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Object of Desire: Bell & Ross BR05 Watch

By Nancy Hass

David Chow. Styled by Todd Knopke.

Fine watchmaking, the ultimate analogue art, embraces (and fetishizes) history. Houses rely on centuries-old narratives of handmade precision, often traced back to a one-man workshop in a tiny Alpine village. New designs frequently recall classic models, in a cycle of self-reference as constant as the ticking of a second hand. But Bruno Belamich and Carlos Rosillo, the Frenchmen who founded Bell & Ross in 1992 (though headquartered in Paris, the manufacturing is done in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland), were undaunted by starting from scratch. They began making watches for pilots and divers, outfitted with a signature circle-within-a-square face held together with corner screws and boldly legible numerals before moving on to a round, vintage-inspired face. Now, they’ve taken the comparatively young company’s design codes into another zone, creating a streamlined, urbane 40-millimetre timepiece with a circular face nestled in a modified square that’s seamlessly integrated into the band itself. Available with a black, grey, blue or skeleton satin-polished dial, in steel or rose gold (shown here), the vibrantly readable, thoroughly modern watch is shorn of ornament and complications — a sure sign that history never stops being made.

BR 05 collection, price upon request.
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