Bell & Ross is back with their 12th instalment of the Lum series, this time it seems like it’s back with a vengeance to light up the whole town. Introducing the Bell & Ross BR-X5 Green Lum
“You’ve got a case that could light up this whole town” she sang… Here’s our review of the Bell & Ross BR-X5 Green Lum after a week on the wrist.
Review: the new Bell & Ross BR-X5 Green Lum
The Bell & Ross BR-X5 Green Lum has a retail price of SGD 19,100. Price is inclusive of GST. It is limited to 500 pieces worldwide and we understand that it is still currently available for purchase in Singapore at the time of writing.
First Impression/The Case
Having been a big fan of the lum series by Bell & Ross it is no surprise that we at Deployant look forward to their latest offering. When the author first saw Bell & Ross’ V2-94 Full Lum that was released about 2 years ago, he was smitten. When the release of the BR-X5 Green Lum announced, he felt like he was a kid in candy store where he excitedly asked Editor in Chief for the physical watch for review. The base watch is the BR-X5, but now clothed in a fully luminous case.
When the watch was first presented to the writer, he cannot help but to be reminded of the “Party Watch” that was reviewed earlier, the Norqain Wild One Skeleton but the Bell & Ross would trump it in our humble opinion. Let’s hear us out, as much as the Norqain is a decent watch, it lacks the je ne sais quoi. On the other hand, the Bell & Ross totally outshines (no pun intended) its competitor leaving them green with envy! The watch would give one great imagination on how it will compliment your lifestyle making it a fun watch to own. Imagine this, when you are in a club with those fancy UV light shining around, the BR-X5 Green Lum would literally make your wrist the centre of attention.
So one would wonder, what is the material of the case that would cause the BR-X5 Green Lum to glow? It’s innovative composite material: LM3D, specially developed for Bell & Ross. The maison have always used Super-LumiNova for the numerals, indices, hands and dial on the previous 11 pieces but have yet to make it’s whole case glow like the BR-X5 Green Lum. The LM3D material is made of quartz fibres that diffuse a powerful green luminescence.
The structure of the watch is held together by a multi-component case, which alternates LM3D and grade 2 micro-blasted black DLC titanium in a multi-layer assembly. Despite having such an innovative composite material on the BR-X5 Green Lum, the built of the watch is still solid like it’s predecessors.
“I said, ooh, I’m blinded by the lights” and just like how The Weeknd have sang it, the dial is lit just like the case. The BR-X5 Green Lum’s applique indices are filled with black varnish with skeletonised Super-LumiNova®-covered hour and minute hands.
In the dial, the BR-X5 has a 3 day power reserve counter at it’s 9 o’clock position and the date at the 3 o’clock position. The watch is certainly easy to read in both dark and bright conditions due to the Super-LumiNova® which is a great contrast against the matt black dial.
Powering the BR-X5 is the Bell & Ross’ manufacture caliber BR-CAL.323. Manufacture. It is a self-winding movement that has a 70 hours power reserve. Granted that it is a manufacture caliber, it is manufactured by Kenissi movement manufacturer specifically for them. Usually, Bell & Ross would source workhorse movement from ETA and Selita for their pieces but the BR-X5 is first model line in their brand line-up to feature a manufacture movement from Kenissi. On the BR-X5, the movement is on display which features a skeletonised oscillating weight and a very industrialised but decent finishing on the watch.
We are familiar with the Kenissi movements, having owned and reviewed several. And we are certainly impressed by the new standard of “workhorse” movement from them. Kenissi has 3 cornerstones in their standard. 1. Robustness and Reliability. 2. Precision. Customisable precision, equivalent to the criteria required by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute or a smaller tolerance range, which explains the “Chronometer” engraving on the back of the case. 3. Power Reserve. “Weekend-proof” power reserve of approximately 70 hours for the large and medium size movements.
The 3 cornerstones are all evident on the Bell & Ross BR-X5 and it is a certainly welcoming move that they have done.
The strap of the BR-X5 is their openworked rubber in matt black. Frankly, we are just “thinking out loud” wondering why did Bell & Ross not make their strap similar to their case where it would glow as well. Admittedly, it will be an overkill for the watch but it will certainly making it more fun and definitely eye catching for a watch at this stature. We are sure that Bell & Ross have done it before, it is the BR 03-92 Full Lum which begs us to wonder why…
Buckling the strap together is a steel deployant buckle that is coated with DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) finish. We are certainly wondering at a watch this price point, won’t it be more apt to make the buckle in grade 2 titanium which is the same material as part of the case?
In the current sport/tool watch world, the use of Super-LumiNova® or any brand of lume is an inseparable affair due to the need for the watch to be visible in dark conditions. Currently, the relationship of sport/tool watches with watch aficionados is still positively co-related and having interesting lumed watches will still be a sought after. Here are some of the contenders that gives the BR-X5 Green Lum a run for it’s money.
First up is the Tag Heuer Night Diver. The predecessor of this watch was featured when Timothy Dalton was James Bond in “The Living Daylights” and the modern version? Well it’s an upgrade from Dalton’s piece, despite both having a similar full face lume white dial and PVD case, the latest iteration comes with Tag Heuer’s Caliber 5 which is derived from the ETA 2824. Well when it’s a watch that’s good for Bond, we are pretty sure that it will be good for us. As of the time of writing, the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver retails for SGD 5,850
How can we speak about lume without mentioning the “Master of Glow” Mr James Thompson a.k.a. Black Badger. Second contender of the BR-X5 is the Hautlence Vagabonde x Black Badger. The watch draws on the “Master of Glow” expertise with where he “badgerise” the dial by enriching it with 3D Badgerite® elements. The material – a Super-LumiNova®-filled ceramic composite that is proudly displayed on the dial. The movement wise, it is a manufacture movement designed in collaboration with H. Moser & Cie., which HAUTLENCE developed in a modular way. It similarly to the Bell & Ross the HAUTLENCE features a 72 hours power reserve. At the time of writing, the Hautlence Vagabonde X Black Bager retails for SGD 55,000. Price is inclusive of GST.
After having the watch on our wrist for the week, we felt that this watch is certainly one to add into the collection if a collector is looking for a lumed up watch. It is certainly a beaut that glows well during parties either in the club or in a festival. We certainly love that it has a great movement to back the gorgeous aesthetics. The only downside of the watch? The price that it commands, we simply find it a little on the pricier end for a watch of this stature.