BY ERIK SLAVEN
Bell & Ross is best known for a “circle in a square” design that mimics cockpit instruments in old war planes. Some of their models look as if a pilot literally pulled a gauge from the panel and attached a strap. The brand is more than this, of course, but it’s their signature style. The BR 05 sports watches appeared in 2019 with a softer, more refined aesthetic, yet maintained the circle in a square case. The latest chronograph version is the White Hawk and limited to 250 pieces, and as the name implies, it carries a new white and silver dial in lieu of black or dark blue.
The BR 05 collection offers more affordable alternatives to icons from Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe (Royal Oak and Nautilus, respectively). The original three-hand models were well sized at 40mm, but the chronograph variants (including the White Hawk) grew a bit to 42mm. It’s bolder on the wrist for sure, but wears a bit smaller than the dimensions suggest thanks to the integrated bracelet. The thickness of the stainless steel case is 13.5mm. Unlike the original BR 01 from 2005 that established the brand’s DNA, the BR 05 Chrono White Hawk removes the hard edges. The original’s roots are clearly evident, however, and this is a maturing, evolving design rather than a reimagination.
A combination of brushed surfaces and polished bevels looks classy, while the signature four screws on the bezel maintain the B&R look. The integrated bracelet flows seamlessly from the case with polished center links, while an integrated black rubber strap is also available. There are sapphire crystals front and back, with the latter having a print of a white hawk partially obscuring the movement (it does look cool). Water-resistance is rated at 100 meters.
The dial is what sets this apart from previous BR 05 Chrono models, which had black or dark blue dials. The White Hawk sports a silver and white opaline dial with applied silver indices and silver hour and minute hands. All are filled with white Super-LumiNova. Large, applied silver 12 and 6 numerals round things out in traditional B&R style. Twin sub-dials with darker silver/grey tracks sit at 3 and 9 o’clock, with small seconds in the former and a 30-minute counter in the latter. The chronograph seconds and 30-minute counter hands are red for a bit of color and contrast. A round date window sits between 4 and 5 o’clock. Although otherwise identical to the black or dark blue models, the White Hawk has a totally different vibe.
Keeping the lights on is the Caliber BR-CAL.301, based on ETA’s 2894-2. It’s been modified a bit with nice decorations (perlage, etc.) and a unique 360-degree open-worked rotor. Specifications include 37 jewels, 4Hz (28,800vph) and a 42-hour power reserve. Functions are typical for a bi-compax chronograph with central hours, minutes and chronograph seconds, small seconds, 30-minute counter and date.
The B&R BR 05 Chrono White Hawk Limited Edition is again limited to 250 pieces and retails for EUR 5,600 with the black rubber strap and EUR 6,100 with the steel bracelet. Not bad at all for a luxury sports watch in this class with the style and refinement B&R brings.
Visit Bell & Ross here.