The Bell & Ross Instrument BR 01 has become an icon of contemporary watch design in the relatively short period since making its debut in 2005. Its 46mm square case was as uncompromising in its presence as it was towards the source of its inspiration; that of the instrumentation array in the cockpit of an aircraft.
Initially aimed at the professional aviators for whom flying was their living, and designed specifically with their requirements in mind, the BR 01 has since taken on a life of its own, and with an almost cult following around the world, its distinctive profile has witnessed many variations on its square shouldered theme.
In one of the young brand’s most striking BR 01 Instrument editions thus far, the Skull Bronze packs a huge presence; its front dominated by the menacing outline of the skull and cross bones, using the case’s four surface mounted screws as its extremities.
The dial space too is occupied by a skull, which in typical Bell & Ross tradition has a connection with military forces. Adopted by the many Parachute regiments within the Allied Forces, the skull served as a notice of one’s impending doom when up against these hardened fighters. For Bell & Ross of course it also makes for a pretty intimidating theme for their watches.
The bronzed hands are shaped to resemble a dagger and a sabre, and around the dial the hour markers are thorn-like.
Manufactured in bronze, a naturally occurring patina soon begins to develop as its surfaces are exposed to light, heat and in particular the friction arising from day to day wear, resulting in a richly toned lustre whose aging is perfectly complemented by the weathered leather strap.
Inside its squared case beats an ever-reliable Sellita self-winding automatic movement and it is protected from water ingress to a depth of 100m.