My interest in the Bell & Ross BR 05 has only increased since the original BR 05 watches came out in 2019. The first Bell & Ross BR 05 watch I reviewed on aBlogtoWatch had a skeletonized dial, which is a theme that has been popular with the collection. Bell & Ross also currently offers a standard three-hand non-skeletonized version of the BR 05, a GMT, and also a two-register chronograph (not to mention that the watch is available on both bracelet and strap options). Today, I once again look at a skeletonized version of the BR 05, the reference BR05A-BL-SK-ST/SST Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Nightlum, and I happen to think it is very nicely done.
What’s special here is the entirely different way Bell & Ross went about the skeletonized dial experience — different from that of the standard BR 05 Skeleton. What we see is the same skeletonized Bell & Ross caliber BR-CAL.322 automatic movement but done with a different color finishing and with a smoked sapphire crystal above it. This has the effect of de-emphasizing the view into the movement (while still offering it) and allowing the eyes to focus more on the dial itself. The use of the semi-opaque smoked dial is an important step in legibility, which is good because while I like Bell & Ross’ “art watches,” I am always the most impressed when it comes to its tool-style watches. While the BR 05 collection as a whole is less about sport and more about having a nice lifestyle watch, functionality is a key part of the Bell & Ross brand DNA.
As suggested in the “BR 05 Skeleton Nightlum” name, the watch dial is decently illuminated thanks to the Super-LumiNova painted hour markers and hands. Together, you have a combination of a legible tool watch-style dial with the decorative appeal of a skeletonized dial in the handsome BR 05 case and bracelet framework. The Skeleton Nightlum watch happens to be a limited edition, so Bell & Ross is clear that this is one of many design experiments. That said, I found it to be among the more satisfying variants of the three-hand BR 05 watches to date.
The BR 05 case continues to be interesting with a design that was intended to merge everything Bell & Ross was known for up to that point. It is also a product meant to neatly fit into the current popularity of men’s watches that come in integrated bracelets. These offer a more “men’s jewelry” look to wristwatches, as opposed to purely something sporty or functional. Even though the matching steel bracelet is lovely for the Skeleton Nightlum, Bell & Ross does offer an additional limited-edition model (the reference BR05A-BL-SK-ST/SRB) that comes on the rubber strap. While the bracelet is very nice, I actually feel that there is a huge amount of merit to the watch on the strap when it comes to both style and comfort.
The BR-CAL.322 automatic movement operates at 4Hz with about two days of power reserve. It indicates just the time with central hours, minutes, and seconds. The skeletonization is nicely done without going overboard and I like the overall modern masculinity of the watch, which combines the steel, smoky black, and green tones on the dial. The BR-05 case is a 40mm-wide cushion with 100 meters of water resistance. It looks larger than it is but, in actuality, the watch wears very comfortably and modestly. I look forward to ideally getting more wrist time with Bell & Ross BR05 watches like this in the future. Price for the Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Nightlum