Jul 23, 2023
Since its debut in 2019, the Bell & Ross BR 05 has quickly become the focus of the brand’s product strategy. In the span of just four years, the “Urban” BR 05 has expanded into a collection of four
Since its debut in 2019, the Bell & Ross BR 05 has quickly become the focus of the brand’s product strategy. In the span of just four years, the “Urban” BR 05 has expanded into a collection of four different models: automatic 3-hander (including skeleton models), power reserve (with an exclusive Kenissi movements), GMT, and chronograph. That last model was released just one year after the original three-hand models, has already seen a few limited editions. The newest regular production model is the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Green Steel, offered on a rubber strap or bracelet and featuring a brilliant green dial.
There is no watch in the BR 05 family that isn’t chunky. By virtue of its shape and lack of anything to mitigate it, the entire collection has a blocky, modern style that sits on the wrist with a fair amount of presence, and that is even more true for the 42mm-wide steel case of the chronograph model. Previously 13.5mm-thick, the BR 05 Chrono models are now all 14.25mm-thick thanks to a new movement (which I’ll discuss below). I mention the chunkiness upfront because while that extra .75mm makes this watch wear a bit top heavy, these models already wore prominently. On top of that, 14.25 isn’t too bad for an automatic chronograph.
The pushers are of particular note on this case. Unobtrusive in their design, the operation is notably crisp. The way they are positioned and their size makes it such that you can operate them from almost any angle, with any finger. The watch has a sapphire crystal, 100m of water resistance, and comes on an integrated bracelet with a butterfly deployant (which may beget sizing issues for some). It’s also available on a rubber strap for a few hundred dollars less, and the two options can be easily swapped thanks to the push-button quick-release mechanism.
The dial here offers an emerald green that’s truly alive. The sunburst ranges from an explosive green to almost black, depending on the light. There’s a very subtle silvery graining to the subdials, in addition to the circular grooving, that offers some sharp textural contrast. Bell & Ross is known, for better or worse, for putting a 4:30 date on almost every watch it makes, and this is no different. While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, the vertical orientation of this display shows it was very intentional and though out, and the color matching is impressively on point. The handset recalls that of the Royal Oak, but works well here with the matching applied baton indices and brushed applied numerals which share the hands’ rounded ends. One thing that caught my eye was the subdial hands, which feature square bases that match the shape of the subdials—exceptional attention to detail from the brand. Everything is coated in Super-LumiNova, of course, even the chronograph seconds hand.
The Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Green Steel is powered by the Bell & Ross BR-Cal.326, which is based on the Sellita SW-510 automatic chronograph movement. Seen through a sapphire caseback and featuring a custom 360° rotor, this movement features a 60-hour power reserve at 28,800 vph and a cam-operated chronograph mechanism. The BR-Cal.326 replaces the modular BR-CAl.301—which was an ETA 2894-2 with a chronograph module—and was introduced earlier this year in the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono A523, the brand’s latest collaboration with the BWT Alpine Formula 1 team. The big difference is the apparent added height (I couldn’t see anything else that would’ve caused the swell), and an extra 18 hours of power reserve. The BR-Cal.326 is now the standard movement for all BR 05 Chrono models, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it fitted to all of the brand’s chronographs in the coming years.
Counting this new addition, the BR 05 collection has expanded to 21 available models, not including all the different strap configurations. While there’s nothing new about green, the richness of this dial stands out against the other BR 05 Chronos and for me is the best option yet. The Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Green Steel is priced at $6,200 USD on rubber and $6,700 USD on the steel bracelet. That marks a $300 increase since the originals were released three years ago. With the price hikes we’ve been seeing around the industry, this really isn’t a that significant or remarkable, especially given the new integrated chronograph movement. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.$6,200 USD$6,700 USD