The BR 05 collection, which launched in 2019, is Bell & Ross’ answer to the Gerald Genta designs that dominate the top end of the sports watch market. Namely, the entry level Patek Philippe Nautilus. Since 2019, the range has slowly been expanding as new complications join the line-up with the latest addition being a second time zone on the new BR 05 GMT, which is a perfect fit.
As mentioned, the BR 05 GMT owes a lot to other steel sports luxe timepieces, which is particularly noticeable with its case. The rounded corners of its thick bezel are a nod to the Nautilus’ famous porthole while the prominently positioned screws are pure Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. However, the square case is still well in keeping with Bell & Ross’ own distinct style, making it more of a cool fusion of styles rather than an out and out copycat.
These influences are true of the whole BR 05 collection and aren’t unique to the GMT version, but what is new about this model is that it has a diameter of 41mm. That places it halfway between the 40mm base model and 42mm chronograph, which is still large but by no means egregious in a time when size creep is more noticeable than ever. The size difference is a result of a slightly widened dial that accommodates for the GMT function.
Speaking of which, the basic design of the dial has been preserved from the rest of the collection. A lightly sun brushed black dial with large, applied indices in white, plus all the lume you’d expect from one of Bell & Ross’ instruments – although this is no Full Lum. Joining the central hand stack is a GMT hand in the shape of a large red arrow, pointing to a day/night 24-hour scale on the flange (the inside lip between dial and bezel). This allows you to keep track of the time in your current location and somewhere else in the world, typically your home time zone while you’re traveling.
Bell & Ross describe the steel architecture of the BR 05 GMT, such as the integrated bracelet, as evoking images of the airports and aircraft that are the backbone of the globe-trotter lifestyle. While that’s arguably true, I would prefer not to be reminded of interminable layovers when I look at my watch and that description doesn’t really do justice to what is an attractive piece. Which is why I approached it from the angle of the sports luxe icons it’s inspired by because that’s a much more attractive idea.
Visible through the sapphire glass caseback is the BR-CAL 325, an automatic movement with GMT and date functions. It has a 42-hour power reserve, which is the benchmark these days and a step up from the BR-CAL 321’s 38-hours in the BR 05 Black Steel.
On integrated steel bracelet the BR 05 GMT costs £4,500 which is reduced to £4,100 on black rubber strap. Both options are fine but come on, integrated bracelet all the way. And finally, if previous trends are anything to go by, don’t be surprised if a blue dial option crops up in the not too distant future.
Price & Specs:
Model: Bell & Ross BR 05 GMT
Reference: BR05G-BL-ST/SRB (black rubber strap), BR05G-BL-ST/SST (polished steel bracelet)
Case/Dial: 41mm diameter, satin finished and polished steel case, black sunray dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre BR-CAL.325 (Sellita SW330-1 base), automatic, 25 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, second 24-hour time zone (GMT), date
Strap: Black rubber or polished steel bracelet
Price/availability: £4,100 (rubber strap) and £4,500 (polished steel bracelet)
More details at Bell & Ross.