The Dandy Epicurean: BR 05 Chrono Edición LimitadaBy Bhanu Chopra
Based in Paris, Bell & Ross is a French company with manufacturing based out of the heart of the Swiss watchmaking region of La Chaux-de-Fonds. The company was founded in 1992 as a university project between Bruno Belamich (Bell) and Carlos A. Rosillo (Ross). Carlos is a cigar connoisseur and loves lighting up a fine stogie as a daily ritual. It was a matter of time that the new BR 05 sports watch with an integrated bracelet would take inspiration from a Habanos.
In a recent interview with Cigar Journal, Carlos stated, “I’m just a humble cigar lover. To me it is obvious that cigars and watches share similarities, like the handcraft work and a spectacular visual dimension.”
The Bell & Ross BR 05 collection
Bell & Ross first released the BR 05 model in 2019 as an evolution for the iconic BR 03. They maintained many of the stylistic design choices, such as the circle display within the square case with the prominent screws at the edges. However, they softened the profile with more rounded corners for a more polished feel. The case and strap also became an integrated unit for a more cohesive timepiece.
The collection includes three main models: the GMT with a dual time zone, the Chrono with a chronograph complication and the straightforward Auto line. The models have ranged in material, color and included several special editions since the line’s introduction.
BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada
This year’s limited edition BR 05 is a departure from Bell & Ross’ usual aviation-themed watches. Rather, it is inspired by the world of cigars, especially the famous Robusto Maduro, and the appetites of those that enjoy them. This is Bell & Ross’ third special edition timepiece to pay homage to cigars, following the 2006 BR Vintage 126 XL Edición Limitada and the WW1 Edición Limitada of 2015. The BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada continues the tradition of a colorway of steel, pink gold and brown, with touches of deep red and extends the theme to the special presentation box.
The case is a robust 42mm and crafted from satin- finished steel with highlights of polished steel, and the inner bezel is a contrasting 18K rose gold. The dial is a rich matte brown with gold-plated applique numerals, and gold-plated indexes filled with Super-LumiNova. The hour and minute hands are skeletonized and lume-filled. Dual subdials at three and six o’clock are worked into a matching brown dial surrounded by a ring in gold and mimic the rounded square shape of the case.
Touches of deep red evoke cigar bands in decorative elements such as the chronograph hands and the Edición Limitada inscription. Another Bell & Ross signature design is the color coding by function, with red denoting the chronograph functions and a petite golden hand for the small seconds counter. This avoids confusion for easy and clear legibility.
The timepiece is powered by the caliber BR-CAL.301 automatic mechanical movement based on the ETA 2894-2. The movement is visible through the sapphire caseback with a view of a skeletonized rotor and a golden medallion with the logo in the center. The case is water resistant to 100 meters.
The BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada is paired with a choice of two straps. The first is a brown rubber strap with a grooved pattern and a folding clasp for a sportier, more affordable option. The bracelet option is 4N rose gold and steel, designed to fit seamlessly with the colorway of the case for a more integrated finish.
The timepiece is delivered in a wooden box varnished in a rich ebony on the outside and cedar wood on the inside. Both materials were chosen for colors that match those of the timepiece. On the lid is embedded the Bell & Ross logo with gilded steel and 5N gold in the form of a cigar ring. An insert holds the BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada, and the case is designed to be used as a functional humidor.
A Way of Life
The Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada is the epitome of a lifestyle watch meant to evoke the joy of an evening spent sipping at fine spirits and smoking excellent cigars. It’s meant to appeal to the hedonist in us, an invitation to sit back and admire beautiful objects, and to wear them well. This isn’t the timepiece for a wallflower. It’s big and bold with a colorway that catches the eye and holds it. Drawing on the evolutionary history of the BR 05 line and investing it with attitude, the BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada is sure to be the perfect companion on adventures in finding the next perfect evening.
Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada
Movement: Self-winding caliber BR-CAL.301 (based on ETA 2894-2); 42-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date
Case: 42mm × 42mm; satin-finished and polished stainless steel and 18K rose gold; water resistant to 100m
Dial: Brown; gold-plated Arabic numerals “12” and “6” and Super LumiNova-filled indexes
Strap: Integrated brown rubber or two-tone stainless steel and rose gold bracelet
Price: USD 8,600 on rubber strap; USD 13,000 on bracelet
Availability: Limited edition of 250 pieces