Is the Bell & Ross BR-01 Burning Skull Beautiful or Brutal?

Bell & Ross introduced the BR 01 ‘Skull’ paying tribute to the parachutists of the Second World War Second World War in 2009. The parachutists wore an insignia bearing a skull on their jumpsuits.  A new version was unveiled in 2015, in the form of the BR 01 Skull Bronze. Now the BR-01 Burning Skull is a celebration of military symbolism and the art of tattooing.

The BR 01 Burning Skull also displays the skull and crossbones, placed within the lines of the iconic square case of the Bell & Ross brand.

The realism of the skull is reinforced by the design of the dial on two levels, which brings a depth to the visual effect. The skull is created from stamped metal, a process traditionally used for producing coins and medals, and which creates a true relief. The black SuperLuminova covering the dial face further accentuates the skull, intensifying its defiant stare. This relief dial features hour and minute hands that reveal other traditional motifs from the military world: the dagger and the sword.


The skull is not the only unusual decoration on the watch. The case is fully engraved and decorated in the style of a tattoo. 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.

On the reverse, the inscriptions on the case-back are like a real tattoo, with the curved letters appearing to follow the contours of an arm. The graphics include a heart, a rose, a scythe and an hourglass, lurking within the decoration.

To create the 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. 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 matt appearance of the metal and the muted reflections from the alligator strap enhance the adventurous and combative image of this watch, available in a limited edition of 500 pieces.