When Bell & Ross introduced the BR 05 in 2019, I wasn’t a big fan. I considered it too Genta-esque – as if it were a child of the 1970s like some of the most desirable sports watches are.
I have mellowed my opinion since then as the timepiece is well made and offers great wearing comfort. The skeleton and chronograph versions that followed did not largely alter my opinion, although the latter is a well-designed watch from a professional point of view. It cleverly blends different popular design aspects yet in such a way that Bell & Ross makes it their own. I can appreciate that.
How things change!
It might be odd, but I had a completely different reaction when I first set eyes on the BR 05 GMT. The extra hand with red-tipped luminous arrow and a chapter ring with 24-hour indices might be just two details, but they make all the difference. At least to me.
All the more so as I usually like my watches as clean as possible. With this Bell & Ross, the second time zone complication adds a sense of dynamic to the design and a much-needed dash of color. The bold, bright, red, triangular-shaped arrowhead of the GMT hand makes it easy to read and firmly pulls this watch out of its monochromatic color scheme.
Bell & Ross did well not to overdo it, keeping half of the chapter ring representing the day in silver and not, for instance, blue. It results in a balanced, easy-to-read dial with a generous dash of character.
The BR 05 GMT shares with its siblings Bell & Ross’s considerable care in getting all the details just right. The date has a nice, substantial frame around it as do the hour markers. They add a touch of depth, which is amplified by the GMT hand.
The construction of the case is equally well done, and with these aspects this Bell & Ross proves its worth. A 41 mm square watch means that it is quite substantial on the wrist, but as I said before its ergonomics are superb, making it a pleasing travel companion.
Talk about performance
I usually travel with only one watch as I don’t like leaving my watches in hotel safes. This means that the watch needs to be able to handle a wide variety of activities. The BR 05 GMT has no problem delivering just that. It is rugged enough and even comes with water resistance to 100 meters.
The Sellita-based Caliber BR-CAL.325 that powers this watch is a workhorse movement that never disappoints with its precise and robust 42-hour power reserve.
In terms of finish, Bell & Ross once again didn’t cut any corners: an intricately designed rotor is visible through a sapphire crystal insert in the case back. The movement has an industrial look but is made with care. The bridges have a granular surface as a backdrop for the machine-beveled edges and polished screw heads.
This all suits the theme of the watch and shows that once again a lot of care went into the details.
Bracelet or strap: no contest
It is beyond me why somebody would order this watch on a rubber strap, but if they want to they can. Even though the integrated bracelet doesn’t have an option for micro adjustment, I still favor it as it elevates the watch to another level.
The brushed links with polished inner segments make for exciting contrast that help the watch stand out. The links are screwed, something which I always favor over pins.
While the rubber strap is comfortable, I think that it does less for the overall look of the watch in comparison. It might be different if it were made of leather, but in the end I feel that this is a watch made to be worn on a bracelet.
While the competition is quite intense in this segment of the market, I think that the BR 05 GMT heartily stands its ground. And that is a good thing at a time when many of us are still grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information, please visit www.bellross.com/mods/BR-05-GMT.
Quick Facts Bell & Ross BR 05 GMT
Case: 41 x 11.5 mm, stainless steel, water resistant to 100 m
Dial: lacquered brass with applied numerals and hands coated in Super-LumiNova
Movement: automatic Caliber BR-CAL.325 (base Sellita SW330-1), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency. 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date; second time zone
Price: €4,990 (steel bracelet); €4,500 (rubber strap)