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Bell & Ross | 1 June 2018
French watch company Bell & Ross is going one step further with a new Skull watch, the BR01 Laughing Skull, and this time it's equipped with an automaton movement.
The skull symbol has been used for centuries, particularly by pirates. They consider it a talisman that brings them courage and frightens off their enemies. It is also used by the military, as a constant reminder of their own vulnerability. These professionals often face death in the line of duty and this image appears on their uniforms and aircrafts.

The BR 01 Laughing Skull runs on a new BR-CAL.206 movement, which is also skull-shaped
The BR 01 Laughing Skull pays tribute to them all.

With its new BR 01 Laughing Skull watch, Bell & Ross is venturing into the field of automata for the first time. These autonomous mechanisms, which feature an animated display, appeared in Europe in the 14th century at the same time as mechanical clocks.

They often take the form of a Jaquemart, an animated mechanised figure of a person, fitted to a church clock tower to strike the hours on a bell. The original Laughing Skull concept is therefore a kind of direct descendant of these elegant animation systems.

The new Bell & Ross watch conceals a powerful character. The skull's mandible is animated during winding. To create it, the brand developed the BR-CAL.206: a caliber entirely produced by the manufacture that is also skull-shaped, so that the mechanism fits the case perfectly.

In the extension of the four bones, the four bridges secure the main plate to the case and come together to form a single assembly floating in the centre of the watch.

This bold timepiece is made from microblasted steel. The 46mm case is decorated with a 'Clous de Paris' finish. This type of guilloche pattern requires special machining. The marriage of the Skull dial and its guilloche case adds to the character of the whole piece.

Naturally, the skull on the dial is the key feature of this watch. It has been made from metal applique, which has been embossed to create a relief pattern. This process is usually used to mint coins or make medals. As an added bonus, 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.

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