Most of you probably know Bell & Ross… Indeed, with their square-shaped cases and a design inspired by jet-fighters instruments, Bell & Ross watches are easily recognisable among other timepieces. However, just when you thought the design (that you can see here) was in danger of becoming ubiquitous, Bell & Ross release their latest collections (including this Tourbillon Chronograph Monopusher). The BR 01 Skull Bronze is not a watch you see everyday. Here is why.
Bronze cases have became quite popular in the last few years, with examples like this Zenith Type 20 Extra-Special and an edition of the IWC Aquatimer. Bell & Ross also surfed on the Bronze wave recently, with a unique watch that will be auctioned for Only Watch 2015, the Bell & Ross BR01 Skull Bronze Tourbillon. However, this watch, considering its exclusivity and its complicated movement, will certainly never be yours (that’s the concept of unique pieces…). For this reason, Bell & Ross have come up with a solution.A watch that is fitted with the same case, with the same unusual material, but a simpler movement: the Bell & Ross BR 01 Skull Bronze.
If you are someone who feels Bell & Ross watches have become restrained in recent years, fear not, we present you with the Skull edition. Combining the square-shaped case with this dial aperture shaped like a skull-head certainly creates boasts bold design (that won’t be to everybody’s tastes, but that’s not the point either). If the dial wasn’t enough for you, the bronze case should be enough to entice even the most adventurous collector. You should however be made aware of how bronze watch cases age. When new and unworn, bronze, an alloy of copper (92%) and tin (8%) is highly resistant to wear and tear, looks like a dark, warm gold (like you can see in our photos, which is of an almost brand new watch, that looks like it has already started to develop a patina). However, depending on the conditions the watch is put through, it will oxide and turn green and then become almost black. This will create unique looking watches for each owner. In order to prevent allergies and traces, the caseback remains made of grade 5 titanium.
As you can see, the basic and iconic shape of Bell & Ross remains untouched, with the square case and the 4 screws to secure the watch. These screws are however inserted in crossed-bones and the dial is not round anymore but shaped like a skull head. The dial is printed with a skull head too (that is filled with luminous black paint so it shines during the night – making this watch the perfect attire for Halloween…). The 12 hour-indexes are floating on the top of the dial, as printed on the inner side of the crystal. Finally, the hands are specific to this Bell & Ross BR 01 Skull Bronze and shaped like antique blades – just to continue in the pirate theme… Which is quite honestly reinforced with the bronze case, giving this watch a sort of steampunk, antique weapon look.
As you’ve probably noticed, both the hands and the crown are not centered on the dial and on the case. In order to have the hands in the middle of the “head“, the movement has been placed in the upper half of the case – nothing to be concerned about. Inside the Bell & Ross BR 01 Skull Bronze ticks a robust and self-winding movement (most certainly an ETA 2892 or a Sellita SW-300) that boasts 42 hours of power reserve. This 46mm watch is delivered on an aged brown calfskin with a bronze PVD coated steel pin buckle.
The Bell & Ross BR 01 Skull Bronze is a limited edition of 500 pieces, priced at 5.800 Euros. It’s clearly a watch that needs to be assumed by its wearer, considering the size, the shape of the case and the material, that will age into a strange colour (most probably green). It’s clearly not made for every collector but the overall look and feel is coherent and gives the watch a very strong and quite pleasant look. BellRoss.com.