In time to be considered as a Father’s Day gift (or self-purchase), Bell & Ross introduces two handsome additions to its BR 05 collection of rounded-square watches with integrated bracelet, which the watchmaker introduced last year. One new model features a newly blue sapphire crystal while a second new BR 05 recalls the two-tone gold and steel case watch designs of decades past.

The new Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Blue.
The new Bell & Ross Black, Steel and Gold, here on a rubber strap.

You might recall that the BR 05 collection debuted as Bell & Ross’s ode to the groundbreaking integrated steel watches of the 1970s.

Essentially an evolution of its cockpit-inspired BR 03, the BR 05 has Bell & Ross placing its very identifiable 12-6-9 dial numerals (though not on the skeleton models) and four bezel screws exactly where you’d expect them on a Bell & Ross aviation watch. Bell & Ross then frames all these well-known elements with a new curved, polished round bezel and a soft-cornered 40mm square case. Bell & Ross then nicely integrates the new, rounded square case directly into a new steel bracelet.

Blue window

One new BR 05 model blues the sapphire crystal of the existing BR05 Automatic Skeleton, offering a full view of the openwork caliber. With satin-finishes and polished beveling, the skeletonized caliber both reflects and catches light, which on this new model is filtered blue.

While reading the time can be a challenge with some skeleton watches, Bell & Ross avoids this by removing the large numerals and adding hard-to-miss metal appliqué indices and SuperLuminova-filled hands onto the new watch’s blue dial.

As with the first BR 05 automatic skeleton, Bell & Ross also utilizes an open-worked, Sellita-based Caliber BR-321 to create the Caliber BR-322 inside the new watch, which is then finished with satin and polished surfaces.

From the back of the watch, you’ll find a clear view of the caliber and its unusual 360° blue-coated, open-worked oscillating weight. Bell & Ross is offering the watch as a limited edition of 500 on either a flexible steel bracelet or a ribbed blue rubber strap.

Price: $6,400 on blue rubber strap; $6,900 on a satin-polished steel bracelet

Two-tone case

The second new model, the BR 05 Black Steel and Gold, introduces a slightly ritzier look to the collection with its 1980s-style two-tone dress. Bell & Ross combines satin finishing, polished steel and 18-karat rose gold to create the somewhat retro style, further enhanced with a black dial.

Bell & Ross accents the watch’s black dial with a lovely satin-finished rose gold bezel and rose gold applique numerals, rose-gold-outlined indices and SuperLuminova-set skeletonized hour and minute hands. All the satin-finished rose gold here nicely offsets the polished case and bracelet accents.

The look of this new collection, particularly with its gold-framed numerals and indices, is somewhat more luxurious than its ‘two-tone’ description would indicate.

The new model reaches perhaps the halfway mark to the luxuriousness of the $32,500 all-gold BR 05 that Bell & Ross included within the collection’s launch last year. And while I haven’t had the opportunity to feel the new watches, I’d guess the rose gold here would also add a bit of heft when compared to the all-steel BR 05 models.   

Echoing all the BR 05 models, this Black Steel and Gold model features a clear caseback exposing a 360° rotor, which on this new model is coated with ruthenium.

Prices: $6,500 on black rubber strap; $10,900 on a rose gold and steel bracelet

 

iW Interview:

When Bell & Ross debuted the BR 05 collection last summer, we spoke to Carlos Rosillo, CEO and co-founder of Bell & Ross about the collection. In light of the newest additions to the BR 05 collection during the past month, we’ve reprised his responses to our questions below. 

Bell & Ross co-founders Carlos Rosillo (left) and Bruno Belamich.

Why create the entirely new collection BR 05? What was your goal?

The goal was to develop an intermediate model between the square – our utilitarian icon – and the round – which is universal and generic. With this new line in mind, we did not want to create a city watch, but a Bell & Ross watch made for the city. The BR05 is the subtly square watch for the city.

 

In what ways does the BR 05 design fit in with the Bell & Ross approach to watchmaking?

The inspiration comes from our iconic model, the BR03, which takes essence from the aeronautical cockpits. As a complementary collection and thus still very Bell & Ross, we are keeping our core codes that are the iconic case with a circle in a square, the iconic graphics on the dial with its 12-6-9 figures and the four screws. It is what I consider an evolution of this icon. In the BR05 DNA, there is a piece of dashboard.

 

Who are you appealing to with the new design?

It is a modern watch. So we can easily imagine a young urban man who works in a suit and rides a bike appreciating items with a singular design. It is the ideal timepiece for the man-about-town eager to face the challenges of modern life and in control of time and his destiny.

 

What were the primary challenges you discovered when creating the collection?

The main challenge is to maintain the brand’s fundamentals while innovating constantly. We are evolving in a market where novelty is necessary. The difficulty lay in respecting the proportions and volumes: to design a 40mm case with a mechanical movement and open the dial to emphasize readability.

Why such a distinctive bracelet?

The new BR05 is a perfect blend between our iconic square model and a type of watch in which the case merges with the bracelet to create a compact and harmonious whole. The arc of the curve allow the components to be perfectly aligned and ensures the bracelet can adapt seamlessly to any wrist. All of this makes the BR 05 a jewel.

 

Will BR 05 replace any existing collection?

No, it is indeed the missing link between our two existing collections and case shapes. The round shape is inspired by the history of aviation and the past, and the square for its radical form and for professional use.

We wanted to create a watch with the iconic Bell & Ross case and to merge it with a steel bracelet. The idea was to move from the professional world of the extreme to the urban landscape, a transition from the off-road to the on-road.

 

 

Specifications: Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Blue  

Movement: Automatic Sellita-based Caliber BR-CAL. 322.

Case: 40mm satin-polished steel, sapphire crystal and caseback, 100-meters water resistance.

Dial: Skeletonized with blue crystal, applique indices filled with SuperLuminova, metal skeletonized SuperLuminova-filled hour and minute hands.

Strap: Blue rubber or satin-polished steel with folding satin-polished steel buckle.

Price: $6,400 on blue rubber strap; $6,900 on a satin-polished steel bracelet

 

Specifications: Bell & Ross BR 05 Black Steel & Gold

Movement: Automatic Sellita-based Caliber BR-CAL. 321.

Case: 40mm rose gold and satin-polished steel with sapphire crystal and caseback. Water resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: Black sunray with rose-gold-gilded applique numerals and indices filled with SuperLuminova; rose-gold-gilded skeletonized hour and minute hands filled with SuperLuminova.

Strap: Black rubber or bi-material rose gold and satin-finished and polished steel. Satin-finished and polished folding steel buckle. 

Prices: $6,500 on black rubber strap; $10,900 on a rose gold and steel bracelet 

 

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