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Day in the life: featuring the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chronograph Blue

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We featured the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chronograph through our hands-on review on this site at launch on October 22. Then, we had spent a few hours with the various models and photographing them. But the blue chronograph on strap was not available then. It became available last week, and Bell & Ross asked if we wanted to loan it for a while, and we jumped at the chance. Here is the BR 05 Chrono Blue, featured in a day in the life of our Chief Editor.

Bell & Ross BR 05 Chronograph Blue

The watch loaned to us was the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chronograph with rubber strap in a blue dial and blue strap. The watch feels rather substantial on the wrist, which is not a bad thing, but rather feels very nice. On the hand, and the wrist, it feels well built, and very robust. The contrasting grained finish with polished sides look quite nice. And it is comfortable to wear. The chronograph buttons do require a bit of pressure to activate, stop and reset, but par for the course for a non-integrated chronograph movement.

I took it through its paces during the week I had it with me. And this is a walk through of the Saturday – a rather typical one.

7:50am Wake up!

Alarm goes off!  Though actually, I don’t use an alarm clock, its my natural alarm in which for some reason, I am able to wake up at about 7:50am daily. So wake up, do the morning toilet routine, and open the winder to grab a watch. This morning, its the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chronograph Blue.

Reach for the winder, and take out the BR 05 Chrono. The winder is the Paul Design Gentleman 4, which houses 4 watches. The unit is equipped with LED lights and lock, and programmable for separate winding routines to adapt to different watches

A quick breakfast, and its off to the study for some work.

9:00am to 12:00pm Work on the Deployant.com website

My study also doubles as my photography studio. And where most of the photographs (those not taken in-situ in brand locations) are made. The space is a bit less constrained in this studio than when on-location, and I may utilize as many as 4 lights, and various flags. As opposed to when photographing on the Show Floor or Brand office or Boutique. A look at how I photograph on-location is described in this article.

As we publish daily, most of the writing, editing and Photoshop work is done in the day. We typically plan only a week ahead, mainly because situations are rather fluid, and new releases and photoshoots are often arranged a la minute.

1:00 to 2:00pm Lunch

Then its off to lunch. Hop into the car for a short drive to a nearby mall.

Driving to lunch.

For lunch today, a quick meal of Sarawak Kolo noodles.

And after, pop in to a local coffee shop, we call Kopi Tiam for a bit of a dessert – toast bread with kaya (coconut and egg jam) with butter, soft boiled eggs, and a steaming cup of Kopi-O gao – thick black local Nanyang styled coffee.

The local coffee is usually made from brewing either Robusta or Liberica coffee grinds in a pot. The beans are processed with a double roasting method. First roast, we call it roast, but the process is rather more like baking as it is quite a slow long drawn process for the hour or so to reach first crack. In the western style coffee roasting, first crack is usually reached within 10 minutes, and second crack occurs about 12-14minutes into the roast, after which the roast is dumped for cooling. In the Nanyang roast (bake), the coffee is dumped after first crack and allowed to cool. Maize (corn) and sometimes margarine and sugar is added for a second bake. Resulting coffee is very black, oily, and heavily caramalized. This is what is locally known as Kopi.

Flavours are very dark, heavy and with good body. The fragrance of the coffee is typically less than fresh roasted Arabica beans, but it permeates the coffee. The coffee is made via immersion method with the grounds in a muslin sock, and steeped in hot water till the desired brew concentration is achieved. Drunk as Kopi-O with sugar, Kopi-O Kosong without sugar, or as Kopi with condensed milk.

4:00 to 6:00pm short ride

On some afternoons, I go out on my bicycle ride. Though on most days, the morning/afternoon schedule is reversed – morning ride, afternoon work on Deployant.com.

The BR 05 Chronograph is up to the task of taking on daily activities, even sporty ones. Even a hardcore bicycle ride in the city does not faze the watch. In fact, the chronograph is useful for timing intervals.

7:00pm dinner and espresso

After dinner, I usually make some espresso myself. The beans are roasted by hand. See this TGIFriday article on how I roast my coffee beans. These Arabica beans are roasted with nothing added. The entire process from start to mid-second crack takes no more than 12 to 13 minutes, depending on the beans. For tonight, its Brazil Santos. A Single Origin (city of Santos, near Sao Paolo) with bean variety of Mundo Novo, Catuai, Tupi and Bourbon grown at 800m – 1,200m above seal level. Roasted to Full City Second Crack – a dark roast, suitable for espresso.

Dosage is carefully weighed out on a gram accurate digital scale. In this case to 14.9g for a target of 15g. If I add a single bean to the cup the weight will tip over at 15.1g. I rather prefer to err on the light side.The dosage recipe is the traditional and classical Espresso of 1:2 ratio. The portafilter takes 15g of coffee grounds to yield 30g of espresso doppio (double espresso). Pull ratios of less than 1:2 results in what is known as a ristretto (typically 1:1), and longer is called a lungo (typically 1:4).

The beans are then ground on a Mazzer Mini grinder to a fine espresso grind. And the grounds prepared to fill the portafilter. The coffee bed in the portafilter is carefully leveled with the distribution tool, and then tamped into a solid puck.

Tools of the trade. A tamper and a distribution tool to groom and prepare the coffee bed in the portafilter for extraction. And a chronograph to time the shot. The nature of espresso is that it is prescribed to pass water at about 92C at 9 bars of pressure over a bed of coffee which is ground fine enough that the water takes approximately 25-30 seconds to pass through.

The Elektra Casa a Leva is a classical spring lever machine, capable of making exquisite espresso when operated properly. The photograph below shows the machine ready to pull an espresso doppio. Water pressure is seen at 1.2 bar, and the boiler head is about 88C. The lever is pulled down and released. A spring inside the machine exerts a pressure of about 6 to 7 bars, consistently and smoothly forces the water through the coffee bed to make the espresso.

Lock and load. Pull 30g of espresso in 29 seconds, for a brew ratio of 1:2, classical espresso recipe.

30g of espresso is extracted over a period of 29 seconds, timed by the BR 05 Chronograph, after a 15s pre-infusion cycle, timed by the digital timer on the scale.

BR 05 Chronograph used as a timer for the flow of espresso. 29 seconds of extraction.

The result, a thick, syrupy espresso. The Brazil Santos exhibits chocolatey, buttery, nutty notes. Reminiscent of a bouquet of nutella and lindt chocolate. Some purists may frown on it, but I drink it with a teaspoon of sugar…like they do in Italy!

11:30pm Good night!

After the coffee, I normally return to work on the website. Remember, we do publish every single day at 9:30pm Singapore time. I normally turn in at about 11:30pm.

Time set at 10:10 for effect.

Concluding thoughts

The Bell & Ross  BR 05 Chronograph makes a fine statement, as its square profile is distinctive and rather attractive. The chronograph definitely adds functionality to the watch. It fits nicely on my wrist, and is very comfortable. It does not pretend to be a haute horlogerie masterpiece, nor does it make any promises of value retention. But what it does promise is rather interesting and equally valid. It promises to fit into your active urban life and daily activities.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Day in the life: featuring the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chronograph Blue – SaFonaGastroCrono

  2. I really enjoyed this article, Peter, thank you.

    My favourite part was ‘guess the watches in the winder’. I think that’s a 5711 top left, but not sure about the rest…

    I had considered buying the Elektra very recently, but recognised I lack the patience to surmount that steep learning curve…

    • haha, Daryll…yes, its 5711 on the top left. The other two are a Seiko 5 and the Stoic Flieger.

      Elektra: do it! I can help with the learning curve.