The BR 05 executes clean lines, soft angles and a perfectly flat finish
There was a time when, if you came knocking at the door of Bell & Ross, you had already bought into their unique cockpit-inspired aesthetic. But those days are now long gone and the French brand has incrementally fleshed itself out beyond a single concept, growing into a fully realised brand.
Bell & Ross’ latest model, the BR 05, has been a vital step in that development by offering a more urbane, style-led watch to its customers. The model also answered the great Sports Luxe clarion call of 2019 but has bedded itself in so neatly that it looks as though it’s always been there.
Of course, that sense of familiarity stems from the fact that the BR 05 is an homage to the genre started by Gerald Genta in 1972 when he designed the Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet and amalgamates a number of signature Sports Luxe design cues such as the integrated bracelet, lozenge links, dominant bezel and exposed screwheads.
Bell & Ross creative director and co-founder Bruno Belamich brought these elements together with such confidence, whilst remaining loyal to his own brand identity, that the BR 05 has become one of the Parisian brand's most successful releases of the past 12 months.
For the second phase of the BR 05’s roll-out, the watch is progressing along much the same timeline that the original Sports Luxe icons would have – transitioning from the fearless designs of 1970s and into the 1980s with a spot of decade-appropriate bimetal power dressing, pairing stainless steel with 18ct rose gold.
While the creation of Sports Luxe watches might have revolved around stainless steel, elevating the metal to new heights (not to mention new price points), the faceted geometry of the watches lends itself perfectly to contrasts, whether that’s finishes or materials.
For the latest BR 05 model, Bell & Ross uses satin-brushed steel for the bulk of the bracelet and 40mm case whilst opting for eye-catching 18ct rose gold to serve as a highlight on the centre links and bezel top. Each satin-brushed component is then framed with a polished bevelled edge for added definition. Bellamich has also employed exposed screwheads, not just on the bezel where one sits at each corner, but to secure the bracelet and the crown guards as well.
The theme of contrast is continued on the dial with gilded rose gold applique hour markers and open-worked hands, filled with Super-LumiNova popping against the black, sunray-brushed dial.
While the silhouette of case and integrated bracelet is entirely new for Bell & Ross, Bellamich instead relied almost entirely on the dial to convey its instantly recognisable brand identity using a mix of rounded baton and numeral markers at the six, nine and 12 o’clock position and a date window sitting at the three o’clock. On the reverse, a sapphire crystal exhibition back offers a view of the Sellita-based BR-Cal. 321 4hz automatic movement, which offers 42 hours of power reserve, and its circular ruthenium-coated winding rotor.
The BR 05 collection starts from £3,600, bellandross.com