Exchange 106 – a.k.a TRX Tower
Just a few days ago, I was graciously invited by Bell & Ross to attend a press conference which saw the official launch of the new BR-X5. Vincent and I were actually invited to a private dinner a couple months prior where we were presented with the BR-X5 prototypes. However, we weren’t allowed to take any photos (and was even required to sign a NDA), so I was actually excited to see whether any of the changes we proposed during that dinner had been implemented, and also to finally share some photos of the watches in the metal with all of you.
The press conference was held at a space many watch brands probably have not used before – the Exchange 106, also known as the TRX Tower, which is the third tallest building in Malaysia, fourth tallest in Southeast Asia, and 23rd tallest in the world. Views are immaculate.
It was quite nice to bump into some familiar faces who we’ve kept in touch with over the years – Adelyn and Tong from Bell & Ross Malaysia, Bryan Chin from Sneakerlah, Wei Yu from Robb Report, and Kelvin Tan from Heart Media.
In recent years, Bell & Ross have rose to a very unique position in this watchmaking space. As someone who appreciates the art of watchmaking and generally dislikes the extra fluff that comes with modern day marketing, I’d go as far as to say that Bell & Ross are finally heading in the right direction with their recent releases of the BR-05 line up, and now with the BR-X5. In comparison to their previous releases, I am of the opinion that the newer releases have so much more to offer than before in terms of mass appeal and proper watchmaking prowess. There is a much more cohesive and robust design DNA now which is much needed for the brand. In the past, I’ve been to Bell & Ross boutiques on multiple occasions and I’ve struggled to find a model that I really like (with exception to the BR123, of course, but it still feels lackluster in some respects), but with the BR-05 lineup and beyond – It feels like they’ve finally found a sweet spot, and are trying to capitalize on that.
One of the biggest selling points for me is the fact that Bell & Ross had decided to use a special movement (BR Cal. 323) that is created by Kenissi for the BR-X5. Now if you’ve been paying attention to the latest developments within the watchmaking space, Kenissi is a relatively new kid (read: movement manufacturer) on the block that has made movements for Chanel, Tudor, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Fortis, etc. Up until now, Bell & Ross has used ETA and Sellita based calibers, but with the new Kenissi collaboration, expect to see a much higher-grade movement in future Bell & Ross models. This particular BR Cal. 323 features a whopping 70-hour power reserve, a COSC certification and now has a 5-year warranty, compared to the 2-year warranty of the BR-05.
Pictured below are the 3 models released on the day itself: Black Steel, Ice Blue Steel, and Carbon Orange Limited Edition 500 pcs.
The Ice Blue Steel variant is an interesting release, because Bell & Ross are typically known to be quite traditional in their approach when it comes to colour selection – red, blue, black, steel, etc. But the introduction of the ice blue is a refreshing one and I foresee that this would be a popular choice among prospective customers.
Between the three models released, I personally quite like the BR-X5 Black Steel, it is the safest variant in terms of colour selection and I find it quite wearable on a daily basis given my understated and ‘simpleton’ fashion sense. It just makes sense to me, not too flashy or too obvious – just the way I like it.
The Carbon Orange variant is quite a looker – the orange straps feels very loud but nicely balanced and subdued with the carbon case. It is a great showcase of a more aggressive version of the BR-X5.
That being said, I was hoping they came out with something green as well.. but I digress.
I am looking forward to see how will Bell & Ross further evolve the current lineup in the foreseeable future. But one thing is for sure, this is the way forward for Bell & Ross.
See you at the next event.
For Team Matick,