Bell & Ross: BR 01 CYBER SKULL SAPPHIRE
With ultra-modern clarity, the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire timepiece becomes virtually translucent.
Back in 2005 it was Bell & Ross’s BR 01 – a macho oversized square-cased pilot’s watch, that while controversial because of its size, did ingeniously replicate the instrumentation of an aircraft cockpit. Authentically permeating with military roots, the watch became a modern icon, thus setting the benchmark in the world of professional aviation watches. From its early days, founders Bruno Belamich and Carlos Rosillo made clear that pilots and their instruments were the foundation of the design behind most Bell & Ross models. Sharing the sentiment that deep research will constitute functional and durable timepieces, Bell & Ross quickly garnered a reputation for high-performing watches. Precision and water-resistance were key attributes that became highly sought-after. Today their relationship with professional airspace institutions is largely unrivalled. They can claim to be the official supplier of the Space Lab Mission, The French Airforce, and as of 2021, the official partner of the Patrouille de France. About the new alliance Belamich said: “This token of trust is the fruit of a rich and prestigious history between Bell & Ross and military aviation. It is a recognition and an honour to be able to display La Patrouille de France to our professional references.”
However, having cemented their watchmaking prestige in the domain of professional airspace, Bell & Ross leapt out of their comfort zone. In 2009 they became one of the first watchmakers to create a skull watch. The BR 01 Skull includes skull and crossbones in the company’s iconic “circle in square” case. Breaking with the tradition the watch doesn’t belong to any set family, but in a twist has created one all on its own. The family now has ten members. The newest update is actually the “public version” of the BR 01 Cyber Skull Only Watch, with one key difference. Fetching CHF 220,000 when the hammer went down at the biannual auction in Geneva, instead of the vivid orange skull echoing the colours of Only Watch, 2021, the faceted skull is now transparent. Continuing down that same path, and incorporating the sharper case design of the BR Cyber Skull, virtually everything becomes transparent with this watch. Paying homage to the ultra-modern world of informatics and virtual technology with its pixilated design, it is visually avant-garde. Its angular design, reminiscent of the ancestral Japanese art of paper folding is a nod to Origami.
Made almost entirely of clear sapphire crystal, the Cyber Skull Sapphire has a sci-fi look, and unlike their typically functional watches destined for professional airspace, this model is the UFO of the watchmaking world. The timepiece plays the transparency card to the full, including in the translucent rubber strap. This high-end watch boasts a BR-CAL.209 automaton movement. Specifically developed for the watch, this manual-wind skeleton calibre is almost invisible. The skeleton form reveals some of the interesting technical parts including the cogs, balance and more. The plate and bridges follow the outline of the skull before extending below the crossbones. The spring balance placed at “twelve o’clock” symbolises the brain in this skull which is very much alive.
Presented as a limited edition of ten pieces, the watch is available exclusively at Bell & Ross Burlington Arcade Boutique and through their website at a price of £89,000 each. Tech Specs Movement: calibre BR-CAL.209. hand-wound mechanical Manufacture. Skeletonised, rhodium-plated main plate and bridges. 21 jewels. 28,800 vph. Incabloc shock protection system. 48-hour power reserve. Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating with logo and 12 engraved indices. Functions: hours and minutes. Moving skull when wound by hand. Water-resistance: 30 metres. Case: length 43.50 mm, width 45 mm. Sapphire. Faceted polished steel crown. Sapphire case back. Strap: Translucent rubber strap with BR embossing – black PVD coated steel pin buckle Dial: skeletonised faceted sapphire. Faceted sapphire skull. Balance at 12 o’clock.