Bell & Ross expands its popular, brightly accented Horolum series with a new model based on the watchmaker’s BR 05 collection. The latest model, the BR 05 Horolum, features extra-bright C5 Superluminova coating on its hands and indexes, echoing the extra luminescence added to all models in the Horolum series.
This newest Horolum model recalls the very first Horolum from 2017 that placed extra luminous coating on the markers of a matte-dialed BR 03-92 design. For the new model, Bell & Ross not only includes the extra lume, but also continues to emphasize the series’ matte metallic dial and steel bracelet.
As a 40mm BR 05 design, the new watch inherently includes a steel bracelet, which for this collection is integrated directly into the steel case. Bell & Ross adds a contemporary bead-blasted finish throughout. Of course, Bell & Ross also offers an optional black leather bracelet for its steel BR 05 Horolum.
Bell & Ross explains that its Horolum series features matte finishing to adopt “more urban and more mineral references. Its lines and finish draw on contemporary architecture.”
Whatever your take on the design, it’s clear from the images of the new watch that its photo-luminescent indexes result in perfect clarity in darkness when reading the time.
The watch’s sapphire crystal back allows a view into the automatic Sellita-based CAL.321 with a metal 360-degree rotor designed to echo the look of wheel rims on sports cars.
The Bell & Ross BR 05 Horolum is a limited boutique edition of 250 pieces and is available online or in the fifteen Bell & Ross boutiques around the world. Price: $5,400.
The new watch might look a bit familiar as Bell & Ross earlier this year created a Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch 21 for the Only Watch charity auction.
That model also boasted an impressive sapphire crystal, but did so as it framed an orange-tinted skull. That watch sold at Only Watch for CHF 220,000 (about $240,000), all of which is donated to battle Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Bell & Ross calls the new BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire the “general public” version of that unique piece. Instead of the orange-tinted skull within its 43.5mm by 45mm full sapphire case, the faceted skull is almost as clear as the case.
The well-defined edges of the sapphire case create both reflections and refractions play with any nearby light, which will undoubtedly animate the watch on any wrist. The metallic skull and crossbones appear to float between the case’s two sapphire crystals.
Bell & Ross explains that its designers drew on several sources of inspiration when designing the new case. The include avant-garde design (note the somewhat pixelated skull), origami and, of course, the brand’s historic eye on military shapes. Bell & Ross says the “case is shaped like the fuselage of an American F117 stealth bomber.”
While that latter jet design inspiration is meant to make the Stealth bomber disappear from radar, the shape and makeup of the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire create a watch that, even when worn with its clear rubber strap, is quite unlikely to avoid attention.
Inside Bell & Ross fits its BR-CAL.209 manual-wind automaton movement specifically developed for the watch. The plate and bridges are built to create skull shape, which are held by metallic and sapphire crossbones. And while many watchmakers refer to the spring balance as the ‘heart’ of their mechanical calibers, Bell & Ross calls the exposed balance on the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire the ‘brains’ of its unusual caliber.
Bell & Boss expands its BR 05 collection with two models that offer luxurious options within the BR 05 design, which features a round-edged square case, wide bezel and round dial notably held together with a fully integrated bracelet.
One model, the BR 05 Skeleton, is now available with a full gold 40mm case and gold bracelet. While we’ve seen gold models within the BR 05 collection, this debut finds the skeletonized version with the precious dress for the first time.
This new gold case underscores the BR 05’s mono-case design. Fully 155 grams of gold encase the openwork dial, which gleams with its own gilded attributes.
All the dial’s appliqué indexes and skeletonized hour and minutes hands are coated with gold, as is the movement itself. Bell & Ross then smartly inlays a strip of white SuperLuminova on the hands and indexes with to enhance nighttime visibility.
The movement, a Sellita-based Bell & Ross BR-CAL.322, is wound by a 360° rose gold-plated oscillating weight that has been open-worked. And finally Bell & Ross and imprinted a metallized logo on the watch’s sapphire case-back.
Bell & Ross will make ninety-nine BR 05 Skeleton Gold models with the new gold case. The watch will be offered on the integrated gold bracelet ($34,700) and also with a black rubber strap ($23,700).
BR 05 Diamond
Those who prefer diamonds to gold for their luxury statement can now choose from among three steel-cased Bell & Ross BR 05 Diamond models, which sport the gem set into the bezel around a sunray black BR 05 three-hand dial with date.
Bell& Ross offers three options, all with a fully diamond-set bezel. One model sports a black rubber strap ($10,700) while another attaches a steel bracelet ($11,200). The third new Bell & Ross BR 05 Diamond adds includes the steel bracelet but also adds diamonds to the bracelet’s central links ($21,500).
Inside Bell & Ross places its automatic Sellita-based BR-CAL.321 wound with a 360° oscillating weight visible through a sapphire back.
With the ninth edition of the Only Watch auction only weeks away, we’re reminding readers about the lineup of incredible watches set for auction at the biennial charity event.
This year more than fifty watchmakers have created timepieces for the charity auction, which commences Saturday, November 6, in Geneva. Christie’s will auction these incredible watches to raise funds that benefit research in the battle against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
While you may have seen a few of the watches set for auction earlier this year when Only Watch announced them, we thought you’d enjoy seeing many of these inspired designed again just ahead of the event.
Note than some of our readers may be able to see all the Only Watch offering in person in the weeks just prior to the event.
The watches will tour the globe starting September 22 in Monaco, and can then be seen in exhibitions in Dubai (September 30 to October 3), Tokyo (October 8 to 10), Singapore (October 15 to 20), Hong Kong (October 25 to 27), Macau (October 28) and finally back in Geneva on November 4-6. Click here for details about the Only Watch world tour.
Today, we highlight the offering from Bell & Ross, which has devised this BR01 Cyber Skull Sapphire, an orange-tinged, all-sapphire example of a series of Skull watches Bell & Ross has offered in recent years.
Bell & Ross machined the sapphire case from three blocks of sapphire and created the skull itself from six blocks of sapphire. The Skull dial was metalized on the back with the Only Watch orange color, a hue that also happens to be one of the colors of choice to enhance legibility in airplane cockpits. The back of the watch also features a special engraving for Only Watch.
In addition to clearly impressive sapphire work here, Bell & Ross has added a fun technical feature that will likely bring grins to the wearer. The automaton movement activates the jaw, which opens and appears to snigger when the wearer winds the spring.
Only Watch auction estimate: CHF 90,000 – CHF 110,000.
Watchmakers have been multiplying their automotive and motorsports collaborations in recent years. In this four-part series, we review a few of the most prominent timekeeping/racing alliances.
By Y-Jean Mun-DelSalle
For many connoisseurs, the love for watches and cars often go hand in hand. The similarities are endless: Performance, precision, complex engines, material innovation, new technologies, stunning design and the pursuit of excellence. Horological brands are rarely without a carmaker or racing team by their side.
This is not a new phenomenon. The watch and automobile industries have a long history of collaboration.
Starting out of necessity, watchmakers began working with car manufacturers to supply dashboard clocks. Horological brands then started partnering with motor racing teams as official timekeepers, from recording lap times to race times, and automotive timepieces have become an accepted part of watch companies’ marketing strategies.
Today, watchmakers are creating timepieces to pay tribute to a specific car model, race, racing driver or event. In this special three-part series, we’ll take a closer look at the automotive alliances forged by Bell & Ross, B.R.M Chronographes, Casio, Ernst Benz, Girard-Perregaux, Richard Mille and TAG Heuer.
This week, we highlight Bell & Ross and B.R.M Chronographes.
Bell & Ross
Since 2016, Bell & Ross has partnered with the Renault F1 Team – rebranded the Alpine F1 Team after the famous racing cars. This year Bell & Ross has become its official timekeeper, releasing ultra-sporty watches every racing season.
Launching the Alpine F1 Team collection this year, Bell & Ross welcomes a sixth generation of Renault timepieces. The three A521 chronographs – referencing the current Alpine A521 single-seater – echo Alpine’s visual identity, especially the constructor’s blue, black and white color codes and the advanced materials tested on F1 cars.
Common features may be found on the vintage round BR V3-94 and the square BR 03-94 timekeepers, both in steel: two stopwatch counters reflect the racing car’s wheel rims, the counterweight of the central second hand adopts Alpine’s stylized “A” and a tiny red, white and blue flag at six o’clock recalls Alpine’s French origins.
In a limited edition of fifty pieces, the more sophisticated BR-X1 in titanium, ceramic and rubber showcases ergonomic toggle push-buttons reminiscent of the paddles on a F1 racing car steering wheel, while a rubber shell protects the case from impacts. The open-worked dial offers a glimpse inside the skeleton mechanism that features a symbolic X-shaped central bridge. Alpine F1 Team members will wear these watches throughout 2021.
Last November, Bell & Ross initiated a collaboration with Bollinger Motors, an American electric vehicle maker founded in 2014 by Robert Bollinger. Bell & Ross paired the BR 03-92 Black Matte timepiece with the off-road Bollinger B1 SUV, both taking the square shape, functionality and minimalism to the extreme.
“If the BR 03 were a car, it would be this one,” says Bruno Belamich, Bell & Ross creative director and co-founder. “The Bollinger B1 is to the automobile what the BR 03 is to watchmaking: a 100% utility object designed by engineers for extreme thrill-seekers.”
As a French watch brand with multiple motorsports collaborations, B.R.M keeps strengthening its competitive pedigree and producing timepieces fully embracing the racing spirit so dear to its founder and CEO Bernard Richards. He notes that even during the past year B.R.M hadn’t ceased developing new collaborations and exclusive models.
This year, B.R.M. is still signing partnerships while gradually finding its way back to racetracks and a full calendar of events worldwide. This is an encouraging signal for the future of the independent, family-run manufacture.
Perhaps the most significant news this year for B.R.M. is official timing partnership with DS Techeetah, the most successful Formula E team. For the deal, B.R.M has created a three-hand watch and a chronograph in the colors of the Chinese racing team, each limited to twenty-one pieces.
In North America, B.R.M’s involvement in racing started in 2009 as official timekeeper of the Atlantic Championship. Since then it has participated in pretty much every series in the United States. B.R.M is present at IndyCar with Colton Herta and Steinbrenner Racing, and in Nascar with Santino Ferrucci.
IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe signed on with B.R.M. this year, as did Nascar driver Corey LaJoie. Both drivers co-designed and now wear a special B.R.M watch.
B.R.M also joined forces with Derek DeBoer of the TRG team in SRO GT racing and just released a new watch collection with the Skip Barber Racing School, America’s premier racing school. DeBoer is a brand ambassador for the school.
B.R.M has also collaborated with Corvette and Corvette Racing since 2015, launching multiple timepieces. For the Historic Sportscar Racing series, with which it has partnered since 2014, B.R.M sponsors the Endurance Challenge.
And finally, since 2017, B.R.M has produced numerous models with Martini Racing, whose dials are adorned with the Italian brand’s famous blue and red stripes, matched with B.R.M’s trademark drilled holes on the hands, crown, pushers and strap.
Next Week: Casio and Ernst Benz
Y-Jean Mun-DelSalleis a freelance journalist and editorial consultant who has lived on three different continents. She meets with inspirational individuals in pursuit of excellence: emerging and established artists, designers and craftsmen, engaging entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and the movers and shakers of the world today. She contributes regularly to regional and international titles such as Artsy, Asia Tatler, Design Anthology, Forbes, Portfolio, Robb Report, Shawati’ and Vogue, shining a spotlight in particular on art, architecture, design, horology and jewelry.
Bell & Ross just gave one of its most popular Vintage models a full-dial luminescent treatment. The brand’s new Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM glows with a full base dial of pale green SuperLuminova, assuring full visibility in low light or total darkness.
But Bell & Ross didn’t stop with the green base-dial lume. In addition, the watchmaker has placed a second SuperLuminova color, a metallized pale yellow, on the dial’s skeletonized numerals, indices and primary hands. At the same time, and with clear definition, the 30-minute counter and chronograph seconds hand turn fluorescent blue.
This three-hue lume effectively creates an unusually high level of clarity in low light environments for the retro-styled aviation automatic chronograph. The watch’s luminous trifecta very effectively enhances visibility, in large part due to the strong contrast between the luminescent colors and the black contours of the numerals, indices, hands, and counters.
The watch is the latest in an expanding collection of Bell & Ross LUM models, all of which feature fully luminous dials.
Befitting the retro tag, the Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM’s 41mm steel case is topped with a domed glass-box sapphire crystal. And the bezel, composed of black anodized aluminum, offers a fixed 60-minute scale. Finally, the watch’s nicely proportioned chronograph pushers are screwed down.
Bell & Ross will make 250 examples of the Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM, which will be supplied with a strap made from woven black rubber that provides the final vintage touch to the watch. Price: $5,100 (rubber strap model). A steel bracelet to fit the watch (see below) can be ordered separately for $520.
Specifications: Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2-94 Full LUM
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock and date. Chronograph: 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds.
Case: 41 mm in diameter. Satin-finished and polished steel. Fixed bezel with anodized black aluminum ring and 60-minute scale. Screw-down crown and pushers. Steel and sapphire case-back. Crystal is domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating. Water-resistance to 100 meters.
Dial: Bi-compax-style chronograph layout with luminescent green painted in SuperLuminova. Numerals and indices coated in SuperLuminova. Metal skeletonized yellow SuperLuminova-filled hour, minute and seconds hands.
Strap: Black rubber with pin buckle in satin-finished and polished steel. Also supplied with a steel bracelet.
Price: $5,100. A steel bracelet to fit the watch can be ordered separately for $520.
It goes without saying that Dive Watches are one of the most popular styles of men’s watches sold today. But what many don’t know is that invoking the “dive” moniker actually has legal implications. Writing the word “Divers 200M” or any similar mark with “Diver” written on the dial or case back immediately invokes ISO 6425. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an international body that writes standards for the commercial industry.
Before we get into ISO 6425, let’s talk about dive watches first. In modern times, very few SCUBA divers actually rely exclusively on a wristwatch while underwater. As an example, my own dive master had a beautiful Rolex Submariner on his wrist during classroom lessons, but once we hit the water, the Rolex was replaced with a dive computer.
Before the advent of these modern and multi-function computers, divers relied on their mechanical watches to keep track of the key data points of total time submerged as well as bottom time in order to calculate residual nitrogen in the blood, and determine when, how many, and how long decompression stops should be if needed.
The dive watch, in this case, was performing a critical function, where a malfunction could spell disaster for the diver. This is why the ISO spec was developed, because dive watches were so critically important as instruments that protected the user’s health and safety. Today the analog dive watch continues to be worn while diving, but is more of a fashionable backup in the unlikely case the computer fails.
ISO 6425 is a rigorous specification titled “Horology – Divers’ watches” that supersedes older specs first released in the mid 1990s. In essence, it spells out what qualities a Dive Watch must have, and the methods with which to test them.
Among the tests that ISO 6425 calls for includes, but is not limited to; temperature extremes, day and night visibility, magnetic resistance, salt spray, shock resistance and of course, water resistance. Obviously, we all expect water resistance to be one of the parameters checked. However, since water resistance is so important to the function of the dive watch, the actual pressure (depth) to which the watch is tested is 25% beyond the stated water resistance limit of a particular watch.
For example, a dive watch rated to 200 meters (20atm) is actually tested to 250 meters in order to meet ISO 6425. And it’s not a dry air test. It is a true wet test, with a follow up condensation test to see if any moisture has found its way into the watchcase.
Furthermore, ISO 6425 states that EVERY watch certified to the spec needs to have its own water resistance individually tested. This means that if you are wearing a watch bearing the “Divers” mark on the dial or case back, that particular watch has been tested to 25% beyond the depth stated on the dial. Not a sample, but the very piece you are wearing. This is the ONLY way to ensure it will perform flawlessly under the stresses of diving.
On my YouTube channel I discuss ISO in detail in my Watch and Learn series. In addition to water resistance, another ISO test that was actually quite fun to perform was the requirement that the strap needs to withstand about forty pounds of pull (simulating getting snagged on something) without the spring bars popping or tearing the strap itself. It was a great test to replicate, and the results were pretty eye opening.
So the next time you see the word “Dive” on watch dial, you’ll know that you are looking at an individually proven and tested dive watch that meets or exceeds the ISO 6425 quality standard!
Thank you for reading, and thank you for watching.
Bell & Ross expands the raw sportiness of its Vintage collection this week as it adds the BR V3-94 Black Steel, a black-dialed, steel-cased chronograph measuring 43mm in diameter, which is a two-millimeter boost in case diameter for the popular Vintage series’ Black Steel edition.
While the case size matches that of Vintage V3-94 models within the existing Bell & Ross Renault series, here the watch boasts a steel bezel set with a cleaner black aluminum 60-minute scale and without the Renault-yellow flange and accents.
The new case’s solid strap/bracelet attachment offers buyers a new option with its subtle cushion shape, marginally bolder than the classically round case of the 41mm Vintage BR V2-94 Black Steel.
Of course, with more room on the dial, Bell & Ross moves from the smaller model’s two-register chronograph dial to a more contemporary three-subdial chronograph. Inside you’ll still find the watchmaker’s Caliber BR-CAL.301, an enhanced ETA-based chronograph movement, which Bell & Ross makes visible through a sapphire caseback. White numerals and indexes contrast nicely with the black dial.
Bell & Ross will offer the new BR V3-94 with a polished and satin-finished steel bracelet ($4,600) or with a black leather strap ($4,300).
Specifications: Bell & Ross Vintage BR V3-94
Movement: Calibre BR-CAL.301, and EA-based automatic caliber
Case: 43 mm satin-polished steel, bi-directional rotating steel bezel with anodized black aluminum ring and 60-minute scale. Screw-down crown, sapphire case back, curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, water-resistance to 100 meters.
Dial: Matte black, numerals and indexes coated in SuperLuminova, metal skeletonized SuperLuminova-filled hour and minute hands. Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock and date. Chronograph: 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, central chronograph seconds, tachymeter scale on the flange.
Strap: Black calfskin or satin-polished steel with folding satin-polished steel buckle.
Bell & Ross last week debuted the first chronograph within its retro-classic BR 05 collection.
You might recall that the BR 05 collection, which debuted in 2019, signaled the brand’s entry into the expanding field of Swiss-made 1970s-style steel watches with integrated bracelets.
Directly referencing the groundbreaking integrated steel watches of the 1970s, Bell & Ross’s BR 05 design essentially is an evolution of its cockpit-inspired BR 03. With the first time-only BR 05 collection, Bell & Ross placed its very identifiable 12-6-9 numerals and four bezel screws exactly where you’d expect them on a Bell & Ross aviation watch, and framed them with curved, polished bezel and case edges that nicely meld into a new steel bracelet.
Now with a chronograph option, the BR 05 retains the solidly integrated case and bracelet but adds a familiar chronograph dial layout. The watch’s retro-shaped snailed counters (chronograph minute counter at 9 o’clock and small seconds at 3 o’clock) between the 12 and 6 on the dial echo the BR 05’s case, which now measures 42mm in diameter, up from the 40mm of the debut collection.
Designing the chronograph challenged Bell & Ross to add pushers to a case it built to present fluid lines and curves. By flattening the pushers, smoothing their edges and essentially incorporating them within the case, Bell & Ross handily met that challenge.
Bell & Ross finishes the new BR 05 chronograph with flat satin-polished surfaces and polished bevels. The effect is more dressy than sporty, though the optional blue or black rubber strap might tilt that view just a bit. The watch’s 100-meter water resistance and robust ETA-based automatic chronograph movement (Bell & Ross Cal. 301) allow for wear most anywhere but deep dives. Luminous markers and hands keep the time visible in dim light.
Bell & Ross offers the new, quite nicely executed BR 05 chronograph with either a blue or black sunray dial and with a choice of integrated steel bracelet ($6,400) or blue or black rubber strap.($5,900).
Just a few months after releasing its BR 03-92 Grey LUM, Bell & Ross adds an even brighter brother to the LUM family with a limited edition BR 03-92 Diver Full LUM.
Where the previously seen dive watch features brightly illuminated numerals, hands and five-minute markers, this newest family member features a full dial painted with green SuperLuminova.
In addition to a fully painted dial, the new watch also glows with a second hue because Bell & Ross has filled the watch’s metallic applique skeletonized indexes and the numerals on the bezel with a different shade of green SuperLuminova.In order to maximize the period of luminescence for these markers, Bell & Ross opted to use a type of SuperLuminova (C3) that offers very long durability in the dark.
Bell & Ross notes that ever since it debuted its first square-cased BR 03-92 dive models in 2017 the watchmaker has been sure that its dive collection maintains all international ISO 6425 standards for dive watches. Those standards include water-resistance to a minimum depth of 100 meters, the presence of a unidirectional rotating bezel with a graduated minutes scale, an operation indicator and luminescent markers, legibility in the dark; anti-shock and anti-magnetic protection.
With this newest model, Bell & Ross exceeds those standards by wide margins, with a 300-meter water resistance rating, a black ceramic uni-directional bezel (for enhanced contrasts) and, in reference to its name, superior dial legibility with a more-than-gimmicky focus on luminescence.
Added bonus: Bell & Ross includes a rubber strap and a fabric strap with each watch.