Bell & Ross Introduces the BR-X5, their Latest Sports Watch on the BR 05 Platform

Bell & Ross has announced a new watch that is technically an offshoot of the BR 05 – their well received integrated bracelet sports watch that has already been through several iterations – but has what amounts to a radically new dial design and a brand new movement to go along with it. Bell & Ross is touting the new BR-X5 as the “pinnacle” in their exploration of the BR 05 silhouette, and the watch features and enhancements in just about every area over a standard BR 05 design. 

We’ll get to the dial and case in a moment, but the big news right out of the gate with the BR-X5 that has larger implications for Bell & Ross going forward is the use of a Kenissi made caliber to run it. Kenissi is a movement manufacturer most widely known as Tudor’s “in-house” movement maker, but they have greatly expanded their reach in the last several years, and now build movements for Chanel (a partial stakeholder in the company), Breitling, Norqain, and others. In a relatively short span of time, Kenissi made movements have been shown to be quite reliable and accurate, and come with COSC certification and what amounts to a big seal of approval from several top brands that could choose to source their movements from just about anywhere.

The movement used in the BR-X5 is the Calibre BR-CAL.323, which Bell & Ross says is the product of a partnership between  themselves and Kenissi that took years of development. It would appear to be architecturally similar to Kenissi movements found in Tudor watches, but features an uncommon complication at 9:00 in the form of a power reserve indicator, which tracks the caliber’s power supply over the course of its three day running time. We haven’t seen this feature on a Kenissi made movement since the debut of the often maligned (and now discontinued) Tudor North Flag, so proponents of this feature should be pleased. The other complication, a date at 3:00, is more standard fare, but Bell & Ross has elected to make the date window extra large to show yesterday’s and today’s date on either side. We expect enthusiasts will have opinions on this, and leave it there for now. 

The execution of the date window and addition of the power reserve indicator give the dial a fresh look, which really comes through in the new ice blue dial variant. The BR-X5 is also available in black, but the blue seems to highlight the watch’s unique characteristics in a more dramatic way. The oversized Arabic numerals that have been a notable feature of previous BR 05s have been replaced by applied and lume filled hour markers, which gives the dial a clean look. If you can imagine this dial combining the complications seen here along with large Arabics, it’s easy to envision a dial that becomes something of a cluttered mess. 

The case of the BR-X5 is 41mm wide and 12.8mm thick. From the top down, it looks much like other watches in the BR 05 line, but the side profile reflects a fairly drastic change and is quite a bit more stylized. The construction is somewhat complex, and made up an inner steel core separated from a square bezel by a rubber ring. The case walls have effectively been hollowed out, giving the BR-X5 a light and airy look. The case has 100 meters of water resistance and the layers are held together via functional screws found at each corner of the bezel. 

With the new movement and a significantly more complex case design, the price of the BR-X5 has jumped a bit from a standard BR 05. On a rubber strap, the BR-X5 will set you back $6,900, and on a bracelet the retail price is $7,400. More information can be found at the Bell & Ross website here.

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.