Bell & Ross, a watchmaker that likes to “break the mould,” is venturing into the field of automata for the first time with its new BR 01 Laughing Skull watch in which the skull’s mandible is animated during winding. The fifth interpretation of the Skull watch comes in three limited edition variants.
“The BR 01 Laughing Skull has been created for those who love original timepieces. It is symbolic in more ways than one, making it a powerful statement piece. Its automaton movement places it in the category of exceptional watches.” – Bell & Ross
To create the animation, the brand developed the skull-shaped BR-CAL.206 calibre, entirely in-house, so that the mechanism fits the case perfectly. Four bridges secure the main plate to the case through the extension of the four-bones of the skull and come together to form a single assembly that appears to float in the centre of the watch.
The 46-mm case is made from micro-blasted steel and is decorated with a “Clous de Paris” finish. This type of guilloché pattern requires special machining. This base variant, without any jewels, is limited to 500 pieces. The “Light Diamond” variant features a bezel set with 104 diamonds at 1.032 ct. In the “Full Diamond” variant, the case, as well as the bezel, is set with 394 diamonds at 2.891 ct. Both these are limited to just 99 pieces each.
The skull on the dial, the key feature of this watch, is made from metal appliqué, which has been embossed to create a relief pattern. This process is usually used to mint coins or make medals. The skeleton work gives the impression that the skull is floating weightless in the centre of the case. The sword-shaped hands are similar to those on the earlier Skull collections, but on this model, they are skeletonised and coated in SuperLuminova. The cover is sapphire with an anti-reflective coating while the strap is brown alligator with a Micro-blasted steel pin.