Bell & Ross recently added to their already growing line of BR 05 sports watches with a new version of the BR 05 GMT. This one is clad in a white dial, an obvious complement to the original version in black that saw a release one year ago. This latest addition to the collection further underlines the idea that the BR 05, which was met with some skepticism from the watch community upon its initial release, will remain a core component of the Bell & Ross catalog for the foreseeable future.
That skepticism surrounding the BR 05 was largely a product of what I think we can term as Integrated Bracelet Sports Watch Overkill. In the spring of 2020, when Zach Weiss reviewed the then brand new original version of the BR 05, we were in the midst of an onslaught of new similarly styled sports watches from every conceivable angle. It seemed that all any brand could think about was capitalizing on the growing hysteria for Royal Oaks and Nautili, and alternatives at every price point began to crop up, seemingly overnight. Many of the integrated bracelet sports watches that first appeared during this time frame have revealed themselves to be also-rans, not catching on in a meaningful way. But the BR 05 is still going strong, with new complications and novelties that indicate Bell & Ross has real confidence in this platform.
And, you know what? They should have confidence in the BR 05. It’s not actually a substitute for a Royal Oak or a Nautilus at all (which should have been obvious from the start) but a natural addition to what is actually a pretty varied lineup of watches. Bell & Ross cut their teeth on their iconic square cased, instrument inspired tool watches, but they also make lovely vintage inspired watches with traditional circular cases in their BR Vx line. The BR 05, still strangely listed under a heading dubbed “Urban” on their website, is simply a modern middle ground. A nicely made, well finished, contemporary sports watch that isn’t too toolish, but still holds onto that square cased design DNA the brand is known for. It’s sporty, but not really made for sports.
And now, if you’ve been after a GMT version of the BR 05 but like a dial that’s a bit less sober, they now offer one in a clean white colorway. Described as “opaline white” by the brand, the tone here is intentionally metallic, a choice made to match the case and integrated bracelet. The dial has a fine eggshell-like texture created through a galvanization process, and oversized applied numerals at 12, 6, and 9. Those numerals, and hour markers, also appear white, but in a brighter shade thanks to a lume application. You wouldn’t think that a white on white execution like this would be particularly legible, but from the supplied photos it looks like Bell & Ross has made the most of the contrast and is using polished finishing of the dial furniture to full effect to make everything pop, including the red tipped GMT hand.
The technical specs are in line with previous versions of the BR 05: a BR-CAL 301 movement (a modified ETA 2894) with “caller” GMT functionality, a 41mm case that measures just 11.07mm tall, and 100 meters of water resistance. The BR 05 GMT is available on either a ridged black rubber strap, or an integrated bracelet with alternating satin and polished finishing techniques applied. The retail price on the strap is $5,000, while the bracelet version will set you back $5,500. Bell & Ross