For its contribution to this year’s upcoming Only Watch auction of unique timepieces, Bell & Ross has created a bronze-cased version of its BR 01 Tourbillon, which also features a hand-engraved Jolly Roger image on its dial. Scroll down to read more on this one-of-a-kind watch that blends materials from the golden age of piracy with a modern, steampunk aesthetic.
The Bell & Ross BR 01 Skull Bronze Tourbillon features a 46-mm square case, made of aged bronze and highlighted by a skull-and-crossbones-shaped bezel secured by four screws. Inside the borders of the bezel (itself a motif inspired by pirate flags) a hand-engraved Jolly Roger skull made of solid 18k gold rises from the relief, “wet-look” honeycombed dial, made from a copper base with black projection. Directly beneath the 3D piratical image sits the aperture for a flying tourbillon, in a rose-gold cage and bearing Bell & Ross’s ampersand logo (see picture below), whose rotation ticks off the seconds. Hours and minutes are indicated, regulator-style, on gilt hands shaped like pirates’ cutlasses. These sword-inspired hands are also employed to indicate the power reserve (a full five days) and accuracy indication, i.e., the movement’s ideal operating range as determined by the mainspring’s torque.
The bronze alloy used for the bezel and case middle case is 92 percent copper and 8 percent tin, and sports a micro-blasted finish. With an initial shade resembling that of rose gold, it has acquired a natural patina by adapting to environmental factors such as humidity, temperature and friction. This ancient-looking material (bronze was used for making cannons on pirate ships, among many other uses) is combined with a caseback made of hypoallergenic grade 5 titanium, intended to give the watch a comfortable lightness on the wrist, with a clear sapphire caseback offering a view of the watch’s manual-wind movement, Bell & Ross’s BR-CAL.281.
The Bell & Ross BR 01 Skull Bronze Tourbillon comes on a hand-distressed brown alligator strap, which echoes the aged look of the watch, with a steel pin buckle with titanium-PVD treatment. As befits a unique watch inspired by seekers of sunken treasure, it is offered in a wood box inspired by a treasure chest, with a glass dome in the center of the lid to showcase the watch. On November 7, 2015, the BR 01 Skull Bronze Tourbillon will join 42 other unique watches on the auction block in Geneva for the sixth biennial edition of Only Watch, whose proceeds benefit the Monaco Association Against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Click here to see more of the watches up for bid at Only Watch 2015, and here to see more watches with skull motifs, including another from Bell & Ross, the BR 01 Airborne.
There are several Bell and Ross watches I’d like to own. This skull thing isn’t one of them. I guess it was created for a reason and not as a high seller in an overcrowded watch market.