With its new BR 01 Pro Titanium watch, has Bell & Ross “borrowed a page” from the legendary Audemars Piguet Royal Oak design? Being that the octagon bezel is the primary signature of Audemars Piguet’s most celebrated watch, one might indeed make the case that some of flattery’s sincerest form is manifesting itself here. In all fairness though, Gerald Genta’s 1970s design triumph has inspired many subsequent timepieces in the ensuing decades, from more than a few notable Swiss luxury brands.
Potential origins aside, I think the Bell & Ross BR 01 Pro Titanium is one fantastic looking sports watch – perhaps the most distinctive yet brought out by the brand. Whether it is imitative or not, the eight-sided profile contributes gobs of visual seasoning to the rugged square form of the BR 01 Instrument case, giving it a superb three-dimensional quality. Further enhancing this positive impression is the Pro Titanium’s super-cool dial with contemporary and strong hour markers and squared-off hands.
Critics might counter that the BR 01 Pro Titanium watch is somewhat less pure as an evocation of classic aircraft instrumentation, but I don’t share this view – so long as the angular design cues don’t become widespread across the BR Instrument collection, there’s nothing to fear. Evaluated on its own merits, this is a hot Bell & Ross that stands subtly apart from its siblings. Keep in mind, that within a comparatively short time span, Bell & Ross has given enthusiasts a great range of well-engineered and extremely distinctive sports timepieces that have become industry design icons in their own right. I have no cause to think that this trend won’t carry on well into the foreseeable future.