Bell&Ross is giving us a nice surprise this February with the return of the Cyber Skull, this time in a bronze version. I can already sense the snickering: how can I use the term “pretty surprise” for a watch that is characterized by its imposing case (45mm x 46.7mm for a thickness of 13.7mm) which houses a huge skull? Quite simply because I consider this watch to be one of Bell&Ross’ greatest successes.
First of all, it is not a “beast” watch adorned with a skull as the market has been able to inflict on us for years. Here, the skull takes on its full meaning because the design of the watch has been designed so that the whole appears coherent. The angles of the square case echo the stylized skull, which generously occupies the space and above all the exclusive movement, developed with Concepto, was designed specifically for the watch. But there is more than that: the Cyber Skull offers fun and interactive animation. When the watch is wound manually, the jaw moves which more or less reveals the barrel. The idea is excellent since the rendering changes according to the position of the jaw and you could almost adapt the mood of the skull to yours… Moreover, the fact of being able to make the barrel visible allows, with a little usual, to estimate the power reserve according to the aspect of the mainspring.
I really like the aesthetic of the skull, which is contemporary, original and reasonable enough not to come across as eccentric. There is a feeling of volume, amplified by the openings. The architecture of the movement is in this context optimal thanks to the positioning of the balance wheel at the top and visible from the front side. Being able to appreciate the balance permanently replaces the second hand as a running indicator and the watch is much more successful without this hand.
In any case, the case and the skull take advantage of the use of bronze (the skull is bronze in color but is executed in brass) and I find this version more accomplished and attractive than the black ceramic version. The facets of the case and the skull create very beautiful reflections of light which gives a more refined appearance. The bronze has been treated to maintain a homogeneous appearance and the color inevitably evokes gold. This is a point to consider. The Cyber Skull Bronze is not made for lovers of discreet watches. Its size, its pattern, the omnipresent dominant color position it in the category of ostentatious pieces.
However, it deserves to be considered much more subtle than it appears at first glance. Beyond the play of light that I mentioned, I also appreciated the presentation and decoration of the movement, which is more open than that of the Cyber Skull in black ceramic. The result is airy and highlights the moving elements. I find this aesthetic approach interesting because it reinforces the success of the design and all things considered, nothing more logical than to find a caliber whose execution approaches that of a skeleton movement in a watch sporting a skull.
The performances of the hand-wound movement are classic, namely a power reserve of around fifty hours for a frequency of 4hz. I would like to say that the duration of the power reserve does not matter since one of the pleasures brought by the Cyber Skull Bronze lies in the movement of the jaw which makes the skull laugh during manual winding. It is therefore unthinkable not to carry out this operation on a daily basis!
The Cyber Skull Bronze therefore left me with a very favorable feeling because I found it very well made and because it has a playful dimension which allows it to make its size and its ostentatious aspect much more acceptable. Finally, it should be noted that the black rubber strap firmly positions the watch on the wrist and therefore prevents it from moving too much which would make it uncomfortable.
The Cyber Skull Bronze is available as part of a limited series of 500 pieces at a price of 11,900 euros.
Thanks to the Bell&Ross boutique team at the Village Royal in Paris.
+ a convincing achievement
+ the play of light which magnifies the design of the skull
+ the more airy presentation of the movement
+ the playful dimension
– an imposing watch and not easy to wear given its ostentatious side