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100 meters | 330 feet
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In 2009, Bell & Ross made a lasting impression by breaking with traditional watchmaking codes for its very first BR 01Skull. A remarkable version was unveiled in 2015, in the form of the BR 01 Skull Bronze. And the story of the now famous Bell & Ross skull has taken yet another twist with the revelation of an extraordinary new face. This brand new version is a celebration of military symbolism and the art of tattooing.
Despite its provocative aspect, the skull is not the only unusual decoration on the watch. The entire case surrounding the dial is fully engraved and decorated in the style of a tattoo. Evoking some of the most striking designs used to decorate the skin, the watch is emblazoned with sparks flying in all directions, on both the front and back, with an array of details covering every surface and recess. Turn the watch over, and even the visible 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. Its bold, edgy graphics recall the mythical fires of hell, and include numerous motifs symbolizing destiny and mortality: a heart, a rose, a scythe and an hourglass, lurking within the decoration.
To create this effect, 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. During the process, the piece is fired several times in an oven to fix the lacquer. It is a long and painstaking job, and it takes the engraver/lacquerer several hours to finish each case. Once these stages are complete, the black lacquer underscores the watch's graphic identity through the interplay of balance and contrast between light and dark tones. The steady hand, expertise, experience, and artistic mastery required for this work on the steel of the BR 01 Burning Skull closely match the skills of the tattoo artist.
Bell & Ross. In the beginning, a team of watch designers and aeronautical control panel specialists joined forces with one project in mind: to create timepieces perfectly suited for professional use. Their goal: to be part of the great Swiss watchmaking tradition while meeting the demands of men facing extreme situations.