Bell & Ross Adds an Urban Touch to The BR-05

by Mario C

While not to everyone’s tastes, Bell & Ross forges on, expanding further into their ever-popular contemporary BR-05 range. This time, They mix the bold with the beautiful, combining their tough exterior with the decadence of rose gold.

That first part is true: Bell & Ross isn’t to everyone’s tastes. But that’s the thing: Not everything is going to be to everyone’s tastes! If someone designed a watch to appeal to the tastes of everybody, the whole world would explode! And if somebody says that they have, well, they’re probably trying to sell you something.

Bell&Ross BR05C-RTH-STPG

Regardless of what side you’re on, you have to admit that Bell & Ross make some particularly recognisable timepieces. Ever since they were founded in 1992, the brainchild of Bruno Belamich (Bell) and Carlos A. Rosillo (Ross) have maintained their design ethos in the face of polarising opinions and unjustified snobbery. Creating timepieces inspired by aeronautical instruments, they’re perhaps among some of the most recognisable silhouettes of all watchmaking.

In 2019, they decided to give their stalwart designs a touch of contemporary flair, which resulted in the BR-05. This was a perfect marriage, embodying the brand’s guiding principles of readability, functionality, reliability and precision, yet with a modern albeit funky appeal. For Watches & Wonders 2024, their 5th anniversary kicks off with a luxurious addition to the collection by way of the Chrono Steel Grey/Gold.

The perfect urban tool, this new watch reference takes the design language of the BR-05 and runs with it. The case, now two-tone steel and 18kt rose gold, takes inspiration from the 70s era of the USA, where such timepieces were incredibly popular. Adapting the BR-05 watch to suit the trend was natural, having launched the two-tone Chrono Edición Limitada back in 2022. The Chrono Steel Grey/Gold continues the distinctive Bell & Ross aesthetic, with its 42mm steel case creating a striking contrast with the polished rose gold bezel and bracelet links. Luminescent white hands and indexes ensure readability, as do the iconic 12 & 6 lumed Arabic numerals.

Adding to the 70s inspiration and modern appeal is the use of an integrated bracelet for the BR-05. The aim for Bell & Ross was to create a versatile and easy-to-read watch with all the modern and heritage-inspired fixings, resulting in a striking timepiece. Said Bruno Belamich, “[The] case and bracelet are one. This type of design evokes a style of watches that appeared in the 1970s. When transposed into the Bell & Ross aesthetic, it is possible to obtain a result where this is apparent, modern and visually striking.” The BR-05 balances these design cues gracefully despite its strong nature. However, if you’re getting tired of a full two-tone flair, a black rubber strap can replace the bracelet, which enhances its sporting character.

Bell&Ross BR05C-RTH-STPG – Open case back showcasing automatic Cal. BR-CAL326 movement

Bell & Ross’ craftsmanship also returns to form with their selection of movement. BR-Cal.326, the brand’s premiere automatic chronograph calibre, beats at 4Hz/28,800bph and bears a reported 60h power reserve. Starting life as a Selitta SW510, the reliable movement has gone under considerable redesign and re-engineering to Bell & Ross’ exacting standards, keeping the beating heart of the timepiece consistent with Bell & Ross’ strong and pragmatic design ethos.

Final Thoughts

I’ve always been a fan of timepieces with “just the right amount of goofy,” and while the military and aeronautical inspiration is apparent, Bell & Ross’ design language has always been avant-garde compared to its peers. The BR-05 is Bell & Ross’ foray into modern and contemporary watchmaking, and it’s something that they’ve succeeded at massively. This year’s new watch, the Chrono Grey Steel/Gold, serves to elevate their successes, permitting a heritage-inspired yet urban aesthetic, all while living up to the practicality signature of the brand’s lineup.

While I do appreciate the design, as it casts a wider appeal towards the modern watch community,  it’s not enough to dissuade me from the funkier brother of the BR-05 in the BR-03 collection. I don’t know what it is about them, I just love it! However, make no mistake: the BR-05 is an exceptional timepiece in its own right, and while it may not be up to everyone’s tastes, it is unashamedly Bell & Ross – and that’s worth loving.

Reference: BR05C-RTH-STPG

Specification

  • Case: 42mm diameter, 14.25mm thickness
  • Case Material:  Two-tone stainless steel and 18kt rose gold
  • Dial: Ruthenium Gray sun-brushed dial with rose gold accents and lumed numerals
  • Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Water resistance: 100m (10 Bar)
  • Movement: Automatic Cal. BR-CAL326 movement with chronograph (12h, 30min timers)
  • Movement Frequency: 4Hz (28,800 VpH)
  • Power reserve: 60 hours
  • Bracelet: Two-tone steel and 18kt rose gold bracelet/Black rubber strap with steel folding buckle

Australian Recommended Retail Price: $20,800 AUD

Availability: Available now through Bell & Ross boutiques, authorised dealers and online through bellross.com.au

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