SeemsBell & Ross has expanded its offerings beyond aviation-inspired watches, venturing into other themes and designs while maintaining its commitment to precision and reliability. However, the brand's strong association with aviation still remains a defining characteristic. Generally, B&R timepieces feature square or round cases, reminiscent of aviation instruments. This design choice emphasises legibility and functionality. Deviating a bit from its design norms, the timepiece maker has now introduced the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue watch, limited to only 25 pieces and housed in a sapphire case.
Watches crafted from sapphire crystals are less prone to surface damage. In other words, the hardness of the material contributes to the overall durability of a watch. It can withstand everyday wear and tear, maintaining its integrity even in challenging conditions. Sapphire crystals are known for their exceptional transparency, allowing for a clear view of watch dials and hands. The crystal's clarity enhances the legibility of a timepiece, ensuring a premium look and feel. This material also emphasises the exclusivity of a watch.
Many watchmakers incorporate skull motifs into the design of their watch dials or cases for aesthetic purposes. The skull design is often associated with themes like rebellion and toughness or with memento mori (reminder of mortality) symbolism. Skull-themed watches have gained popularity in the world of horology as a unique and bold expression of style. The skull design can be found in various forms, including as hour markers and hands, and even as part of the overall case design. It helps watchmakers create distinctive and sometimes edgy timepieces that appeal to individuals with a taste for unconventional designs. Three-dimensional skull-shaped cases are also popular. Some manufacturers have even gone to the extent of creating transparent watch dials or open-heart designs that may reveal intricate skull-themed movements.
At a quick glance, the new Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue watch has similarities with the full sapphire model from 2021, BR 01 Cyber Skull. There are minute differences. The new variant is identical to its predecessor in terms of its materials and dimensions, and its rectangular profile, measuring 43.5 mm in diameter and 45 mm lug-to-lug. Crafted entirely from clear sapphire, the case features a faceted design that further leans into its skull-themed aesthetic. A polished stainless steel winding crown is seen at 3 o’clock.
The dial gets a minimalistic layout. Taking the place of the dial on the new Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue watch is a stylised skull-and-crossbones assembly, which is mounted at the corners and appears to float inside the case. Then there are centrally mounted baton hour and minute hands, which appear to come out from the skull’s nose. The dial has four screws on each corner and a balance wheel sits fully exposed at 12 o’clock to represent the “brain” of the watch that is responsible for its accuracy and timekeeping. The skull is made from galvanised brass and has blue PVD finish. The automaton animation triggers the lower part of the jaw, which moves up and down to expose the mainspring barrel, whenever the watch is manually wound.
Powering the new Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue watch is the same manufacture BR-CAL.209 manual-wind movement that can be found inside the previous full sapphire Cyber Skull model; it offers a 48-hour power reserve. The movement has rhodium-plated components. Turning the watch over showcases the sapphire caseback with a skeletonised design and the engraving of the individual watch number out of 25. The watch is finished on a transparent soft silicone strap with a satin-polished steel buckle pin.