Bell & Ross BR 01 Laughing Skull

Bell & Ross has been making Skull themed watches since 2009 when it launched the BR 01 “Skull”, one of the first to fuel the trend for Skull watches. In 2011, the watch brand presented two new limited edition models including the famous BR 01 Tourbillon Skull.

In 2015, a new edition with a bronze case was launched. In 2016, Bell & Ross showed innovation with its BR 01 Burning Skull concept that featured an engraved case decorated with black lacquer, reminiscent of the ink used by tattoo artists. Now, Bell & Ross is going one step further with a new Skull watch, this time equipped with an automaton movement. Produced in a limited edition of 500, this model will appeal particularly to collectors of Haute Horlogerie watches.

With its new BR 01 Laughing Skull watch, Bell & Ross is venturing into the field of automata for the first time. These autonomous mechanisms, which feature an animated display, appeared in Europe in the 14th century at the same time as mechanical clocks. They often take the form of a Jaquemart, an animated mechanized figure of a person, fitted to a church clock tower to strike the hours on a bell.

In this new Bell & Ross watch, the skull’s mandible is animated during winding. To create it, the brand developed the BR-CAL.206: a caliber entirely produced by the manufacture that is also skull-shaped, so that the mechanism fits the case perfectly. In the extension of the 4 bones, the 4 bridges secure the main plate to the case and come together to form a single assembly floating in the center of the watch.

Made from micro-blasted steel, the 46- mm case is decorated with a “Clous de Paris” finish. This type of guilloché pattern requires special machining. The marriage of the Skull dial and its guilloché case adds to the character of the whole piece.

The skull on the dial has been made from metal appliqué, which has been embossed to create a relief pattern. This process is usually used to mint coins or make medals. As an added bonus, the skeleton work gives the impression that the skull is floating weightless in the center of the case. The sword-shaped hands are similar to those on the earlier Skull collections, but on this model they are skeletonized and coated in SuperLuminova.

Technical details

Model: BR01 Laughing Skull
Reference: BR01-SKULL-SK-ST
Limited edition of 500 piece

Movement
Calibre BR-CAL.206 Hand-wound movement

Functions
Hours and minutes
Moving skull when wound by hand

Case
46 mm in diameter
Micro-blasted steel with “Clou de Paris” design
Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating.
Water-resistance: 100 metres.

Dial
Applique metal skull
Metal skeletonized Superluminova®- filled hour and minute hands

Straps
Brown alligator and black rubber
Buckle: pin. Micro-blasted steel

Variations
The watch is also available with two diamond set versions. In Light Diamond version (BR01-SKULL-SK-ST-LGD), bezel is set with 104 diamonds 1.032 ct. and in Full Diamond version (BR01-SKULL-SK-ST-FLD), with case and bezel set with 394 diamonds 2.891 ct. Each gemset version comes in a limited edition of 99 pieces.

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