Bell & Ross has recently announced a new version of the BR 05 GMT, which features a silver-white dial and adds a second color option to the GMT models of the integrated-bracelet styling of the BR 05 lineup. With a legible red 24-hour hand, this caller GMT looks great with a silver dial and is also the first time that B&R designers have offered a BR 05 in a color that wasn’t black and blue. I think they chose well.
Like the black dial BR 05 GMT that was launched last year, the BR 05 GMT White uses a 41mm steel case and can be had with a full steel bracelet or a rubber strap that is designed to integrate directly with the case and its non-traditional lug shape. The case is 11.07mm thick and has a screw-down crown, 100 meters of water resistance, and sapphire crystals front and back (with the back offering a view of the BR 05 GMT’s 360-degree oscillating weight).
Inside, we find a GMT movement that is based on the Sellita SW-330 and which Bell & Ross calls the BR-Cal 325. It’s an automatic movement that ticks at 4 Hz, has ~42 hours of power reserve, and features a date at three along with a caller-style 24-hour independently adjustable GMT function. This means that you can adjust your view of a second timezone without changing or disrupting the main time display. While somewhat more cumbersome to use when actively changing time zones, this GMT function is very handy for keeping track of a second time zone.
While I remain a complete sucker for a white-dialed GMT, that’s not the only reason that I figured this new Bell & Ross was worth a closer look – I’ve been curious about the BR 05 since it was launched in 2019 with a 40mm automatic model. I like the design, and the sort of instrument-like take on the Genta-derived integrated bracelet sports watch format. Furthermore, the sizing seems good and they appear to look great on wrist. Bell & Ross has always been of interest to me, but I’ve never found one of their quirky square-cased models that actually worked really well on my bony wrist. Perhaps a bracelet would make all the difference.
And now they have a GMT in a white dial. Sure, the dial and hand design have borrowed a good deal from the Explorer II, but they are far from the only brand to find some inspiration via the Rolex catalog, and I’d argue that the square case and general aesthetic insulate the BR 05 GMT from feeling altogether too similar. Furthermore, I like that they maintain much of the Bell & Ross design language in the dial (especially with the large Arabic markers) and the use of the white/grey 24-hour rehaut.
At $5,000 and using a third-party movement, the BR 05 GMT has stiff competition. Collectors with more conventional tastes would likely opt for a Tudor Black Bay GMT, which offers local jumping (flyer) functionality, classic GMT styling, and a case of the same width (though a good bit thicker). Additionally, and I’m not comparing the two on build quality or general aesthetic, if you simply want a caller GMT, Seiko will happily sell you a lovely model with the same functionality for around $500.
But let’s be fair, the BR 05 GMT offers an entirely different look and feel to the above-mentioned competition and I’d argue that Bell & Ross is both not new to this price point and that cost sensitivity is likely not a core concern for B&R’s intended audience. As a guy who has long had the BR 03-92 Diver hanging out rent-free in my mind, this new BR 05 GMT marks the first time I’ve had anything more than professional curiosity in the lineup and I think it’s a handsome addition that I’d love to try on my own wrist. But what do you think – is the BR 05 GMT a good candidate for a hands-on follow-up? Let me know in the comments.