Bell & Ross Unveils New BR 01 Cyber Skull in Stunning New Sapphire Ice Blue

by Sameera Gamage

A masterpiece of high-end contemporary watchmaking, the all-new BR 01 Cyber Skull is a refreshing take on one of the more daring timepieces from Bell & Ross.

A brand known for its military and aviation timepieces creating skull-faced watches seems out of line with its overall vision; however, this could be further from the truth. Bell & Ross’s Skull-themed timepieces started in 2009 with the launch of the BR 01 Skull.

The image of the skull is very closely linked with military services. Military patches often found on uniforms of soldiers and military personnel had the image of skulls, which was referred to as a warning for those who looked upon the wearer it would bring death and mortality. The skull patches were used to evoke fear in the enemy whilst instilling confidence in the soldier.

The all-new Bell & Ross Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue

In art and watchmaking, the skull motif is well known as an expression of the philosophical theme of vanity, associated with the passing of time, life and death. This skull is also a tribute to the special forces units for which Bell & Ross designs and develops instrument timepieces. Tracing back its roots to the times of the Vikings or pirates right through to modern-day situations, elite troops and paratroopers have made the skull motif their emblem to ward off bad luck. With its resolutely bold and modern design, Bell & Ross has made it one of its talismans.

Bell & Ross
What the all-new Bell & Ross Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue looks like on the wrist.

The latest rendition of the BR 01 Skull timepiece is a beautiful display of contemporary watchmaking. I love seeing well-executed sapphire timepieces. Sapphire itself is an incredible material to use in watchmaking, as it adds a level of aesthetic that cannot be achieved with other materials. If you’ve ever held a sapphire-made timepiece, you’ll know how well it beautifully reflects light, especially if you get the natural sunlight. This new BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue would do just that on top of its skeletonised aesthetic design.

Angled view showing the sapphire case’s transparency and the skull’s detailed design.

Let’s start off by saying that this watch isn’t made to please everyone. Sapphire watches aren’t everyone’s taste, and combining that with the “Cyber Skull” design taking centre stage on the dial would deter those who prefer a more subtle route. But the Bell & Ross’s Skull watches were never designed to be subtle. With a dial design showing the skull, hour and minute hands and the balance wheel at 12o’clock on the dial, it’s a statement piece showing the exceptional timepieces Bell & Ross can create.

The Bell & Ross Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue on the wrist.

The 45mm transparent sapphire case requires a highly delicate process to create it. The design of this particular type of
corundum gem is very complex. The flawless transparency assumes that there is no impurity in the material. The production of this material requires heating an alumina powder, which is melted by hydrogen flames that exceed a temperature of 2000oC. Bell & Ross have also equipped the timepiece with a transparent soft silicone strap to match the sapphire case’s transparency.

The dial of this BR 01 Cyber Skull features another technical feat. The movement allows for fine watchmaking automation, whereby you see an animation of the lower part of the jaw. Initially, we are presented with a smiling Skull, which then quickly opens its mouth as the jaw drops. This is all thanks to Bell & Ross’s hand-wound mechanical calibre BR-CAL209 movement, which, while operating at a high frequency of 28,800 VpH, can give out a decent 48-hour power reserve. You can check out the movement of the skull in Bell & Ross’s presentation video here!

Open case back showing the hand-wound hand-wound mechanical calibre BR-CAL209 designed to the skull’s shape.

What I also find impressive about the movement is its overall aesthetic design. The view from the case back shows that the movement itself is designed into the shape of the skull! This is then accompanied by watchmaking finishing, such as rhodium-plated bridges and plates, along with many open-worked and skeletonised components.

With this new BR 01 Cyber Skull in Sapphire Ice Blue being limited to just 25 models worldwide, I can’t see it not getting sold out quickly. While the sapphire and skull look is not everyone’s cup of tea, you have to admit it certainly does have the cool factor, especially with the movement’s jaw-opening mechanism. As mentioned earlier, it’s a statement piece. It stands out from the crowd. It does exactly what it was made to do: stand out from the crowd.



  • Case: Length 43.50 mm x Width 45mm
  • Case: Sapphire. Faceted polished steel crown. Sapphire case back.
  • Dial: Skeletonised faceted sapphire. Blue anodized steel skull. Balance at 12 o’clock.
  • Hands/Indices: 12 baton-shaped hour indices.
  • Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating.
  • Water resistance: 30m (3BAR)
  • Movement: Hand-Wound mechanical calibre BR-CAL.209.
  • Movement Frequency: 28,800 VpH (4Hz)
  • Power reserve: 48 hours
  • Bracelet/Strap: Transparent silicone with a satin-polished steel pin.

Australian Recommended Retail Price: AUD $170,000

Availability: Pre-order only from the Bell & Ross Website, with delivery in December.

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