Bell & Ross has capped off a year to forget with a release to remember, debuting a reimagined square case – modeled like the fuselage of the Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk- that will hopefully spawn a bold new collection for the brand.
The BR 01 CYBER SKULL, arrives 11 years after Bell & Ross first debuted the SKULL theme, paying tribute to the courageous military personnel from the 82nd and 101st American Airborne Division whose jumpsuits bore a skull and the words: Death from Above, during the Normandy landings in 1944. In 2020, the Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull “lays claim to avant-garde Haute Horlogerie – where watchmaking, design, symbolism, and bold creativity meet.”
Limited to 500 pieces, the BR 01 CYBER SKULL continues the collection’s pursuit of breaking traditional watchmaking codes but does so for the next generation, aiming to be both futuristic and disruptive. The result is a multifaceted, 46.5mm matte black ceramic case (3.5mm wider than the 03-92 HUD we got hands-on with earlier this year), with angled corners and sapphire crystal that floats above the skeletonized dial and movement. Where the screws in the crossbones of former B&R releases once held the exterior of the case together, for the BR 01 CYBER SKULL they exist within the case, as do the brand’s logo and hour markers, printed on the internal surface of the crystal. These subtle design innovations provide the watch with an ever-intriguing, geometric appearance and deliver a sleek wrist profile.
Inside the BR 01 CYBER SKULL case sits the Bell & Ross Calibre BR-CAL.208 manufacture movement with 50 hours of power reserve, developed with Concepto Watch Factory. The hand-wound movement carries on the function of the 2018 LAUGHING SKULL, whereby winding it moves the jaw of the skull and the gradual unwinding momentarily reveals the barrels. The most notable feature is, of course, the head or brain of the SKULL which reveals the balance wheel and hairspring – the beating heart of the watch. Securing the BR 01 CYBER SKULL to the wrist is the bulletproof Bell & Ross rubber strap, stamped with BR insignia.
Whether you’re a fan of the SKULL theme or not, the BR 01 CYBER SKULL presents an exciting new aesthetic for the brand with a case that makes a bold but refined statement. We can only hope it resurfaces in future releases.