Bell & Ross BR 05 Copper Brown: Color Me Copper
by Martin Green
In 2019, Bell & Ross expanded their line-up with the BR 05. This was a clever move, as it infused the lines that we know so well from their signature BR 01 collection with an urban spirit. It offers a ‘cushion square’ case of 40mm with four distinct screws in the bezel and an ‘integrated’ bracelet (I’ll get back to that later). It gives the watch an undeniable ‘Genta-nesque’ appeal, something that seems to be the fate of every watch resembling his iconic Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak even in the slightest bit, even Rolex wasn’t immune for with its Oysterquartz. However, the designers at Bell & Ross have plenty of their own DNA to fall back on and the BR 05 can easily stand its ground in this heavily competed area of the watch market.
Clean, not so mean, urban machine
The BR 05 is by no means a small watch and has quite a presence on the wrist. 40mm doesn’t sound that large, but given that the watch is a square with softened corners, it offers quite a bit of real estate on the wrist. On the wrist, it impresses with its wearing comfort. The bracelet is remarkably supple, and while there is no micro-adjustment incorporated, the links get smaller towards the clasp, making it quite easy to get the right fit.
Since its introduction, the BR 05 has been quite a success for Bell & Ross. I feel that its clean lines play an essential role in this. Nothing is missing, but simultaneously there are no superfluous details. It is honest and straightforward in what it is, and because of that it makes a very clear statement.
The beauty of the clean look is in having no more than it needs, the BR 05 offers more than you might expect. While it has a certain elegance, it is robust enough to serve as a tool watch and in not afraid of water. The screw-down crown sits protected between crown guards and allows the Bell & Ross to offer water resistance of 10ATM/100 meters.
Color me copper
The BR 05 Copper Brown is very eye-catching. The sunburst effect on the dial gives a beautiful play of light, and the hue of the dial goes from salmon to a darker tone of brown, depending on the conditions. The bold hour markers and Arabic numerals give a sporty touch, and it is pleasant to see that Bell & Ross kept the printing on the dial to the bare minimum.
Bell & Ross even went through the trouble of making the date disc the same color as the dial. A stunning detail that makes the BR 05 even more sophisticated. It comes at a minor cost because the black printing with the date numbers is not as legible under all conditions as you would like it to be. I wonder how it would look if the date was in white. However, I feel that it is a small price to pay, as the date is secondary information that you don’t need that often, and I rather have the added sophistication. The time i can be read at a glance as Bell & Ross doesn’t hide its aviation roots.
Not so integrated
The bracelet is not as integrated as the previously mentioned Patek Philippe Nautilus or Audemars Piguet Royal Oak bracelets. It can be changed in a matter of seconds for a brown rubber strap. While this sounds like a very casual material, the visual effect is the opposite.
With the copper brown dial the strap makes this BR 05 look more elegant, like a modern-day, urban dress watch. While the rubber strap makes for a nice addition, I would definitely recommend purchasing it on the metal bracelet, as it is too good to pass up.
Bell & Ross powers the BR 05 Copper Brown with caliber BR-CAL.321, which is based on the Sellita SW-300. This is a solid performer and is exactly the type of movement you want in an urban sports watch like the BR 05. Some might say that it lacks the sophistication of a refined finish or a more complex and elaborate construction, but it makes up for that in precision, robustness, and price.
An added advantage is that when it needs servicing, the BR 05 most likely won’t break the bank. Bell & Ross shows the movement through a sapphire insert in the case back. Although you mainly see the oscillating weight shaped like the rim of a high-performance car. It suits the theme and is yet another detail in which the Bell & Ross BR 05 Copper Brown sets itself so successfully apart from the competition.
For more information, please visit www.bellross.com/us/en-gb/BR-05-COPPER-BROWN-STEEL-STRAP
Quick Facts Bell & Ross BR 05
Case: 40 mm, stainless steel, water resistant to 100 m
Dial: Copper brown with applied numerals and hands coated in Super-LumiNova;
Movement: automatic Caliber BR-CAL.321 (base Sellita SW300-1), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency. 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: $5,100 on steel bracelet; $4,600 on a rubber strap
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