Watchmaking generally tends to be a risk-averse venture, more focused on evolution rather than revolution. The last truly momentous advancement was the creation of the first quartz wristwatch back in December 1969 – a seismic event that changed the face of the industry forever.
So, when a watchmaker takes a risk, it deserves to be applauded. The attempt may fall short, but the benefits of success far dwarf any potential downside. Think of Gerald Genta’s famous napkin drawing that led to the genesis of the now-iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.
The New Bell & Ross BR 05
The new BR 05 that you see here is Bell & Ross’ attempt at achieving immortality. The French watchmaker could have continued producing dive- and aviation-inspired timepieces, both of which have propelled the brand to its hallowed status today. But, the two founders, Carlos Rosillo and Bruno Bellamich, understood that to remain stagnant was to court a fate worse than death – irrelevance.
The only identifying feature (other than the logo below 12 o’clock) that the BR 05 is a Bell & Ross timepiece is its design of having a round dial within a square case – the signature that catapulted it to fame. Otherwise, everything else is new.
At first glance, the BR 05 looks surprisingly normal, even plain. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll realise the subtleties and details that Belamich has buried in plain sight. For example, the first link of the bracelet actually fuses with the case to create a streamlined silhouette. “This type of design harks back to the 1970s. When transposed to Bell & Ross, it creates a result with a graphic style, which is both striking and modern,” explained Belamich.
This design element also means that the BR 05 fits well on smaller wrists, even though the case is 40 milimetres across.
The surfaces of the BR 05 are either satin-finished or polished, which creates a striking effect for an observer as light dances over them. The crown guard protects the crown from accidental knocks and scratches. Underneath the hood beats the openworked Calibre 321 in-house movement, which boasts a power reserve of 40 hours.
The BR 05 is also available in black steel, blue steel and gold with a skeletonised variant for those who prefer to view the movement in its full naked glory.