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Only Watch 2021 - BR 01 Cyber Skull

Only Watch 2021 BR 01 Cyber Skull

The Brand will take place this year at the biennial auction Only Watch with its model BR 01 Cyber Skull

BR 01 Cyber Skull OW 21

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 BR 01 Cyber Skull : BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch.

A multifaceted, multiverse and multi-talented timepiece.

At The Confluence of Haute Horlogerie, Art and Design

The skull, an accepted sign of death, has a philosophical meaning as it symbolizes the fragility and brevity of life, particularly in vanitas works of art. Memento mori - remember you must die - recall gruesome depictions in ancient paintings or in curiosity cabinets owned by humanists from the Enlightenment.

The Cyber Skull models mark another break with style. This timepiece revisits the art of the skull watch. A one-of-a kind. Its avant-garde design projects this iconic series into the future. The exclusive watch takes on an extremely innovative style with several faces. It is where symbolism, watchmaking, design, and bold creativity meet.

Not belonging to any set family, the special BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch lays claim to avant-garde Haute Horlogerie. Breaking with tradition, it finds its raison d’être in the rich history of the Bell & Ross Skulls family which was launched in 2009 and broke traditional watchmaking codes.

Extreme Sophistication

Bell & Ross chose sapphire to create this bespoke BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch version, a high-quality material made of corundum, an oxide of alumina (Al2O3) that has taken millions of years to occur in nature.

Synthetic sapphire is produced by growing matter (molten alumina) from a seed crystal. The process requires very precise management of the melting temperature, drawing speed, and cooling time. The growth of the material must be perfectly controlled according to these criteria to obtain a perfect sapphire in terms of crystalline structure. A substantial and challenging method. The exceptional properties of synthetic sapphire, especially its hardness, make it a particularly difficult material to machine. Only diamond tools are capable shaping sapphire by grinding.


BR 01 Cyber Skull

BR 01 Cyber Skull © Bell & Ross


Bell & Ross worked on clear luster and elegant transparency to their fullest potential. The precious timepiece is conceived in its entirety with sapphire, for both the case and decoration. The BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch sapphire case is machined from three blocks of sapphire: crystal – middle-piece and case-back. The Skull dial from six blocks.

Compounded by the brute force of the material, the aesthetic force of the timepiece merges technologies together. Machined by grinding using diamond powder meant the facets could be resurfaced, in the same way jewelers cut a precious stone. The process is extremely thorough. It takes a week to complete the work on all the elements of the
BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch case. At last comes the polishing process that is also highly delicate and requires a very high level of know-how. Its case is inspired by the original BR 01, but its contours have been revised with sharp edges that give it an ultra-contemporary look. To maintain the purity of its design, the lugs have disappeared and the housing for the rubber strap has been cut out of the volume of the case, measuring 45 mm x 46.5 mm.

Sculpted Like a Precious Gem

The exclusive BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch fits in perfectly with this style. It is characterized by the stylized and angular treatment of the skull on its dial. Each element of the watch, the case, crown, skull, crossbones, is structured within the many faces that sculpt the surfaces, creating volumes and a 3D image. Emphasized by its sharp edges, its many facets offer a fascinating play on the multiplication of perspectives, between flat and smooth surfaces. Futuristic origami? Memento mori 2.0? New cameo by a cyborg?

BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch produces a multifaceted approach. The geometric shapes of the timepiece create a pixilation effect. This phenomenon appears when the points of an image become clear. The angular representation of the skull and the femur bones on the dial are inspired by this.


BR 01 Cyber Skull

BR 01 Cyber Skull © Bell & Ross


For this bespoke version of the Cyber Skull, Bell & Ross used the orange color to provide its owner with a unique piece for its wrist. Made of transparent sapphire, the Skull dial was metallized on the back that has a smooth side to give this orange effect. Orange is the ultimate color for aeronautical instrumentation due to its high level of legibility and capacity to make essential information stand out from contrast. It is also the emblematic color code of Only Watch, which is used on its logo. The back of the watch also features a special engraving for only Watch.

A Hidden Treasure

Behind its provocative, symbolic, and artistic face, the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch hides the secrets of an automaton watch belonging to the world of Haute Horlogerie. To create it, Bell & Ross developed the BR-CAL.209: a caliber entirely designed by the manufacture. While the mobiles were mounting on 21 jewels, the balance benefits from an Inca bloc type shock-absorbing system. The brand also worked on the skeletonization of the main plate and bridges to reveal the essential. The finishes are highly sophisticated: rhodium-plated movement, polished chamfers, velvet sanded hollows, hand-drawn strokes decorations.


BR 01 Cyber Skull

BR 01 Cyber Skull © Bell & Ross

Only perfect mastery of the operation of a mechanical movement could, in reality, conceal the BR-CAL 206 hand-wound movement under the faceted decoration. The main plate closely follows the shape of the skull, while extending up to the four corners of the case, underneath the femurs. The whole was fixed on the case. An architecture like this makes the skull appear to float weightlessly inside the case. An impression which is enhanced by the total transparency of the dial, highlighted solely by 12 baton-shaped engraved under the crystal. The complete clarity of the watch reveals the key to the mystery through the Skull.

In addition, there is a surprise that will make you laugh. The automaton movement activates the jaw which opens and appears to snigger when winding-up the spring. Behind the mandible hides the barrel that you will discover when the skull grins back at you! Making up the brain of this skull - which has finally come to life - the anthracite balance wheel reveals its oscillations. The beating of the same, serves as a reminder of the watch's mechanical heart.


Ahead of the auction, a roadshow is planned from 22 September to 6 November in 10 cities across the world to introduce the unique collection to the public. The tour will start during the Monaco Yacht Show. The one-of-a-kind luxury timepieces will be auctioned at the Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues at 2pm (UTC+1), and all proceeds will be donated to Monaco’s L’Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies. Avant-garde and sculpted, the Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire Only Watch reinvents the style of the skull watch. Unifying, it can move art lovers and aesthetes in the same way it can move watch collectors.


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