Have you ever gotten this instant connection at first sight? The feeling so strong when you first see it, you want it so damn badly? That’s how we felt towards the recently released Bell & Ross BR05 Chrono A523. Just like a date, we whisked “her” off to Hong Kong with us and entered a whimsical journey together for a week. Oh and it definitely got hot in there (no pun intended on the crazy Hong Kong Summer weather), here’s our take on how it fits on my wrist right.
Review: new Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono A523
The Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono A523 as reviewed on bracelet has a retail price of SGD 10,400. The leather strap variant is set for a retail price of SGD 9,600. Prices are inclusive of GST.
First Impression/The Case
When I first collected the watch from the boutique at Mandarin Gallery, my initial thought was that it was basically a hunk of steel. Soon after, I noticed that it is so well weighted that it makes its presence felt when I don it on my wrist. The square case of the BR05 sits proudly with dominance on my wrist, it feels like the girl that you always dream of where it has just the right amount of curve and the right presence.
Many may think that on paper the dimension of the watch might be intimidating especially for a medium wrist like mine (6.25 inch) but when the strap was sized correctly, it was simply perfect. The Bell and Ross BR05 Chronograph has both brushed and polished surfaces; you cannot help but admire it especially during the commute in the plane or during the “long wait” that Verstappen created while doing qualifying on Saturday. Perhaps if you are not so distracted by the beauty of the Bell and Ross, one may activate the chronograph on the watch to time how long he took to move off.
The dial is presented in the colours of Bell and Ross’ F1 team partner Alpine. The chapter ring is decorated in Alpine Blue while the dial is black with French Flag motif painted just above the 6 o’clock. The minute track are decorated in a way that it reminds the wearer of the checkered flag at the end of the race.
The numerals on the watch instantly reminds us of it being a racing inspired watch with the numerals being clear and italic. The numerals and minute markers are all filled with Super Luminova which are clear in dark environment. This is especially important during the parties after the races where drivers celebrate their hard work paying off. If it is on the wrist of the late James Hunt, the lume might be useful in other dark conditions.
When we flip the watch backwards, we are greeted with a rotor that is modeled after the rims of a sports car. It is a glorious sight where again reminds us that the watch is a result of the partnership between Alpine and Bell and Ross. The back of the case is a sight that I constantly find myself staring at when I have pockets of time. The “rim” certainly made me fall in love with it so much that I might consider wearing it backwards.
Behind the beautiful rotor, it is fitted with the BR Cal. 321 which is essentially the bulletproof Sellita SW300. Just like a race car, we never expect the watch to fail on us, having a tried and tested movement like the Sellita SW300 almost guarantees a hassle-free, robust and reliable watch ownership experience.
Jumping on the bandwagon of the current hype on integrated bracelet, the BR05 is one of the newer watches that sports it. It is noted that the bracelet does not have any micro adjustment functions which might be a turn off for some. It is also evident that the link for the bracelets are not as intricate as the “God Father” of integrated bracelet watches the Audemar Piguet Royal Oak therefore giving the Bell and Ross a more limited adjustability.
The above observations are further proved right when the boutique staff took about 20 minutes to size up the watch for me but eventually found it was a gesture that I appreciated.
During my week in Hong Kong, weather was unbelievably warm therefore causing my wrist to expand when I was out for lunch but the watch didn’t feel like it was restricting me. When I was indoors, the Pearl of the Orient is known to blast their aircon as if we are polar bears which causes my wrist to contract. The watch still maintains its presence like my wrist is it’s home. I guess when both Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly wears it during the Singapore GP, it should be as comfortable for them as it was for me.
The love affair between watchmakers and F1 racing teams is certainly a never ending one. From the beginning where Heuer was being used as a timing device to current times where the luxury watch maker Richard Mille being the sponsor of both Ferrari and McLaren. The love affair doesn’t only stop at the teams, the drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Mick Schumacher (yes, I just had to insert one of the F1 Royalty) to the 2023 F1 Singapore GP Race Winner Carlos Sainz have all been spotted with amazing time pieces. From our point of view, we believe that this affair will continue to flourish till the end of time just like a Disney fairytale.
The first watch that is in comparison is the IWC Pilot Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team” that is given to everyone in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. Granted the similarity between both the IWC and the Bell and Ross are that they are both Chronograph and “Pilot” watches too.
The second watch that is in comparison is the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph Aston Martin F1 Edition. Both the GP and Bell and Ross have an integrated strap/bracelet design and are both Chronograph.
With the three watches that are compared, we believe that chronograph and automotive inspired watches certainly goes hand in hand.
After a week of donning it on the wrist in Hong Kong, I admit that it became a whimsical love affair. I fell in love with it even more after spending time with it in Hong Kong where many stole glances of it and I am proud it gained attention. Would I buy it? I definitely would, should I want only one watch for every occasion. This particular iteration of BR05 is the exact watch where I could rock it with a suit where it has enough presence but also looks great while I am in my “Billionaire Playboy” streetwear. If I am a one watch man, the Bell and Ross BR05 Chrono A523 will be my choice of an everyday watch. Frankly, we have returned the watch to Bell and Ross but not a day goes by without me thinking about this particular piece. Perhaps it is a sign…