October 9, 2022
by Matt Reudink
When Bell & Ross released the BR 05 in 2019, it marked a clear change in direction for the brand. Unlike the aggressive, square-cased instrument watches for which the brand is best known, or its vintage-inspired aviation watches, the BR 05 is modern, elegant, and curvaceous. Yet, the Bell & Ross heritage and style, including squarish case and exposed case screws, is unmistakable. In the latest version of the BR 05, the Bell & Ross BR 05 Copper Brown, the brand has opted for a sumptuous metallic sunburst dial that provides a warm, modern take on an under-utilized colorway.
The BR 05 clearly struck a chord with consumers, and Bell & Ross has been constantly riffing on the design, with no signs of slowing down. The BR 05 comes in three collections: the 40mm Auto, 41mm GMT, and 42mm chronograph. Within each of these collections, Bell & Ross has explored a range of materials, finishes, dials, and, of course, colors. With everything from steel cases with subdued dials to full gold watches with skeletonized dials, Bell & Ross is hoping to capture a look for every taste, be it conservative or avant-garde. The BR 05 Copper Brown falls squarely in the middle of that spectrum, with a full steel 40mm case and a bold, hard-to-miss dial.
We’ve already seen the BR 05 Auto in several colorways, including black, silver, green, and blue, but the copper brown brings a warmth to the palette that will be welcome for those who prefer earth tones and warmer hues. We’ve seen plenty of salmon dials released over the past several years, so it’s nice to see Bell & Ross opt for a fresh dial color when looking for a warm hue to add to the lineup. Launching this watch in early autumn feels entirely appropriate.
The coppery dial has a sunburst finish attained via circular micro-engraving on the metal plate of the dial, followed by several coats of varnish. The result is a dynamic dial that changes from deep brown to honey, depending on the light. The BR 05 also features applied markers and numerals and doesn’t skimp on the details, adding color-matched copper surrounds and a color-matched date wheel.
Though marketed as an urban watch, the BR 05 features 100m of water resistance, a screw-down crown, and strong lume, meaning that it’s plenty rugged to wear when heading out in the hills. The watch is topped by a sapphire crystal and a matching display caseback on the flipside, which showcases the automatic movement powering the watch, the Bell & Ross BR-CAL.321 that features 38 hours of power reserve and beats at 28,800 bph.
Like other square, or squarish, watches, a simple diameter dimension (40mm, in this case) is only part of the story, as the square shape adds to the surface area of the watch case, resulting in a watch that is, physically and visually, larger than its circular counterparts. On the wrist, this translates to a watch that wears larger than its 40mm diameter suggests. That said, Bell & Ross spent plenty of time ensuring that the BR 05 will wear comfortably on a wide range of wrist sizes. The comfortable wearing experience comes down, in part, to the short, curved lugs, but is largely due to the beautifully executed integrated bracelet.
One of the reasons integrated bracelet sports watches have seen such a resurgence in popularity is simply due to comfort. Bell & Ross clearly spent the time developing an integrated bracelet as part of the of the overall package. Rather than an afterthought, the bracelet is just as important to the wearing experience as the watch itself. The bracelet remains slim but substantial — a nice pairing to the slim 10.33mm case height — and tapers dramatically down to the butterfly clasp. The choice to go with a twin-button butterfly clasp is another nod to the watch’s intentions as an urban watch, as the brand opted for a clean, minimal design that will slide easily under a cuff rather than a large, overbuilt clasp. The downside to integrated bracelets is typically the lack of aftermarket strap options. However, the BR 05 is also available with a brown rubber strap to match the dial.
The Copper Brown is a welcome addition to Bell & Ross’s already colorful BR 05 lineup, providing a warm colorway that we simply don’t see often enough. Though some may tire of brands simply adding more colorways to a popular line, more options are always a good thing, and the Copper Brown demonstrates exactly why. The BR 05 Copper Brown is priced at $5,100 USD on bracelet or $4,600 USD on rubber strap. To learn more, please visit the brand’s website.