INTRODUCING: Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue (Ref. BR01-CSKBLU-SAPHIR)
With its clear sapphire case, skeletonised movement, and blue-hued skull, this is destined to be the star of the collection.
In 2009, Bell & Ross made an interesting addition to its military- and aviation-themed timepieces with the skull motif. While this indicated a departure from its utilitarian-driven design codes, the idea bore a connection to the brand’s heritage. Not only is the skull a common symbol of mortality and resilience, but it also references special forces units, which is quite relevant to Bell & Ross. Tracing back its roots to the times of the Vikings or pirates right through to modern-day situations, elite troops and paratroopers have made the skull motif their emblem to ward off bad luck. Bell & Ross has also made it one of its talismans, updating it with resolutely bold and modern designs.
Eventually, Bell & Ross parlayed the skull motif into the hugely popular and commercially successful BR 01 Cyber Skull collection, starring materials like ceramic and bronze. In 2021, it was interpreted in sapphire for the first time for the Only Watch auction, which inspired a bidding frenzy and fetched twice its original asking price. The pièce unique, with an orange skull and crossbones, was followed by a ‘colourless’ 10-piece limited edition in the same year that sold out quickly.
The highly coveted timepiece is back again with more pieces up for grabs, 25 to be exact. Like its predecessors, the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue is visually anchored by the ‘Jolly Roger’ centrepiece, which appears to float within the case. As with the previous Cyber Skull models, the baton hands extend from the nose, while the exposed balance wheel, representing the ‘brain’ of the skull, sits on the top half of the watch’s face.
The completely transparent 45mm case, resistant to 30m, is made of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Its production, which requires heating an alumina powder melted by a hydrogen flame to a temperature exceeding 2,000°C, is extremely delicate. Within, the galvanised brass and blue PVD skull commands attention with its unusual hue. The company’s Creative Director and co-founder Bruno Belamich says, “The icy aspect of sky blue combines perfectly with the transparency of the sapphire of the case, like a faceted iceberg.”
The see-through case of the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Ice Blue reveals a fine watchmaking automaton. When one winds the hand-wound Calibre BR-CAL.209, the skull’s lower jaw will move up and down, seemingly laughing in the face of danger. Endowed with a 48-hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800vph, the manufacture movement boasts carefully crafted finishes, which can be fully admired at all angles, thanks to the overall transparency of this exceptional timepiece. The rear of the watch is almost as compelling as the front. The architecture of the highly skeletonised calibre is designed such that most of its components occupy the space behind the skull to further enhance the appearance that it is suspended within the case.
The watch is completed by a translucent silicone strap to match the case, secured with a stainless steel pin buckle. The watch is available for pre-order now and will be delivered by December 2023. It’s priced at S$165,000, inclusive of tax.
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