Late last year I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch event of the BR-05 here in Melbourne.
The location was fantastic, held at ‘The Hidden Gem’, a rooftop venue overlooking the CBD. Just the food and views alone were enough to keep you there till the wee hours.
Everyone that attended had pretty much a plethora of models. The Red Radar, The Bellytanker and the Ghost Bezel GMT were ones which stood out for me. I had recently picked up a BR03 GMT, and this new integrated bracelet sports model looked intriguing.
The evening was an absolute treat, and all the launch models of the BR-05 were not behind glass cases or lock and key, but just on plinths for people to freely walk up and try them on (even the Limited Edition skeleton)
Secondly, though the launch was of the BR-05, it never once felt like a tarted-up sale event, but more of a celebration of the brand which made the whole evening feel very relaxed and enjoyable.
I’ll be honest the first impressions were more of curiosity with the watch. Bell and Ross have other models that I would choose before reaching for the BR-05. BUT I do think that photos do not do this timepiece justice. Not to say the watch isn’t without style choices that are not my favourite.
A lot of people will expect the line – ‘Oh it looks like a rip off of a Nautilus or a Royal Oak’. But that’s not where I have my disagreements with styling. If you look at the Bell and Ross range, both historical and current, you can see that this model is more an evolution than a revolution of their design.
My biggest gripe with the watch is I think that the bezel is too broad, I would have liked to see the dial for the BR-05 keep the TV shape of the case, resulting in an even bezel width – Like the 1310 Quartz Omega’s of the 1970s.
The bracelet and rubber strap options for this, however, are brilliant and for its size, it wears well, even for people who have smaller wrists.
It was compelling listening to the people at the attendance of the launch on their thoughts on the BR-05. One of them was a counter-argument to the link between the BR-05 and its similarities to a Nautilus/Royal Oak. ‘How easy is it to get a Nautilus or Royal Oak retail? Also, the price is inhibitive to most people so if you want that sports integrated look without losing a Kidney (or Both) what other options do you have, if you want that integrated bracelet look?’
At a recent Red Bar event, I was lucky enough to sit down with Pete from Not so obvious watches, and we discussed this at length.
For the price, you won’t get anything else much more striking or unique looking than a Bell and Ross. Yes, there may be similarities with other designs, but I don’t think you could design a full steel sports watch for Bell and Ross and not end up with some similarities with what they already have with the BR-05.
All in all, the event was such an enjoyable experience. The people there were all fantastic to speak to, and the venue was pretty much perfect.
I will say as a closing remark. I think the one common undertone to the event which showed in the conversations on the new watch.
It’s not a boring brand.
My name is Adam,
I work in the energy industry here in Melbourne since 2003 – Originally from Newcastle, Australia and am a massive Rugby League fan and general sports tragic as well.
I have been fascinated by watches and anything mechanical since I was about 5 years old. My grandfather’s 1969 Omega Chronostop kickstarted my interest in this hobby.
Started getting into the hobby more seriously towards the end of 2017. Picked up an Omega Seamaster professional as my first serious purchase.
From there it has grown exponentially. I have a soft spot for Omega and Seiko and love the vintage range these two brands offer.
In my spare time, I love taking my Pug for walks and staying up late here in Australia watching formula one races.