Photography by Sean Lorentzen and Jacob Witkin

After several years of the integrated bracelet sports watch trend sweeping through every level of the watch industry, enthusiasts nowadays have an integrated luxury sports watch available at nearly every conceivable size and price point. Despite this apparent variety, the range of actual styles for these watches (short of a few truly high-end brands) is surprisingly limited, with most marques favoring a rigid orthodoxy tied to a handful of Gérald Genta designs from the 1970s. Bell & Ross has consistently been one of the outliers in this field since the introduction of its BR 05 series in 2019, blending its signature rounded-square silhouette with more traditional integrated design cues. Over the intervening years, the BR 05 has grown to encompass a wide range of styles and complications, but perhaps the most compelling one of all is one of the brand’s latest – the limited edition BR 05 Skeleton Golden. Combining rich, warm color with intricate visual detail and a handsomely balanced wearing experience, the new Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Golden is one of the most distinctive and attractive offerings under five figures in the current integrated sports watch field.

At 40mm-wide and a trim 10.3mm-thick, the Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Golden’s stainless steel case wears identically to the standard production version. This is far from a bad thing, as the standard BR 05 offers a truly excellent stance on the wrist. Although the rounded-square case profile might suggest this is bulkier than an equivalent round 40mm case, the short, sharply angled integrated lugs and the relatively slim proportions help to mitigate this effect. The end result is a case with plenty of on-wrist presence, but one that’s elegantly svelte without feeling delicate and is compact enough for a wide range of wrists. Broad polished chamfers along the edges of both the raised bezel and the case sides help to give the BR 05 Skeleton Golden a generous helping of flash at changing angles, as do the four perfectly aligned (a surprising rarity even in the upper echelons of this category) bezel screws. The case’s broad flat planes are highlighted with sharp, finely detailed vertical brushing, and transitions between the two finishes are crisp and dramatic. Around back, Bell & Ross naturally finishes the case with a sapphire display caseback and rates the watch for a solid 100 meters of water resistance.

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The dial of the Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Golden is its true visual centerpiece and the area where this new model separates itself from the rest of its stablemates. As with previous skeleton iterations of the BR 05, the Skeleton Golden abandons the oversized applied numerals of the standard models, in favor of a full set of slim, brightly polished gold lozenge indices. This offers a more seamless visual match overall with the line’s paddle handset, and this simpler, minimalist visual approach works to keep the wearer’s focus squarely on the skeleton movement within. That said, a broad gold chapter ring helps to keep the BR 05 Skeleton Golden commendably legible for a skeletonized design, while also adding a unique layered look to the hour indices. Other than the small applied logo at 12 o’clock, the entirety of the rest of the dial is given over to a transparent-colored dial surface. Depending on the light and the viewing angle, this color can shift from a deep orange to a warm honey gold, complementing the gold tones of the surrounding dial elements without directly matching them. It’s a mellow, rich hue that feels right at home with the ‘70s-inspired design surrounding it, although it likely won’t work for all tastes or skin tones. This colored surface also further works to aid the BR 05 Skeleton Gold’s legibility, creating a clear visual boundary between the handset and the movement components below.

As with the rest of the series, Bell & Ross powers the BR 05 Skeleton Golden with the Sellita SW300-1-based BR-CAL.322 automatic movement. This movement’s humble pedigree and its underwhelming performance (a 38-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate) will almost certainly be the watch’s greatest sticking point among enthusiasts, especially as many competitors at this price point offer vastly more capable in-house designs. From an aesthetic perspective, however, the BR-CAL.322 is nonetheless a stunner. From the dial side, the view is dominated by a strongly geometric set of vertically brushed skeleton bridges, with squared-off contours that cleverly echo the case profile. The mainspring barrel at 6 o’clock forms a bold visual anchor for this layout, while as much of the gear train as possible is left exposed. When viewed from the caseback side, the view is more conventional but still aggressive, with blacked-coated brushed bridges topped by the brand’s distinctive racing wheel-inspired rotor sporting a similar finish.

Our sample of the Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Golden came fitted with a ribbed integrated deployant strap in deep chocolate brown rubber. While the watch is also available on the BR 05’s signature integrated H-link bracelet, this rubber option fits the character and warm color palette of the BR 05 Skeleton Golden well and is surprisingly versatile for a variety of outfit styles. Furthermore, this strap is impressively light and comfortable on the wrist.

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Although there is a sea of integrated bracelet sports watch designs in the current industry landscape, few of these visually stand out from the pack as consistently as the Bell & Ross BR 05 series. Even among this distinctive family, the limited-edition Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Golden stands as one of the most dynamic and unique offerings to date, with a warmly handsome colorway and a bright, eye-catching presentation. Only 500 examples of the Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Golden will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers at a starting MSRP of $6,600 USD. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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