Introducing the Bell & Ross BR05 GMT: pros & cons
Introduced nearly two years ago, the BR 05 is Bell & Ross' take on the ubiquitous luxury sports watch and a more mainstream product than the hallmark aviation-inspired instrument wristwatches. Despite being a big and bold BR die-hard fan, I admit you won't expand your brand and business if you exclusively pay attention to military-geared tool watches. The BR 05 was equally a chance and a not-to-be-missed opportunity; also, add the right luxury sports watch to your product portfolio, and you'll end up enlarging your audience and drive those leads to discover your entire offering afterwards.
Nonetheless, making it right is all but easy, but I think the thoroughly thought BR05 has a clean design and the right amount of the brand's DNA and family feeling. After revealing the base model, chronograph and skeleton options (my all-time fav, so far), Bell & Ross take the curtain off the new BR05 GMT, quite an unexpected move looking at the current product line-up. You would expect a GMT variant to follow the base version since they usually share the same technical layout. I guess that Bell & Ross kept the new GMT into a drawer during the pandemic; Case in point, introducing a GMT watch when you're not allowed to travel at all makes no sense unless you're opting for style rather than function.
The base layout is aesthetically enriched with a broad and red-tipped GMT hand and an internal toned-down black and grey 24-hour scale. The red hand thus contrasts the flat, two-tone template and makes the watch stand out. The timepiece comes with everything you're familiar with in a BR05, i.e. a "one-piece" looking case and bracelet, which is brushed throughout except for screws, bezel and case's profile, and crown.
Polished are also the integrated bracelet's mid links. Beating inside the 41 mm case (measuring 11 mm in thickness) is the BR-CAL.325 calibre, namely a reworked Sellita base movement equipped with a re-designed winding rotor. I would have gone for something more refined considering the price point and the benchmark (the watch costs 4990 Euros on a bracelet), while I approve it from a reliability and maintenance cost standpoint, although 42 hours of power reserve on a GMT watch is a letdown.
The new Bell & Ross BR05 GMT also comes with a rubber strap at 4500 Euros. In summary, the Bell & Ross BR 05 GMT is a stylish and attractive GMT, especially as a full-steel timepiece, and is, no doubt, the most reasonable and usable GMT watch by the brand. Thumbs down for the mechanical package instead; I'm not asking for any in-house movement whatsoever, but an outsourced calibre with far more power reserve and better finish would be more than welcome.
(Photo credit: courtesy Bell & Ross)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®