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Watches and Wonders 2024: Bell & Ross BR 05 and BR-X5 Releases

Bell Ross Br 05 Skeleton Black Lum Ceramic Br05a Blm Skce Cortina Watch Featured Image

With impressive technical properties such as complete resistance to scratches, ceramic has become a key material in watchmaking.

Paired with the intensity of black, the material becomes a direct reference to aircraft cockpits with their on-board instruments, central to the watch brand’s DNA and design. For the first time, Bell & Ross has used the technical material in its urban line along with its favourite colour, black. Ceramic now adorns three striking BR 05 models, a treasured collection from Bell & Ross.

Bell & Ross BR 05 Black Ceramic

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A Technical Material For Innovative Watches

For Bell & Ross, designing ceramic watches has always felt like a natural fit. Before arriving on the watchmaking scene in the 1980s and becoming a favourite modern material, technical ceramic was already an integral part of the aeronautics and space industries. Ultra-resistant while being lightweight, at first it was mainly used for manufacturing rocket nose cones and heat shields for spacecraft – a professional usage perfectly in keeping with the brand’s sources of inspiration. For Bell & Ross, reinterpreting aircraft instrument panels into timepieces is key to its designs.

As a highly technical material, working with ceramic is no small task. Sintering, or paste fusion, allows a mix of zirconium oxide powder and polymer binders to be vitrified at a very high temperature (generally around 1450°). This complex operation is essential in creating ceramic watches that are robust: to make the material homogeneous, a perfect mastery of the process is required. Ever since its first ceramic watches, notably the BR 01 Ceramic in 2011, the Bell & Ross Maison has paid close attention to the rigour of the manufacturing process. A whole chain of expertise for the new BR 05 ceramic watch design.

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An Unfailing Material For Scratch-Resistant Watches

Completely stainless and hard-wearing, ceramic is scratch proof. Watches made from this material stand the test of time. After diamond, ceramic is one of the hardest materials in the world, while being lighter than steel. Adjusting to the body’s temperature upon contact with the skin, as well as being hypoallergenic, the soft-to-the-touch material is particularly pleasant to wear. With such an array of technical and aesthetic properties, it can only appeal to fans of functional contemporary watches. Imbued with the exceptionally resistant qualities of ceramic, the three new BR 05 models from Bell & Ross fully take on their status as instrument watches to be worn in all circumstances and on any occasion.

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A Mass-Dyed Material For Intense Black Watches

The new black ceramic BR 05 watches have a further asset: captivating aesthetic power. Mass-dyed the material acquires a constant shine that no scratch will compromise. The BR 05 Black Ceramic and BR 05 Skeleton Black Ceramic are finished with a satin polish, whereas, for the BR 05 Skeleton Black Lum Ceramic case and bracelet, the matte surface of the sandblasted ceramic plays on the material’s ephemeral effect, taking on a sportier, resolutely graphic look. While it is commonly accepted that “black is not a colour”, lovers of contemporary art and aeronautics connoisseurs alike will recognise that the fascinating shade is at once timeless, sporty, and elegant.

The new ceramic BR 05 watches do not deviate from this functionalist approach. The matte ceramic skeleton version opts for indices filled with green luminescent material to improve readability at night, while the case and bracelet take on a stealth quality. With sapphire crystal backs, the three ceramic BR 05 models also reveal the black ruthenium finishes of their automatic mechanical movements, the BR-CAL.321 calibre and the BR-CAL.322 calibre, with its 54-hour power reserve.

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41mm Ceramic Case

Another captivating visual effect, the black shade not only draws in the light and captures attention, but it also makes objects appear smaller. To compensate for this optical effect and keep the pieces imbued with all their presence and power, the Creative Director and co-founder of Bell & Ross, Bruno Belamich, chose to slightly increase the dimensions, for the first time presenting the BR 05 Auto with a diameter of 41mm.

Ceramic Bracelet Integrated Into The Case

The BR 05 range retains the guiding principle of the rounded square design with a modern finish. Emanating contemporary elegance, since their launch in 2019, the watches from the BR 05 range have gained recognition as pieces that are urban and versatile. These three new black ceramic versions convey the same philosophy, while allowing the BR 05 collection to keep growing. A strong point in this stylish timepiece is the integrated bracelet.

“The bracelet is integrated into the case in line with the brand’s codes, while bringing another dimension to the watch: the first link is part of the case. This type of design has been an industry benchmark since the ’70s; when transposed to Bell & Ross, we get a watch with a shape that is at once compact, harmonious and ergonomic,”
emphasises Bruno Belamich, Creative Director and co-founder of Bell & Ross.

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Three Complementary Models

The new black ceramic pieces from Bell & Ross have three distinct models: two that become a part of the brand’s permanent collections, and the third piece being a limited edition of 500 pieces.

The three-hand polished satin finish BR 05 Black Ceramic presents a shiny black sunburst dial with rhodium-plated skeletonized hands tipped with white luminescent material, available with the integrated ceramic bracelet or a rubber strap.

The satin-polished BR 05 Skeleton Black Ceramic stands apart with its tinted transparent dial, revealing the mechanical self-winding BR-CAL.322 movement with a black ruthenium finish.

Finally, the dial on the matte sandblasted BR 05 Skeleton Black Lum Ceramic is made of a black smoked sapphire crystal and the backdrop for the rhodium-plated skeletonized hands adorned with high-shine green luminescent material. This model is particularly exclusive, produced in a limited series of only 500 pieces, and available only with the integrated matte black ceramic bracelet.

It was a new challenge for the Bell & Ross teams, to create for the first time, the BR 05 case/bracelet integration in ceramic and it represents a bold technical and aesthetical statement.

In the BR 05 collection, each of the three characterful watches is a milestone in its own right.

Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Grey Steel & Gold

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An Urban Tool

Ultimate combination of performance and elegance, the contrast of gold and steel never fails to seduce lovers of sophisticated timepieces. With its new BR 05 Chrono Grey Steel & Gold, combining ruthenium and rose gold, Bell & Ross presents a watchmaking jewel.

Launched in 2019 and embodying the Maison’s guiding principles of readability, functionality, reliability and precision, the BR 05 collection delivers a distinctly urban style. A combination of round and square shapes, the lines of its case evoke the geometric figures which distinguish the Bell & the Ross brand. The construction of the BR 05 goes beyond the rigor of the square and at the same time transcends the perfection of the circle, thus defining its own shape and unique personality. Assertive in its style and powerful on the wrist, it captures the energy of the city, its rhythms, its richness. BR 05 Chrono: the time measuring instrument for the urban explorers.

A Bi-Material Timepiece

In the 70s, particularly in the United States, watches made from a combination of gold and steel, including their metal bracelets, were very popular. This trend significantly contributed to the enduring popularity of the sport-chic style. For Bell & Ross, the decision to adapt their urban and sporting BR 05 watch to this style was a natural and obvious choice. Indeed, this is not the first time that this line has welcomed a two-material model. Collectors no doubt remember the BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada model, associated with the world of fine cigars, with its gold and steel case and bracelet, and its Havana-coloured dial, launched in 2022.

Characterised by a strong stylistic identity, Bell & Ross has always wanted to define its own aesthetic. The new BR 05 Grey Steel & Gold chrono perfectly embraces this distinct character by combining materials and colours. The 42mm water-resistant-to-100m case is machined from steel, with satin finishes and polished to amplify the architecture of its lines. The bezel, and the central links of the integrated bracelet, are in 18k rose gold. The graphic effect is enhanced by the grey ruthenium dial with is metallic reflection obtained by galvanization, with a three o’clock counter indicating the chronograph minutes and another at nine o’clock displaying the small seconds, with a window placed between 4 and 5 o’clock displaying the date.

The white hands and indexes, coated with luminescent material, further enhance the contrasts and the play of light, while ensuring perfect legibility of the hour, minute, second, date and chronograph functions. The outlines of the counters and the markings 12 and 6 in the distinctive Bell & Ross typography, affixed to the dial, are all in gold. Another, unmissable detail, the profile of the winding crown and chronograph pushers form a continuous line extending into the case, providing an additional elegant touch. The BR 05 Chrono abandons the superfluous and goes straight to the essential.

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The Strength of a Design

The BR 05 Chrono Grey Steel & Gold adopts a very contemporary watchmaking feature: the integration of the steel bracelet into the case. “Case and bracelet are one. This type of design evokes a style of watches that appeared in the 1970s. When transposed into the Bell & Ross aesthetic, it is possible to obtain a result where this is apparent, modern and visually striking”, emphasises Bruno Belamich, Creative Director at Bell & Ross, referring to a watch that is designed to be versatile and easy to read.

The rose-steel gold bracelet merges with the case creating a consistent whole. A black rubber strap can replace it, completely transforming the look of the watch and enhancing its sporting character.

The Flexibility of a Contemporary Chronograph

At the heart of the BR 05 family, the new Grey Steel & Gold is part of the range of chronographs and features the BR-CAL.326 self-winding mechanical movement. A well tried and tested device reworked by Bell & Ross watchmakers, this robust calibre shows great reliability and appreciable efficiency in all circumstances of modern life. Oscillating at 28,800 movements per hour, it offers a power reserve of 60 hours, ensuring stability and precision. Its rotor, visible through the glass caseback, is a finely skeletonised whole disc: a signature of Bell & Ross self-winding movements.

Refined and sophisticated and highly contemporary at the same time, this urban chronograph exudes extraordinary aesthetic appeal.

Bell & Ross BR-X5 Black Titanium

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The Lightness of Titanium

Every professional instrument watch developed by Bell & Ross is decidedly modern. Designed with a famously lightweight metal, the new BR-X5 Black Titanium is no different.

With a long history of use in aviation, titanium has also won its spurs in contemporary fine watchmaking. Lightweight, comfortable, and resilient, this high-tech material offers a style all its own, with an understated colour that differs slightly from stainless steel and white gold. Weighing in a full third lighter than steel and boasting an extraordinary weight-to-strength ratio, titanium has many more remarkable intrinsic qualities, from being hypoallergenic to being highly resistant to corrosion. These properties are compounded by the X5’s sandwich type case, which is also designed to be lightweight and durable.

The Power of Design

The architecture of the multi-component case favours purity and radicality, lightness and resistance. Assembled around a waterproof container which protects the manufacture movement, the 41mm case is hollowed out and made of titanium, making it lighter and more comfortable. The square bezel and sapphire glasses are fixed on two plates to form the top and bottom of the case. The whole is kept watertight with four screws through the entire case, in a multi-layer assembly that keeps the piece perfectly sound. Made entirely of grade 2 titanium, the case has an easily recognisable grey tint. Its anti-reflective matt finish is achieved through fine micro-sandblasting, an understated choice that showcases the model’s unique design.

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Functional Principles

With the BR-X5 line, Bell & Ross reaches new heights when it comes to style and performance. “With its manufacture movement and sophisticated design, the BR-X5 has become an iconic watch for the brand and its watchmaking expertise”, emphasises Bruno Belamich, Bell & Ross Creative Director and co-founder. The intention is clear: functionality takes centre stage. The indices are clear and precise in their readability. The dial houses a large date aperture at 3 o’clock, and a circular power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock. The indices and hands (other than the seconds) are covered with SLN X1 type white luminescent material, for optimal readability by both day and night. The minute indices are displayed on a flange.

A Moving Performance: COSC-Certified Chronometer

Like every watch in the BR-X5 collection, the new BR-X5 Black Titanium is powered by the BR-CAL.323 self-winding mechanical movement. This calibre has a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) and a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. The highly precise movement is equipped with an oscillating weight and a variable-inertia balance wheel, both visible through the large sapphire crystal caseback. Another advantage of the manufacture movement is its rapid date correction device, adjustable at any time. The calibre is guaranteed for 5 years with a proven performance: it is chronometer certified by the COSC, Switzerland’s official chronometer testing institute. A benchmark piece.

With its titanium design, the technical, innovative BR-X5 is a contemporary expression of Bell & Ross’ watchmaking expertise. Performance material meets the Maison’s Manufacture collection.

Discover more collections from Bell & Ross at our boutiques, or online.