Bell & Ross Introduces the BR-X5 Powered by Kenissi

Substantial upgrades inside and out.

Historically reliant on ETA and Sellita, Bell & Ross is employing Kenissi movements for the first time in the BR-X5. Though evidently evolved from the BR05, the BR-X5 is endowed with a more complex, modular case. That, in addition to the high-spec Kenissi movement, means the BR-X5 is the new flagship sports watch for Bell & Ross (B&R).

Initial thoughts

The BR-X5 is very much typical B&R in terms of aesthetics with its squarish bezel secured by screws and legible dial. In fact, it is easy to mistake this for the BR05 at a distance, but up close it is clear that the BR-X5 is a big step up in terms of quality. The Kenissi movement certainly outperforms the ETA and Sellita calibres found in the BR05, while the case has a more complex construction that gives it more versatility in terms of materials.

The BR-X5 is making its debut with a model entirely in steel as well as a fancier version in titanium and carbon that best illustrates the modular, layered construction of the case

The improved case and movement, however, come at a price. The BR-X5 costs about 50% more than the equivalent BR05, a premium that is easily justified by the technical improvements.

However, relative to the rest of the B&R line-up the BR-X5 is pricey for a time-only watch, which means it will likely only make sense for those who appreciate and understand the tangible qualities of the watch over its less expensive siblings in the B&R catalogue.

Familiar design, new mechanics

The centrepiece of the BR-X5 is the BR-CAL.323, a calibre produced by Kenissi, the movement manufacturer owned by Tudor and Chanel. It’s essentially the same movement as the MT5621 that Tudor used in its discontinued North Flag model.

The BR-X5 is the first instance of B&R turning to Kenissi, which is certainly an upgrade over the brand’s previous go-to movements from ETA. According to B&R, the Kenissi movement is why the BR-X5 has a five-year guarantee, an increase over the two years for ETA-powered B&R watches.

Like all Kenissi movements, the BR-CAL.323 has a 72-hour power reserve as well as a free-sprung balance wheel with adjustable weights for regulation. And unlike the ETA movement in a typical B&R, the BR-CAL.323 is COSC-certified.

Although the BR-X5 is similar to the BR05 – both share the same silhouette and most details – the BR-X5 case is substantially more complex in terms of construction. It’s comprised of a case middle with plates for the front and back, as well as a bezel and case back.

Similar to Hublot’s construction of its Big Bang case, this modular approach allows for easy mix-and-match of materials, which is demonstrated with the BR-X5 Carbon Orange (more on that below).

The BR-X5 is being launched in a handful of variants. Available with either a steel bracelet or rubber strap, the base model has a dial in either black or “Ice Blue”, both with a radially-brushed, metallic finish.

The top-of-the-line model is the BR-X5 Carbon Orange. Though it has the same movement and a similar design, the Carbon Orange has a more complex, multi-part case in both titanium and carbon composite, explaining why it costs almost double the base model in steel.

A titanium inner case sandwiched in-between two panels of carbon composite, which also forms the inlay on the bezel

Key Facts and Price

Bell & Ross BR-X5
Ref. BRX5R-BO-TC/SRB (Carbon Orange)
Ref. BR‐X5R‐BL‐ST (Black Steel)
Ref. BR‐X5R‐IB‐ST (Ice Blue Steel)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 12.8 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: BR-CAL.323 (made by Kenissi)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and power reserve indicator
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet or rubber strap

Availability: Available now 
Black or Ice Blue on strap – US$6,900; or 9,700 Singapore dollars
Black or Ice Blue on bracelet – US$7,400; or 10,500 Singapore dollars
Carbon Orange – US$11,800; or 16,700 Singapore dollars

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