Bell and Ross BR 05 Chrono A523

Bell & Ross, French in origin, have been actively involved as a timing partner in Formula 1 for quite some years now. It started with Renault Sport Formula 1, which has since changed its name to BWT Alpine F1 Team but is still in essence the same team as when Bell & Ross entered F1 in 2016. Fielding French racing drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, you can talk about a genuine French connection between the watch manufacturer and the racing team. Every year, Bell & Ross announces one or multiple limited editions celebrating the partnership between the two, and this year is no exception. New for the 2023 season is the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono A523, which makes for the first Alpine F1-inspired BR 05 model. So, as the UK Grand Prix at Silverstone is just around the corner, keep your eyes focused on the wrists of both drivers for a chance to spot this new racing-inspired chronograph.
Named after this year’s F1 car, just as last year’s watch was named after last year’s car, Bell & Ross switched from the square BR 03 range to the square-ish BR 05 collection, specifically the chronograph. The Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono A523 has the familiar rounded square stainless steel case, that measures 42mm in width and 14.25mm in height. The raised bezel is fixed with functional screws in all four corners, and the crown, crown guards and pushers are all positioned on the right-hand side. The circular sapphire crystal breaks up the overall square-ish looks, as the sapphire caseback does on the backside of the watch.
It should come as no surprise the Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono A523 comes with touches of the A523’s racing livery on the dial. The matte black base dial has a blue tachymeter flange on the outer periphery, and blued hands for the chronograph. The applied indices, as well as the hands for the running time, are finished in white with Super-LumiNova. The date is positioned between 4′ and 5′. A cool touch is the Alpine A-shaped logo that serves as a counterweight to the central chronograph seconds hand. Furthermore, there is a white minute track that looks a bit like curbstones on the edge of a corner on a race track, and a white ring surrounding the subdials.
Similar to previous editions of the BR 05 Chrono, this Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono A523 edition relies on an externally sourced automatic chronograph, in this case from Sellita. This BR-CAL.326 power unit runs at a rate of 28,800vph and has a power reserve of about 60 hours, a very welcome upgrade over the 38 hours of the BR-CAL.301 that previously powered the BR 05 Chrono. It displays central hours and minutes, with a small seconds subdial at 9′. The chronograph function uses a central seconds hand and a 30-minute counter at 3′. Although no image has been provided, the caseback is sapphire crystal.