Review: new Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada

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Cigars anyone? Bell & Ross releases a new version of their popular BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada a cigar themed watch in two tone rose gold and steel. Here is our comprehensive review.

The BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada is the latest addition to the Bell & Ross collection, inspired by the world of cigars. This chronograph bears a Spanish-sounding name on the dial as a nod to Cuba, the island of cigars. The name Chrono Edición Limitada means Limited Edition Chrono when translated from Spanish.

Review: Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada

Retail price of the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Edicion Limitada Specifications is SGD 11,800 with the rubber strap and SGD 18,200 with bi-metal gold and steel bracelet. Both prices are inclusive of GST.

This is not Bell & Ross’ first Edición Limitada. In 2006, BR Vintage 126 XL Edición Limitada was introduced. This sporty chronograph from the Vintage collection has a round rose gold case. And in 2015, the WW1 Edición Limitada came along to embellish the series. This model takes up the design of the WW1, inspired by the first wrist watches. The retro-style timepiece features a round red gold case and very thin wire lugs.

This novelty is a model extension to the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono launch edition in 2020, which we reviewed in detail here. We further covered the watch in a Day in the life article here. And again, at the launch of the all white version, known as the White Hawk here. This is the first time Bell & Ross has used a two tone finish on the BR 05 Chrono, and here the bezel and the mid link on the bracelet is in 18k solid rose gold.

The case, dial and hands

The image Bell & Ross intends to project is that this new watch is for the chic, stylish dandy. A lover of beautiful things, good food and cigars, suggesting that this is a sophisticated gentleman.

The Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitadabears the spirit of previous Bell & Ross Edición Limitada watches, all inspired by the world of Havana cigars. The BR literature proposes that if this watch were a cigar, it would be a Robusto Maduro. Cigars are defined by two main elements – the colour of the wrapper (the leaf which wraps the cigar together) and the module which specifies the shape and length. In the BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada, this is defined by a Robusto cigar, a thick, short cigar with a square tip.

The hues associated with cigars are typically brown, pink and deep red. These are represented by the rose gold bezel and brown dial with red accents. The dial is matte brown with rose gold appliqués for the hour markers and the huge Arabic 12 and 6. The rounded square tracks for the continuous seconds and minute totalizer sub-dials are also in rose gold, as are the hands. Red accents are found in the two chronograph hands (the seconds and 30 minute totalizer) are in red, as is the text declaring Edición Limitada in red cursive text. The Bell & Ross Logo is in a thick transfer print in rose gold. A small date window opens up at about 4:30 and shows the date in gold print on a brown background and is fairly non-intrusive, but is there as a useful aid.

As is the standard for BR watches, the hour, minute hands as well as the hour markers are generously infilled with SuperLuminova.

The watch is available in a choice of two strap. A brown rubber strap, and a 4N rose gold and steel bracelet to match the steel case and gold bezel. Our review sample is in the brown rubber strap, which has a very sporty feel. We have seen and handled the bracelet version which seems to be very elegant and beautiful to us, although the premium for the steel and gold bracelet is a whopping SGD 7k, which though is a fair ransom for the gold content and beautiful finish of the bracelet, as purist collectors, we might be persuaded to use the funds towards another watch.

The watch is delivered in a special box – a cigar humidor in a precious wood. The Bell & Ross logo is embedded in the lid to form a cigar ring in golded steel and 5N gold. The box is varnished ebony on the outside with a cedar wood inside.

The movement

The movement is the same movement as the one beating in the other BR 05 Chronographs, and is no stranger to the Bell & Ross family. The BR-CAL.301 is used in many of the BR chronographs, in a wide variety of applications ranging from the BR V2-94  to the BR 03-94 RS17. The movement is based on the ETA 2894-2 with a module chronograph. The module features a column wheel system as the heart of the chronograph

The activation of the chronograph, though requiring a firm push, is smooth, crisp, and the force needed to start, stop and reset are quite similar. There is a small jump of the seconds hand as the chronograph starts, but this is not unusual, especially in chronographs equipped with a horizontal clutch.

The movement is visible from the caseback, but the finishing is nothing to write home about, being firmly aimed at the good engineering level instead of the haute horlogerie, high decoration level, as the BR 05 Chronograph’s rather modest pricing might suggest.

Competitive Landscape

We have nothing further to add to the Competitive Landscape we drew in our first review of the launch edition. Please refer to that for possible candidates.

Concluding thoughts

As we concluded with our first review, this is not a watch which pretends to be haute horlogerie. It makes no such promise. But what it does promise is a handsome, well designed watch with excellent functionality, Very robust, and designed to fit a certain genteel lifestyle as suggested by the well dressed gentlemen with fine tastes. And this promise, it fulfils handsomely. The steel versions already meets these demands well, but his new steel and gold version with the rather strong cigar and lifestyle hints, is amiably suited for its intended purpose.

If we compare the rubber strap versions, the gold bezel attracts a premium of SGD 2.3k, which we feel is rather reasonable for the use of the massive 18k rose gold on the bezel.

Photo Notes

The watch was on loan for a week, where we used it in various situations in daily wear. And we photographed it in our studio with the Fujifilm GFX 50S II with Hasselblad HC 4/120 Macro and HC 2.8/80 + H26 Extension Tube attached via the H Adapter G. Profoto strobes provide the lighting. Photographs not marked with the Deployant watermark are provided by Bell & Ross.

Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada Specifications

Ref: BR05C-LDA/SSG Limited Edition of 250 pieces.

Movement: calibre BR-CAL.301. Automatic mechanical.

Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock and date. Chronograph: 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds.

Case: 42 mm in width. 12.40 mm thick. Satin-finished and polished steel and 18 ct rose gold. Screw-down crown. Crown guard. Sapphire case-back with 360° oscillating weight.

Dial: brown. Gold-plated applique numerals. Gold-plated applique indices filled with Super-LumiNova®. Metal skeletonised Super-LumiNova®-filled hour and minute hands. Brown flange with 60-minute scale with rose gold marking.

Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating. 

Water-resistance: 100 metres.

Strap: steel and 18 K rose gold two-colour.

Buckle: folding. Satin-finished and polished steel.


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