After launching BR 01 «Skull» in 2009 and BR 01 SKULL BRONZE in 2015, Bell & Ross presents BURNING SKULL, a brand new version from the Skull series celebrating military symbolism and the art of tattooing.
Each of the BR 01 Skull collections pays its own unique tribute to the legendary parachutists of the Second World War. Emerging from the skies at dawn on 6th June 1944, the troops of the 82nd and 101st American airborne divisions played a vital role in the Normandy landings.
On their jumpsuits, these elite fighters proudly wore an insignia bearing a skull and the words: «Death from Above», both to intimidate their opponents and to ward off ill fortune. Today, the legendary «Jolly Rogers» still figures on military equipment, such as uniforms, emblems and aeroplanes as a decorative element that is used as a talisman or a rebel symbol. And what could be more symbolic than a tattoo, particularly one that depicts an image as striking as the fires of hell.
Faithful to the spirit of the 1944 parachutists and their emblem, which resembled the pirate flags of the past, the BR 01 BURNING SKULL displays the skull and crossbones, perfectly placed within the lines of the iconic square case of the Bell & Ross brand.
Sporting the colour of steel with a black background serving as a showcase, the relief dial features hour and minute hands that reveal other traditional motifs from the military world: the dagger and the sword. The matt appearance of the metal and the muted reflections from the alligator strap enhance the watch’s adventurous and combative image.
Despite its provocative aspect, the skull is not the only unusual decoration on the watch. The entire case surrounding the dial is fully engraved and decorated in the style of a tattoo. Evoking some of the most striking designs used to decorate the skin, the watch is emblazoned with sparks flying in all directions, on both the front and back, with an array of details covering every surface and recess.
Turn the watch over, and even the visible inscriptions on the case-back seem to be taken from a real tattoo, with the curved letters appearing to follow the contours of an arm. Its bold, edgy graphics recall the mythical fires of hell, and include numerous motifs symbolising destiny and mortality: a heart, a rose, a scythe and an hourglass, lurking within the decoration.
To create this effect, each line engraved into the steel is filled manually, using a stylus, with a black ink/varnish, just like a tattoo artist decorating the skin. During the process, the piece is fired several times in an oven to fix the lacquer. It is a long and painstaking job, and it takes the engraver/lacquerer several hours to finish each case. Once these stages are complete, the black lacquer underscores the watch’s graphic identity through the interplay of balance and contrast between light and dark tones.
The realism of the skull in the centre of the «tattoo» is reinforced by the design of the dial on two levels, which brings a depth to the visual effect. The skull is created from stamped metal, a process traditionally used for producing coins and medals, and which creates a true relief. The black SuperLuminova covering the dial face further accentuates the skull, intensifying its defiant stare.
The military symbolism and exceptional craftsmanship make this watch truly one of a kind. The bellicose character and exquisite workmanship of the Bell and Ross BR 01 BURNING SKULL add a fiery aura to the talismanic spirit of the original Skull model.
The watch is available in a limited edition of 500 pieces, and will delight collectors and fans of idiosyncratic timepieces.
Model: Bell and Ross BR 01 Burning Skull
Limited Edition of 500 Pieces
Hours and minutes
46 mm diameter
Engraved, micro-blasted steel
Hand-filled with black lacquer
Crystal: anti-reflective sapphire
Stamped metal skull
Brown alligator and ultra-resistant black synthetic fabric
Buckle: pin. Steel