In September I have published the press release of the Bell & Ross new BR05 Collection. I have seen the prototypes during the Baselworld. The fugitive encounter was to brief to make a pertinent impression. So I turned to Bell & Ross for a loan. I opted for the grey version, the Bell & Ross BR05 Grey Steel Ref. BR05A-GR-ST/SST, which is presented more into details below.
Bell & Ross BR05 Grey Steel Ref. BR05A-GR-ST/SST
I was sure that the new collection will take the world by storm (positively but, unfortunately, also negative). There are enough haters in this world, but, thanks to all deities, there are enough true watch lovers there too. Quoting
Suzanne Wong, the resemblance with some “I-don’t-remember-because-it-didn’t-even-make-sense” watches is puerile. Saying that all watches with integrated bracelets look-alike is like saying that all the four-doors saloon cars look-alike. Or that all the football/soccer game are the same. Yes, they follow some rules and lines. But… There is always a but!
If you want to win this debate, OK… Okey! It looks like all the three hands wristwatches from the last hundred years. Yes, the integrated bracelet is a variation of all the integrated bracelets in the last almost seventy years.
But coming back to our review piece, as usual, I start with the wrist roll (and some more shots of the BR05 Grey):
Stell case, but what a case…
I had a good look at the case and I have to admit that I am charmed by this combination of a square and a circle. Breathing Bell & Ross DAN all over… Those familiar with the brand will know that the BR05 is based on an older collection. The integrated bracelet and the finishes are new. The new collection packs some serious years of development.
The 40mm steels case is a mature selection and implementation of finishes. The combination of brushed and polished surfaces has always looked good. But on the BR05 it gives a new dimension to the Bell & Ross watches.
A raised bezel with a raised crystal
The stepped design creates the feeling of a much slimmer case. Don’t get me wrong, the watch dimensions are well proportioned. But the bevelled parts make the watch more elegant. Don’t forget that Bell & Ross is mainly oriented on instrumentation watches (military and civil, divers, pilots, racing). The BR05 brings a new dimension, still keeping the brand’s specific signatures.
The game of lights found on the watch made me to always look at the watch. Turning, tilting or any other action that will change the light colour or reflection. The finishes are well executed.
Signature crown protection
The crown is well protected by the brushed bumpers. It features the typical Bell & Ross logo in a raised medallion. Setting and winding impose no issues. But, as any other screw-in crown, of the wrist, is easier to use.
The wrist position and comfort are as expected – enjoyable. The bracelet can be relatively easy adjusted. Removing/adding elements can be done using its fixing screws design. You need the right screwdriver though. Note in the image above the polished clasp pushers. During wrist time, I had no accidental openings or difficulties in removing the watch.
Note that the polished bracelet’s elements arrest its surroundings in its reflection. The clasp is comfortable on the back of the wrist.
Go out boy, play in the sun…
I am a blue dial guy. I like black dials and I own enough white dials to think that grey was, until now, no option for me. But this metal grey dial conquered me from the beginning. I find it the most intriguing in the entire collection. Even more than the skeleton versions. This is my favourite in the collection. That is why I also selected it for the review. But this is only my personal preferences. I don’t deny the beauty of the others.
The sunray dial plays with the light just as nice as the case. The writings are black printed on the dial, keeping it simple and clean. The dial is decorated with three-dimensional applied indexes with a beautiful design. Even the date aperture is decorated with a frame. This balances the entire dial.
The dial legibility is exceptional in any light conditions or environment. Images with the SuperLuminova can be found in the gallery at the end of the article.
A true workhorse – BR-CAL.321
Bell & Ross BR05 collection is powered by the calibre BR-CAL.321. This on is based on Selita SW300-1 that suffered heavy modifications. The movement is visible through the exhibition case back.
The most spectacular element is the full rotor. This brings character to the entire movement. The skeletonisation is nicely executed, along with all the other finishes. Even if it uses a known workhorse, Bell & Ross walked the extra mile to bring exquisite personalisation.
To note that the caseback received the same care and attention as the front of the watch. The combination of brushed with a bevelled polished edge is also present on the back.
Final considerations and notes
Bell & Ross BR05 Grey Steel Ref. BR05A-GR-ST/SST is a beautiful modern piece. It fits well in the trends and market’s request for metal bracelet watches. For the price, the watch has a lot to offer. It is undeniable that the look of the watch is rather spectacular. The entire BR05 collection is varied enough to fulfil most of the collectors’ wishes.
The watch sits comfortably on the wrist. I find it a good daily companion. Its sporty appearance faces well the needs as an only watch. As part of a larger collection the Ref. BR05A-GR-ST/SST has a good position in cost/offering ratio.
At only 40mm diameter and with stepped design and bevelled edges, the BR05 could be a successful option for a lady searching for a sporty automatic. Diana is an avid consumer of the bracelet watches with automatic & date complication. As visible in the picture above, I could not enjoy the watch full time. She enjoyed as well. So guys, be prepared. In case you have at home a girl that knows how she wants her watches, you might have to be, faster than expected, in the search of a new/second piece.
Bell & Ross BR05 Grey Steel Ref. BR05A-GR-ST/SST Specifications and Price
Movement: calibre BR-CAL.321. Automatic mechanical.
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds and date.
Dial: grey sunray. Applique numerals and indices coated in Super-LumiNova®.
Case: 40 mm in diameter. Satin-polished steel. Sapphire case back.
Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating.
Water-resistance: 100 metres.
Strap: satin-polished steel or black rubber.
Buckle: folding. Satin-polished steel.
Price: 4,500 € (recommended price in Germany)