limited edition and a gold variant on the way. Steve Ashby explores the inspiration behind the timepieces that have taken the watch world by storm since they were released last month.

Bell & Ross BR 05

I love it when a brand punches out something new. I’m not talking about adding a few extra colour variants or even introducing a limited edition to an existing line. No, I’m talking about something entirely new. It shows that the brand is still growing, still developing, still designing, still willing to take risks and, perhaps most importantly, still eager to please its fans.

Bell & Ross BR 05

Image – BR05A-BL-ST/SST

When I first saw a Bell & Ross watch (a BR 03 on a tan leather strap) I wasn’t sure about it, but as a friend once told me, never rule out a watch until you have tried it on. With this advice ringing in my ears, I placed the BR 03 on my wrist and suddenly my opinion changed. This timepiece, based on the appearance of aviation dials found in the cockpit of fighter jets, showcases a round dial within a square case. Although quirky, cumbersome and dramatically oversized for my tiny wrist, it actually looked incredible and proved remarkably comfortable to wear. The longer I looked at it, the more I succumbed to its charms. Today, the idea of buying a Bell & Ross watch that doesn’t feature the brand’s trademark square case somehow seems wrong.

Bell & Ross BR 05

Image – BR05A-BLU-ST/SST

While this new model represents a departure from the styling of models before, it continues to share a family likeness. Despite having only tried on the watch for a few brief moments, I can already say this is a model I have added to my wish list.

Bell & Ross BR 05

Image – BR05A-GR-ST/SST

The Bell & Ross BR 05 timepiece is the brand’s first foray into the luxury sports watch sector. It’s a market segment dominated by the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and there are similarities between both of these watches and the BR 05.

Bell & Ross BR 05

Angular cases, flat satin-finished and polished surfaces and decorative screws adorning the front of the watch are all in evidence. These design elements are deeply set into Bell & Ross’s brand DNA. However, the addition of the new integrated bracelet is a first for the brand, radically changing the aesthetic appearance and subscribing to the aforementioned Nautilus / Royal Oak design language. In my opinion the new bracelet is inspired and looks fantastic. The only thing that surprises me is that Bell & Ross didn’t release the BR 05 sooner.

Bell & Ross BR 05

The collection consists of three core steel models with sunburst dials in either black, blue or silver. All are available on a rubber strap or the integrated bracelet mentioned previously. A skeleton edition (limited to only 500 pieces) is set to arrive later in the year. However, the pinnacle of the collection will arrive in late November when Bell & Ross releases its 18ct rose gold BR 05 version with a black sunburst dial. This variant will be available on a black rubber strap or, for those seeking a real statement watch, a rose gold integrated bracelet.

Bell & Ross BR 05

Image – BR05A-GR-SK/ST/SST

The cases feature slightly more rounded corners than some other Bell & Ross models, but not so rounded that they lose the brand’s signature look. As much as I love the square cases, I can understand why they might not be to everyone’s taste, so going in this direction should result in the brand engaging with a larger audience.

Bell & Ross BR 05

All of the watches house a brand new automatic movement, the BR-CAL.321, which features a simple date indication at the 3 o’clock position. The only exception to this will be the Skeleton limited edition which will incorporate the BR-CAL.322. This latter movement is similar to the BR-CAL.321, but forgoes the date window in lieu of some extra finishing.

Bell & Ross BR 05

When it comes to price, I have to admit I expected the BR 05 series to start at around the £4,500 – £5,000 mark. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the rubber strap variants can be picked up for a mere £3,600 and the bracelet versions won’t set you back much more at just £3,990.

Bell & Ross BR 05

The limited edition Skeleton model will be available for £4,900 on a rubber strap and £5,300 on a bracelet. Naturally, the 18ct rose gold versions will be more expensive, starting at £18,000 supplied on rubber or £27,000 when purchased with the gold bracelet.

Bell & Ross BR 05

Closing remarks.

Words cannot express how much I like these watches. When I read the brand’s press literature, the word I kept seeing was ‘urban’ and to be honest this sums up the watches perfectly. The Bell & Ross BR 05 models are smart enough to be worn for a business meeting or interview, but they also befit casual attire, making them ideal for daily wear.

Bell & Ross BR 05

Since being launched, the watch press has avidly written about how these timepieces resembling other luxury sports watches, all of which come with five-figure pricing. While this new collection shares some design elements with the Nautilus and the Royal Oak, Bell & Ross has still managed to retain its own distinctive and unique design language. Whether it is square or not is a moot point, however one thing is certain, the BR 05 is highly practical, robust and incredibly stylish.

Further reading

https://www.bellross.com/

Technical Specifications

Model: Bell & Ross BR 05 (Steel Variants)

  • Case: Stainless steel
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; day; seconds; date window
  • Movement: BR-CAL.123
  • Strap: Integrated Bracelet or Rubber
  • Price: £3,600 (Supplied on rubber) £3,990 (Supplied on bracelet)

Model: Bell & Ross BR 05 (Skeleton Variants)

  • Case: Stainless steel
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; day; seconds
  • Movement: BR-CAL.122
  • Strap: Integrated Bracelet or Rubber
  • Price: £4,900 (Supplied on rubber) £5,300 (Supplied on bracelet)

Model: Bell & Ross BR 05 (Rose Gold Variants)

  • Case: 18ct Rose Gold
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; day; seconds; date window
  • Movement: BR-CAL.123
  • Strap: Integrated Rose Gold Bracelet or Rubber
  • Price: £18,000 (Supplied on rubber) £27,000 (Supplied on bracelet)