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Bell & Ross skull watch gets a tattoo

Friday, August 26, 2016 - 05:50
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BR 01 Burning Skull
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Vintage BR Aeronavale.

IF the design of the case surrounding the dial reminds you of a tattoo, it's because the skills that produced it closely match those of a tattoo artist. "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," Bell & Ross says in a press release.

Evoking some of the most striking designs used to decorate the skin, the BR 01 Burning Skull timepiece "is emblazoned with sparks flying in all directions, on both the front and back, with an array of details covering every surface and recess".

Even the 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".

The tattoo is the latest addition in Bell & Ross's "Skull" collection, marked by watches stamped with a skull face. The line was started in 2009 with the launch of the BR 01 Skull.

Last year, the BR 01 Skull Bronze appeared. As the name suggests, this second model is distinguished by the bronze material used to make it.

In the making of the latest model, the watch case is fired several times in an oven to fix the lacquer. It's a long and painstaking process, taking several hours to finish each case.

After that's done, the black lacquer underscores the watch's graphic identity through an interplay of balance and contrast between light and dark tones. A black Super-LumiNova covers the dial, further accentuating the skull and intensifying its defiant stare.

The BR 01 Burning Skull, which is powered by an automatic movement and is water-resistant to 100 metres, is limited to 500 pieces. The skull is not an evil sign in the BR 01 collection, but a military symbol. Specifically, it pays tribute to the legendary parachutists of World War II.

Right from its beginning, Bell & Ross has loved the history and values of the military. Another Bell & Ross collection that bears this tradition is Vintage BR Aeronavale, which features all the symbols and motifs that appear on naval uniforms.

Two new models have been added to the collection: a chronograph and a three-hand small seconds, both housed in a 43mm polished steel case. The blue colour of the watch reflects the colour of the naval officer's attire. Its golden hue is the gold of the wings and buttons on it.

The chronograph, equipped with an automatic movement, is designed for pilots. But in both the chronograph and three-hand small seconds models, Bell & Ross says "the glit-skeletonised hour and minute hands stand out starkly against the navy blue sun ray dial".

"The contrast between the two colours offers a refined air and excellent eligibility."