Bell & Ross, the brand that made cockpit instrumentation the coolest thing in watch wear, had a great year in 2019. In September, it launched the wildly successful BR 05 series, an evolution of its iconic BR03 model but with a more urban interpretation of the instrumentation aesthetic. This was followed in October with a stunning blue-dialed version of the popular bronze BR 03 Diver, which was introduced exclusively to the Americas.
The BR 05 is one of the dressiest models in the Bell & Ross oeuvre. The idea behind the design was to move from the professional world of the extreme to the urban landscape — transitioning from the off-road to the in-road. The new design retains an element of the dashboard aesthetic, with a case in round and square forms, the basic geometric shapes of the Bell & Ross identity. On the BR 05, however, the dial is inset more flush with the case rather than raised slightly, in the cockpit style, resulting in a more streamlined look that more smoothly fits under a shirt cuff. The close integration of the case and bracelet, with the first link fused directly to the case, also emphasizes the streamlined look. “This integration of case and bracelet is not only in line with the brand’s visual identity, it brings another dimension to the watch,” says Bell & Ross co-founder and creative director Bruno Belamich. “It is a striking and modern interpretation of watch designs of the ’70s.”
A satin brushed finished adds to the dress-watch look, yet the watch retains the distinctive element of sportiness that exists in all Bell & Ross designs. The polished bevels on the case, bezel and bracelet emphasize the unique geometry of the design, and plenty of Super-LumiNova on the hands and markers adds cockpit-style readability, a trademark of the Bell & Ross brand. The top two best-sellers for 2019 were the steel version of the BR 05 with a black dial and the steel version with a grey sunburst dial. Both come with either a steel bracelet or black rubber strap. There are other options, including a blue dial, a skeleton dial version that shows off the automatic caliber BR-CAL.322, and an all-18k rose gold version that radiates dress-watch elegance. Prices range from $4,400 to 32,500 USD.
Rounding out the top three best-selling watches from the Bell & Ross collection in 2019 was the BR 03-92 Diver Bronze with navy-blue dial. You may remember the launch of the BR 03-92 diver’s watch in 2017, followed up in 2018 with a bronze model with a black dial. Only the stainless steel version was available with a navy dial. The bronze with navy version was introduced in America by popular demand. Bronze is a rugged metal that is particularly resistant to the corrosive effects of salt water, and that makes it a great choice for dive watches. Specifically, the case and bezel of the BR 03-92 are made of satin-polished CuSn8 bronze — an alloy combining 92% copper and 8% tin. Over time, it forms a reddish-brown or grayish-green patina, so every watch ends up looking slightly different.
Like all Bell & Ross models, the BR 03-92 is a professional instrument, with 300-meter water resistance (about 1,000 feet), a unidirectional rotating bezel to time dives, and plenty of lume for underwater visibility. The leather strap can be swapped out for a rubber one when diving. The movement is the reliable automatic BR-CAL.302. In an elegant touch, the hands and indices are rimmed with gold. The 42mm watch is priced at $3,990 USD and limited to 250 pieces, sold exclusively in the Americas. You can learn more at bellross.com.
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