Bell & Ross is a watchmaker best known for its utilitarian tool watches, offering a pared-back aesthetic that looks to have been ripped out of an aircraft instrument panel. Instantly recognisable with their square cases and round dials, if you’re after a timepiece with some tactical flair, you can’t go past the French-founded brand. However, today the Bell & Ross collection is increasingly focused on good-looking everyday sports watches, of which the Bell & Ross BR 05 Horolum is one of the most compelling to date.
The Horolum idea was first released by Bell & Ross back in 2017, with the bead blasted and heavily luminescent BR03-92 Horolum. This year, the next iteration of the popular design has been released, this time employing the BR 05 collection as its canvas, and presenting as a much more versatile timepiece. The BR 05 only debuted a couple of years ago but has already proven itself as a young, but foundational part of the Bell & Ross lineup, currently available in a range of different complications and materials.
The first thing you notice about the Bell & Ross BR 05 Horolum is its light grey sandblasted case and bracelet. Measuring a very wearable 40mm across and executed in steel, it blends the time-honoured impression of an integrated bracelet sports watch, with the matte finishing of a stealth bomber. The case lines are softer and more rounded than you might find across the rest of the Bell & Ross catalogue, emphasising the urban interpretation of sporty chic.
Almost perfectly matching the colour of the case and bracelet is the recessed dial, offering impressive visual depth thanks to the sloping chapter ring and applied hour markers. As you’d expect from a watch with lum in its name, both the hands and hour markers feature liberal applications of C5 Super-LumiNova, which is the brightest material on the market.
Not only does this give you an enticing talking point the next time you’re in a softly lit cocktail bar, but also makes the watch very easy to read at night, with the green glowing dial working in tandem with the lightness of the rest of the watch. Apart from the printed Bell & Ross logo, the only other dial furniture is the applied frame of the date window, adding a touch of day-to-day practicality and even more visual depth.
Beneath the dial of the Bell & Ross BR 05 Horolum is the workhorse Calibre BR-CAL.321, the same movement that has been used across the rest of the time-only BR 05 range. Ticking away at 28,800 and offering 42 hours of power reserve, the nicely finished movement is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback.
As I’d mentioned earlier, the Bell & Ross BR 05 Horolum arrives on the brand’s classic H-link bracelet, but that isn’t your only option. The new Horolum is also available on a black rubber strap, which seamlessly integrates into the case and delivers a sportier look on the wrist. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing a Bell & Ross rubber strap on your wrist, you’ll know it’s one of the most (if not the most) comfortable straps in the game, a fact that isn’t talked about enough in discussions about Bell & Ross.
All considered, there’s a lot to like about the Bell & Ross BR 05 Horolum. From the everyday wearability of the BR 05 case design and the rarely seen sandblasted finish to the depth of the luminescent dial and the option of the rubber strap, the details are as compelling as the total package. If what you’re looking for is an everyday watch with a party trick up its sleeve, you won’t go wrong here.
The Bell & Ross BR 05 Horolum is a boutique limited edition and has an RRP of $7,500 on the bracelet and $6,700 on the rubber strap, with 250 pieces of each reference available worldwide.