Bell and Ross is a brand most readily identified for its pioneering spirit, particularly in the aviation watch landscape with its iconic square models inspired by flight instruments. Now Bell and Ross is taking its instruments from the skies to the streets, hoping to inspire an entirely new generation of urban explorers.
The original BR-05 was easily one of the most controversial watches released in the past 5 years, possibly in the past decade. The squared case, integrated bracelet and dial design drew comparisons to the famed Patek Phillippe Nautilus, and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. So it was without surprise when those comparisons came with a generous amount of criticism and cynicism.
With the new addition to the BR-05 range, Bell and Ross introduce a bi-register chronograph to the watch, whilst increasing the case diameter to 42mm. The 42mm size on the case brings the new chronograph into line with other integrated bracelet chronographs in the market, but will likely do nothing to avoid similar “copycat” critiques thrown at the original BR-05.
The movement inside the beefed-up case, the calibre BR-CAL.301 is a modified variation on the ETA 2894-2, a workhorse automatic chronograph with a 4 O’clock date function. The movement is sturdy and steady, offering 42 hours of power reserve and a steady 28800 vibrations per hour beat rate for a nice smooth sweep of the seconds’ hand.
One design element that is immediately noticeable from the BR-05 chrono’s case, is the pushers for the chronograph. Rather than being incorporated into the already substantial crown guards, Bell and Ross have added two new protrusions atop the guards themselves.
Another pillar of the Bell and Ross ethos, the dial on the BR-05 chronograph ensures optimal legibility thanks to its graphics and its contrasts. Mid-way between round and square, another subtle reference to the 1970s, the shape of its two counters (chronograph minute counter at 9 o’clock and small seconds at 3 o’clock), gives the new BR-05 a neo-retro look. Available in navy blue or jet black, the dials do give each piece an urban, sporty style.
Water resistant to 100 metres and available on either rubber or satin-finished and polished steel, the new Bell and Ross BR-05 Chronograph is available from $8,800AUD.