In advance of Only Watch 2015 (drawing closer…Nov 7 2015) there are several more interesting unique pieces that I want to highlight for the majority of you who will not be able to see the pieces at the actual event or when they go on World Tour here in about a month. Today we will take a look at a piece which falls opposite the “refined” or “cultured” end of the spectrum but which is an interesting piece nonetheless: the Bell & Ross BR01 Skull Bronze Tourbillon. Featuring a 46mm square, patinated bronze case with a pink gold, hand-engraved skull and a tourbillon (also with gold cage) that sit within a skull & crossbones “bezel”, this watch is certainly a conversation piece that one might consider most suitable for the uncouth.
I am pretty sure that this is the first time a BR01 has been cased in bronze. The time is indicated regulator-style, with a large, sword-shaped minute hand set in the center of the dial and a smaller, sword-shaped hour hand mounted on the nose of the solid gold skull. Symmetrically placed hands at three and nine o’clock indicate power reserve (the piece has a manual caliber with 5-day power reserve) and accuracy of operation (as determined by the mainspring’s torque), a rather uncommon function.
Skull-themed pieces are not as popular as they perhaps once were, but the thinking seems to be that they can still attract a niche customer desirous of showing off their inner pirate. Though I myself am not a fan of skull watches, but I do think Bell & Ross did a nice job with this one. More than anything, this unique Skull Bronze Tourbillon is a dramatic showpiece, looking for a high bid to support the Only Watch charity auction!