Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Gold: There’s Visual Value In Precious Metal
Investing in stocks is a risky endeavor, especially when a persistent bull market appears to be built on top of market hype and little else. Stocks are inherently volatile as the value is determined by a huge number of trades and the speculation of brokerage firms or sudden changes to economies such as when global trade is disrupted for an extended period of time. Markets are not all made the same, however, and some can be going gangbusters while other segments of the economy are flatlining.
This is the nature of progress and the evolution of markets throughout the world. But while Tesla or Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) can rise and fall simply because of ill-advised tweets, most companies are beholden to larger market forces, the strength of the supply chain, and the effects of public perception toward their products or the companies’ impacts on society (think Exxon Mobil and Purdue Pharma).
When the market volatility goes up, or the long term outlook switches to a more bearish market (and possible recession), this is when more ideal investments may not be not stocks but commodities. Or at least a few certain commodities. These refer to the materials that companies use to make things and all the resources society needs to survive. Commodities are often much more volatile than stocks or bonds because many are highly dependent on growing seasons, types of products in demand, or even influenced by how cold or warm it is outside.
But a few commodities are stable because the demand will always be high regardless of what the market does and because of a true scarcity of resources. Some of the best to invest in are base metals and the more flashy precious metals. Aluminum, zinc, and copper are in extremely wide use and do not see massive market shifts outside of something that restricts global trade (like in the current market for example).
But precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are so incredibly valuable and useful to a wide variety of industries that they are typically great ways to protect yourself against inflation or deflation. They act as stable stores of value and are traded as such, making investments in gold and platinum, in whatever form, typically solid investments.
That is often the argument made by watch collectors who only buy precious metal watches: it is a form of protection against devaluation. Whether this is as effective as buying solid bullion or trading in commodity EFTs, brands know that gold versions of popular watches will sell especially well because many collectors won’t even lift a finger for a watch that isn’t a big, heavy chunk of gold or platinum.
A prime example is the Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Gold, an 18-karat pink gold version of the very popular BR 05 Skeleton. Bell & Ross knew it had a winner on its hands with the BR 05, so a logical next step was to drop a limited edition for the gold afficionados clamoring for this upgrade.
Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Gold
The BR 05 was a nearly instant hit with collectors as it represented a high-end yet relatively affordable luxury steel sport watch to compete with the heavy hitters on the market. The original BR 05 was also offered in a limited-edition dial-less variant in the BR 05 Skeleton. This version features no dial and simple floating baton markers in place of the large numerals on the basic BR 05.
The underlying movement, Caliber BR-CAL.322, is based on the no-date version of the Sellita SW300, a solid workhorse movement that helps keep the price lower. The brand skeletonized the main plate for a view into the mechanics of the watch, providing a clean steel sports watch with some mechanical flavor.
Now, the BR 05 Skeleton Gold has arrived. This watch capitalizes on the ability to create visual interest with the lack of a dial and skeletonized main plate, but thanks to the solid gold case and gold-plated movement there is significantly more contrast and visual interest. The gold baton markers and hands invite you to peer into the movement where we find a little world of mechanical motion.
The change from steel to gold from a purely aesthetic standpoint seems to have made the BR 05 Skeleton pack even more of a punch. Previously, the BR 05 Skeleton was a bit divisive due to the lack of a high-end caliber inside as WIS often are with pieces in this price range. But the added gold has changed the game. No longer does the simple brushed finishing and lack of chamfered and polished edges feel like it could be more, now it feels wisely restrained for a cleaner and more modern appearance.
The case and bracelet proportions of the BR 05 and BR 05 Skeleton are all the same, so this was already a winner in my book. But the use of pink gold instantly elevates the watch to a very classy option for someone looking to stand out and make an investment. It comes with the option of a black rubber strap, which dresses it down, or a full gold bracelet (the much more high-end look) for $11,000 more because that is a fair amount of gold.
Style and substance
The BR 05 Skeleton in steel is a nice watch, but it wasn’t as visually impactful as the basic BR 05 with clean dial and date since it was a bit more monochromatic. The pink gold plating of the new piece adds just enough contrast to make it pop and makes it feel a bit more like jewelry, the usual purpose of a gold wristwatch.
People don’t usually buy gold watches for their durability and practicality, they buy them because they like the look of something expensive and high quality. Often gold (even white gold) and platinum watches compare more to jewelry than steel watches because the aura of precious metals changes the vibe of a watch.
The physical design of the watches is the same in steel or gold, but the aesthetic appearance and emotional impact is dramatically higher. The warm allure of pink gold and the knowledge that it is a highly valuable piece of wristwear takes a broadly appealing but mid-segment luxury watch and brings it to the top tier.
The overall shape and contours of the Bell & Ross BR 05 collection are extremely attractive, and rendered in pink gold the watch comes into its own.
It’s easy to compare the BR 05 line to other steel sports watches; that market segment is definitely a crowded one. But not all of them get better when they are crafted in gold: some feel out of place or aesthetically muted such as the Chopard Alpine Eagle, which in my opinion feels more appropriate in steel.
But the Bell & Ross BR 05 looks incredible in gold, and the BR 05 Skeleton kicks it up a notch for an even more luxurious feel. This is a case in which the switch to gold has made the watch more attractive to both fans and collectors alike. I am a person who loves steel as my go-to metal, but it is hard to argue that the BR 05 Skeleton Gold is anything less than the pinnacle of the collection.
Everyone has opinions on value and price point, but from a style and execution standpoint the BR 05 Skeleton Gold is a darn sharp watch that I would love to rock. It is a limited edition of 99 pieces so you’ll need to act fast if you’d like to buy it. If you liked the BR 05 but wanted to invest in something with a bit more style (and as a possibly stable store of value thanks to the gold involved) then the BR 05 Skeleton Gold is the watch for you!
At the risk of missing out on a solid investment, let’s break this down!
- Wowza Factor * 8.4 The gold really elevated the BR 05 Skeleton to a level I didn’t expect!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 84» 823.759m/s2 There is enough density in that gold case to help you speed toward the earth while enjoying the excellent styling!
- M.G.R. * 46.4 Caliber BR-CAL.322 based on the Selitta SW300 is a solid base without being too fancy, can’t argue with that!
- Added-Functionitis * N/A As is most common this has no added functions so you can do without the Gotta-HAVE-That cream and just enjoy the aesthetics!
- Ouch Outline * 8.4 Dropping your open pocket knife on your shoeless foot! I use my pocket knife every day; it is an essential part of my everyday carry. But sometimes it slips from my hand, and sometimes I’m not wearing shoes, and sometimes those occurrences overlap and my feet take the brunt. Luckily it’s never too bad, but it could be. Yet I’d take the risk to get the BR 05 Skeleton Gold on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * Gooooooooold! Sometimes just changing a steel watch to gold makes all the difference, and sometimes that makes you start looking for a nice venue for the reception!
- Awesome Total * 715.56 Start with the caliber number (322) and multiply by the diameter in millimeters (40), then divide by the gold content in karats (18) for an aesthetically surprising awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.bellross.com/our-collections/Instruments/br-05/br-05-skeleton/BR-05-SKELETON-GOLD.
Quick Facts Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Gold
Case: 40 x 10.4 mm, pink gold
Movement: automatic Caliber BR-CAL.322 (base Sellita SW300), 40-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz freqency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Price: $23,700 (rubber strap); $34,700 (gold bracelet)