Remember the thrill of travel? Airports might not be any more fun than they were pre-pandemic, but travel gear is stepping up a notch in celebration of the return to time-zone hopping. Bell & Ross steps up with a new GMT dual timer that adds a sleek, urban vibe to its signature instrumentation aesthetic. The BR 05 GMT is the third model in the new 05 collection. It was launched in 2019, as an answer to the integrated steel sports watch craze. The 05 is a sleeker, more curvy version of the brand’s signature 03 collection, which is modeled after the flight deck instruments on fighter jets. The 03’s squared case with round bezel and dial opening gives way to a more rounded square case and bezel. Faux screws have been added to the bezel, along with a funky new crown guard. The launch model was an automatic, followed last year by a chronograph, and now a GMT, the perfect accessory to what Bell & Ross calls “the joyful noise of the schedule board.”
The BR 05 GMT bears the signature large Arabic numerals which, on the automatic version, appear at the quadrants, but replaces the 3 o’clock marker with a large and legible date window and adds a can’t-miss GMT hand with a red arrow to the central dial. The 24-hour home-time index appears on the flange, a subtle, understated touch on a watch with otherwise bold features. The goal of the brand’s watches, with their large markers and generous lume, has always been readability. Cockpit instruments are dominated by black, which prevents reflections, and white, which guarantees optimal reading. Bell & Ross calls it “robust without being abrupt.” In that vein, the 24-hour index on the flange is separated into white and black sections to differentiate between night and day.
Tool-watch functionality also ranks high with the French brand, which has touted military precision since day one. The movement is the automatic BR-CAL325, with hours, minutes, central seconds, second time zone and date, with quick setting of the GMT hand, independently of the hour hand. The movement can be seen through a sapphire caseback.
The case is 41 mm wide, right in between the size of the 40 mm automatic and the 42 mm chronograph versions. Flat surfaces are satin-brushed, and the bevels are polished which, as promised, adds a bit of urban flash to the 05. There are two bracelet variations, including the original integrated stainless steel bracelet with centre links (RM22,200) that reflect the squared case shape. The other is a black rubber strap (RM19,700), which makes sense from a comfort point of view, since travellers often sleep with their watches on. Either way, if there was ever a time to invest in a travel watch this would certainly be the year.
Previously published on Robb Report.