Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Only WatchSeptember 27, 2021
Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Only Watch has long featured the skull on its watches, a motif derived from its military-inspired designs. Modelled on the skull emblem often used by airborne units, the B&R skull watch has been refined over the years, with the latest being an all-ceramic wristwatch incorporating an automaton.
For Only Watch 2021, the watchmaker has created the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire, a vivid, orange-tinted crystal skull encased in clear sapphire. It’s entirely incongruent with the brand’s typical no-no-nonsense aesthetic, but strikingly upbeat.
The original Cyber Skull is interesting for its materials and form movement featuring an automaton, making it a good base for the Only Watch edition, which departs from the all-black look in the direction of attractive and quirky.
Bell & Ross didn’t disappoint in its Only Watch endeavour. Clean, contemporary, and clear, the sapphire version is completely different from its past skull watches. The watch has a bright feel, with the orange being bringing levity (and echoing the colours of Only Watch 2021).
And it’s a big plus that the watch is technically unusual. While most B&R watches are powered by off-the-shelf ETA or Sellita movements (which, to be fair are unfailingly reliable), the Cyber Skull Sapphire is equipped with a proprietary movement in the shape of a skull.
It’s always the most valuable watches offered by high horology brands that get the most attention at Only Watch, so the more affordable watches in the auction are worth a look, and Cyber Skull Sapphire is one of them.
While sapphire crystal isn’t novel – the first watch case in the material was introduced three decades ago by Alain Silberstein – it’s still relatively uncommon enough to make it interesting with the right execution. The visual impact of the form movement is unleashed with the all-sapphire case, which amplifies the airy construction and orange skull.
B&R cases are excellent, even for its affordable models, and this sapphire case looks to be precisely machined and finished. Both the crystal case and skull are made up of polygonal surfaces, featuring angular, sharp facets that call for complex machining to accomplish. The skull, for instance, starts out as six blocks of sapphire, each machined into one component of the skull.
Bell & Ross offers a new all sapphire Cyber Skull BR 01 for Only Watch 2021. One of the more interesting watches pitched for this iconic annual charity auction.
The base watch is the Laughing Skull with the automata on basic caliber to enable the mandible of the skull to animate during hand winding of the watch. This watch was first introduced in 2018, and we covered it in detail in this article: Bell & Ross BR 01 Laughing Skull including a video interview of Carlos Rossi explaining the concept and execution.
The Laughing Skull itself is an expansion of the skull theme which Bell & Ross has been fascinated with since the introduction of the BR 01 Skull in 2009.
The Only Watch Edition adds a level of complexity to the base Laughing Skull, by the implementation of a completely sapphire glass case as well as the skull. This creates an interesting aesthetic, with the clear, see-through sapphire glass case, and the skull in orange. The visual impact is stunning. Playful and yet serious in its message of morality and identifies well with the beneficiary of the Only Watch charity auction. This launch model was followed in 2011 by the Tourbillon Skull, and the Burning Skull. Till the 2018 Laughing Skull, the earlier Skulls did not feature any automata. The Laughing Skull with its moving mandlble automata came next, with various interpretations, including a particularly interesting Laughing Skull White, with a realistic aesthetic which makes the skull look like a boney mass. The Cyber Skull was next in 2020.
For its 9th edition, the biennial auction of unique timepieces sold for the benefit of research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy will take place on Saturday 6 November 2021, in Geneva.
Christie’s remains the auctioneer of choice under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. Among the watch manufacturers, Bell & Ross supports the Only Watch project and its incredible fundraising efforts in the fight against this disease. The Brand’s contribution takes the form of an exclusive one-off version of its recent BR 01 Cyber Skull model: the Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire for Only Watch 2021.