Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Bell & Ross BR 05 Artline: Streamlined Appeal

The new Bell & Ross BR 05 Artline is a study in architectural inspiration, while maintaining vital links to the world of aviation.

Jul 27, 2022 | By Ashok Soman
Image: Bell & Ross

If you had to define Bell & Ross watches in a few words, it would be cool tool watches. The new BR 05 Artline challenges this long-dominant view of Bell & Ross, while furthering the promise of the BR 05, which leans heavily on bringing urban architecture to the wrist. We have covered the BR 05 extensively since its launch in 2019, which you can see right here, so we will keep the introduction short. The BR 05 emerged directly from the BR 03, and looks more to city skylines for inspiration rather than technical specification manuals for aviators and a variety of different sorts of military operators. With its relief engraving decorated bezel and bracelet, the BR 05 Artline very clearly channels what is known as Streamline Moderne (aka style paquebot in France, which is more relevant for the Franco-Swiss watchmaker).

Image: Bell & Ross

In the specific instance of the Bell & Ross BR 05 Artline, Streamline Moderne is specifically referenced as the brand literally describes the watch as a jewel. “We wanted to launch a watch that is dressed, decorated. The BR 05 had potential. Its case indeed offers a vast surface to decorate”, said Bruno Belamich, co-founder of Bell & Ross. The firm certainly has big plans for the BR 05 Artline, already confirming (in writing) that the Artline is “destined” to become its own collection, with other references soon to come. Bell & Ross have clearly decided that this is a momentous watch, and we can definitely see the potential.

Image: Bell & Ross

The gadroon decoration, to use its traditional name, is very cleverly deployed here to create what is admittedly an ornate watch, but one still tied to aviation. “Several references were running through my head while creating this piece”, said Belamich, also the Creative Director of Bell & Ross. “The first of these concerns air travel.” Indeed, the gadroons not only bring to mind similar decorations on famous Art Deco designs such as the Reverso, but also the corrugated aluminium fuselage of the first transport planes of the 1940s. This is explicitly spelt out by Bell & Ross in the accompanying press information for the BR 05 Artline, and also serves to underline the point that Bell & Ross is still driven by its aviation obsessions. A quick check on the dial confirms that the cockpit instrument aesthetic is still very much in play, despite the fact that numerals have been replaced with baton indexes. These indexes and the baton hands are both SuperLuminova treated for improved legibility, day and night.

Image: Bell & Ross

The 40mm BR 05 Artline in steel is a study in elegant robustness, being water-resistant to 100 metres. It is powered by the in-house self-winding calibre BR-CAL 321, which includes a steering wheel-inspired rotor design. The watch is limited to 250 pieces and is a boutique exclusive.

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