While Bell & Ross aren’t a brand that grab everyone’s attention when they release a new piece, they do make respectable and beautiful watches. That was clear with the fantastic BR-05 in 2019, and now the company have refined and improved on that model with the BR-X5.
While the whole range is built off the bones of the BR03 range, the BR-05 made it a little more urban and less hardcore by implementing an integrated design and focusing less on military-orientated style. Now we have the BR-X5 which is a far more powerful take on the whole range. We’ve got a more muscular look here with multi-part architecture that is sure to make enthusiasts drool a little.
If you’re wondering what the “X” stands for, it’s experimentation. This experimentation doesn’t so much appear with the general design; we’ve still got the iconic circle within a square, pilot inspiration, the integrated bracelet, and four screws, but now we have a more complex construction. The main change here is the watertight container which protects the movement. It’s the sapphire crystal sandwiched between two steel plates along the side that opens up the possibilities of changing materials in future releases meaning that we will hopefully see more of these.
The watch is larger than the BR-05 coming in at 41mm and a thickness of 12.8mm but that’s to comfortably fit all the new complications. These include a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and a large triple-digit date window at 3 o’clock.
What everyone is talking about though is the new movement. For the first time Bell & Ross are using a manufacture movement from Kenissi. This partnership makes sense as Kenissi are partially owned by Chanel who also partially own Bell & Ross. The BR-Cal.323 is an automatic movement that takes the same base elements as Tudor or Breitling. It has a 70-hour power reserve, transversal balance bridge, variable inertia balance, and a 4Hz frequency. As with all good movements, it’s a COSC certified chronometer with a 5-year warranty. It’s also a beauty to look at through the sapphire caseback.
If you love the BR-05, then you’ll love these even if you lose a little of the elegance of the previous models. What’s not to like? The colourways (black, ice blue, and carbon) are stellar. The option to choose between a rubber strap or metal bracelet is great because neither look better or worse than the other, it’s simply a matter of choosing which you like better. Yeah, they might be a little large, but nowhere near the monsters you can buy elsewhere.
If you’re after a beefier, more powerful BR-05 then the BR-X5 is for you. You can buy these online or at authorised dealers with the steel references coming in at $9,900 AUD on rubber and $10,700 on steel. The carbon reference is up there at $17,000 assumedly because the material is far more complex to use in an already complex case design.
At a Glance
Reference: BRX5R-BL-ST/SST, BRX5R-BL-ST/SRB, BRX5R-IB-ST/SST, BRX5R-IB-ST/SRB, BRX5R-BO-TC/SRB
Material: Stainless-steel, Grade 2 microblasted titanium with DLC (diamond-like carbon) finish.
Power Reserve: 70-hours
Water Resistance: 100m
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds. Date window at 3 o’clock and power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock.
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless-steel integrated bracelet, coloured rubber strap