He asks me (likely rhetorically), “what’s the most important part of a wristwatch?” I am pretty sure I know he wants me to state “the movement,” so I really do. “Yes,” and he proceeds to explain to me how the design philosophy of the BR X2 watch is all about eliminating what seems like the separation of case and motion, rather melding it into one visual object. Thus, with a steel motion plate between two thick layers of closely machined sapphire crystal, there’s a transparent sapphire case that connects directly to the motion. The result is both visually stunning and quite novel.Bell & Ross does this completely for visual scenery – and it appears to work. When I last encountered a concept similar to this, it was in the Piaget 900P (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here) which merged the motion plate and watch instance in order to generate the thinnest mechanical watch movement on the planet. While the Bell & Ross BR X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor Automatic is really thinner-feeling compared to the brand’s other square-cased “Device” watches, it isn’t about breaking size documents. More importantly, it is all about looking damn cool while also being something movement nerds can reliably stand behind.Bell & Ross worked together with the Swiss movement manufacturer MHC in order to generate the movement inside of this Bell & Ross BR X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor Automatic. The movement is, for the most part, easy (for a tourbillon) and satisfying, supplying the time with tourbillon as the seconds index, and automatic winding by means of a micro-rotor that may be observed on the rear of the movement. Bell & Ross uses their currently signature ampersand emblem on the cage across the varying inertia balance wheel tourbillon mechanism. The tourbillon is decidedly wide in diameter so as to supply an expansive perspective on the dial.
By Jovan Krstevski
Seems like Baselworld 2017 has plenty of surprises for all of us. The renewal of the partnership between Bell & Ross and Renault Sport F1 only means one thing – exciting watches to lookout for. We all know that Bell & Ross is known for its expertise on military and aviation pieces so yeah a new race-car line of watches is indeed surprising. To mark this partnership, the Bell & Ross BR-RS17 Trilogy will be released for Baselworld 2017. This trilogy includes 3 watches entirely dedicated to the Renault Sport F1 theme, exciting year indeed.
The BR126’s dial color-way borrows most heavily from the Rolex “black/custard/red” combination from the “red” Submariner 1680. No, it will not win any awards for innovation outright, but then again, taking the best features of designs from the past and building them in near-perfect harmony isn’t something you find daily. I especially adore the domed crystal, which adds to the classic look by slightly distorting the borders of the minute trail from different angles. The muted dial features the contrasting reddish “100 M” thickness rating print, which some purists may find more blasphemous than compatible, since the watch is a pilot’s watch in all other respects.What’s intriguing about a watch with a date feature is that the dial could be cut to show the day of the month anywhere around the amount wheel. The date aperture is put between the 4 and 5 o’clock hour mark, the single element of this design that is not a historical throwback but a rather a nod to another chronographs from the Bell & Ross line.The bezel is very classic looking, and also very clever. Borrowing the ultra-simple minute numbers and hashes from old dive watches of the 50s and 60s, you would believe you were looking at an old plastic bezel insert which was kept in pristine state; after all, each bezel with this kind face and design was made from some kind of epoxy or celluloid. Not this view. Just really thoughtful design on an easy, flat metal ring.
If you think you’ll get totally redesigned pieces, well think again… B&R is honest to its roots particularly the iconic round-dial-within-a-square-case concept that will be used on the new Formula 1 oriented BR-RS17 watches. However, some new touches will be introduced to fit within the racing theme including materials and of course design details. The interesting part though is that the new BR-RS17 trilogy will be affordable and more complex. As to how this is going to be delivered is beyond me but of course it’s very welcoming indeed.
The chronograph buttons are extremely simple “pump” style pushers, which can be small and unobtrusive. This is just another one of the design components that gives the watch a very vintage look, and borrows heavily from the early Valjoux 72 moves as seen on early Rolex Daytonas. The single dead giveaway about the very low price point is that the finish of the instance. This easy, slightly over-polished look on the sides and lugs that says “If you need more, pay more,” is in full effect here. The achievement of the watch’s design can be found in the association between the dial, bezel, and pushers.This is 1 watch that may benefit greatly from a strap change, although the supplied patterned black rubber strap is a fairly efficient method to keep costs down without even looking like other watches at the low four figures. I will be seeing exactly what happens to the appearance of the watch once it will get a NATO design strap run through its spring pubs. In reality, the BR126 is just one military green canvas strap away from providing the IWC Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Miramar a series for its money.Bell & Ross has continued to show off all of the proper moves as a trendy, innovative company with a really strong identity. There are some things more powerful than any one advertising campaign, and that is the rare combination of high quality and patience. It was only a matter of time until they made a watch that would appeal to me as much as that one does. Which may not win you a Grand Prix award, but it does win a spot in my wrist, and for the cost, possibly on yours also.
The BR-RS17 trilogy comprises of 3 chronographs mainly designed for drivers – classical automatic, skeletonized automatic, and high-end tourbillon skeletonized version. In the cockpits, the BR-RS17 trilogy answers the problem of measuring short intervals of time which is considered as the most significant in the racing world. The complication of the BR-RS17 allows the measurement of the performance of the vehicles on the track.
Available in Q2 2017, the retail cost is $64,900 USD.Bell & Ross has made a name for itself with its aviation-inspired timepieces. The brand proudly proclaims that on-board aviation instruments would be its guiding force, and it has been quite effective in incorporating the subject into wristwatches. These days, the square case and around dials of its BR aviation-inspired watches are immediately recognizable, and it would not be a stretch to say that the look is a contemporary horological and cultural icon. Nevertheless, Bell & Ross refuse to be limited by stereotypes, and its hottest watches find it drawing inspiration from the open seas. And in the words of Bell & Ross themselves, they’re “temporarily departing runways, radars and fighter airplanes” and heading for the open water.The new Marine Instrument collection is going to be headlined by three quite special, limited-edition watches. There’s the simple time-only Bell & Ross BR 01-CM Instrument De Marine, the partially skeletonized BR-X1 Device De Marine Chronograph, and finally the ultra-complicated BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph Instrument De Marine.
The BR-RS17 trilogy takes cues from the new Renault RS17 F1 car particularly its steering wheel design. In an F1 car, the steering wheel contains all the buttons that control the vehicle, in short it’s simply the control panel. The BR-RS17 trilogy creates bold and highly legible watches in resonance to the efficient design of the F1 steering wheel. The three watches of course exhibit the “Renault” yellow elements all throughout the watch particularly on the dial and case.
The chronograph gets one additional detail exclusive into the Garde-Côtes, not discovered on the other Vintage-series watches: a pulsometer from the aluminum bezel insert for measuring a patient’s heart rate, rather than the more commonly found tachymeter scale. Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic thematic touch, because let’s be honest — we weren’t all cut out to be saving swimmers (in actuality, the majority people were not — the app is pleased with its famously high attrition rate, which rivals that of the Navy SEALs). The Bell & Ross Garde-Côtes collection costs start at $2,900 for the 3-handed BR V2-92 about the rubber strap, also jumps to $4,300 for the bi-compax chronograph variant.Though probably famous for its cheaper, instrument-inspired pilot and subject watches, French watchmaker Bell & Ross continues to assert itself as a great deal more than the usual one-trick pony, with the latest addition to its BR-X “Experimental” assortment: the crazy Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire.Standouts in this sometimes divisive collection have contained the stealthy forged carbon BR-X1 (hands-on) and the more exotic Bell & Ross BR X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor Automatic watch (hands-on). Sapphire crystal is less or more scratch-proof, but its hardness is now especially difficult to utilize in anything aside from very simple shapes. Technology and techniques have significantly improved in recent decades, nevertheless, with more completely sapphire-cased watches, as well as costs for them starting to come down such as using the Hublot Big Bang UNICO Sapphire (hands-on) – though they tend to stay more rare and costly even than precious metal instance watches.
The Bell & Ross BR03–94 RS17 Chronograph is the automatic chronograph version which is based on the BR03 case (42mm x 42mm). It sports a matte black case with screws on each corner. It’s very light and tough thanks to its ceramic material which is also used on its two pushers (one in yellow and the other in black). I like the dial of this version mainly because its main plate is made of carbon fiver which is synonymous with racing. It also sports Renault F1 signatures such as black and yellow accents on the hands, tachymeter scale, and sub-counter rim. The B&R signatures are also infused since the case highlights bold military inspirations too. Powering the watch is an automatic chronograph movement calibre BR-CAL.301.
The second Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS17 is an Skeleton Chronograph, based on the popular BR-X1. Its 45mm x 45mm case is now made of forged carbon with yellow highlights in pertaining to the Renault Sport F1 cars. I like its “rocker” type push buttons for the chronograph function, looks cool. For improved grip, the pushers are capped with yellow rubber, lovely. There is a new additional element to this watch which is the putter bezel with an engraved tachymeter scale. Its skeletonized appeal is made possible by its dial made of tinted sapphire which allows the movement to shine. This is the most sporty version of the trilogy plus its carbon fiber strap simply screams “let’s race.”
The chronograph buttons are extremely easy “pump” style pushers, which are small and unobtrusive. This is just another one of the design components that gives the watch a very vintage look, and borrows heavily from the early Valjoux 72 movements as seen on early Rolex Daytonas. It also helps to further blur the lines between a pilot’s and a diver’s view. The only dead giveaway about the low price point is the end of this instance. But thankfully those surfaces aren’t so visible when looking at the watch on the wrist. The success of the watch’s design lies in the association between the dial, bezel, and pushers.This is 1 watch that may benefit greatly from a strap shift, although the provided patterned black rubber band is a pretty effective method to keep prices down without even looking like other watches at the low four figures. I’ll be seeing what happens to the appearance of the watch when it gets a NATO design strap run via its spring pubs. In reality, the BR126 is just one army green canvas strap away from providing the IWC Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Miramar a run for its money.Bell & Ross has continued to flaunt all of the right moves as a trendy, innovative business with a really powerful identity. There are a number of things more powerful than any 1 advertising effort, and that’s the uncommon blend of top quality and patience. It was just a matter of time until they made a watch that would appeal to me as much as this one does. That might not win you a Grand Prix award, but it does win a spot in my own wrist, and also for the cost, maybe on yours also.
Finally the third watch is the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon RS17, the high-end version because of its Tourbillon. Combining a one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 with a mono-pusher column-wheel chronograph makes this movement one of a kind. The architecture is impressive allowing a closer view of the innards of the chronograph. This also passes as a skeletonized version because you can see the many elements of the movement through the sapphire dial. The column-wheel is found at 12, and you can even see all the levers, springs and gears that make this complication tick, impressive. What I really like about this watch is its paddle-style mono-pusher positioned to the right of the case, it’s a racing character indeed. The overall layout is relatively readable but of course we all have different preferences. This version is also fitted with a rubber and carbon fiber strap.
The Bell & Ross BR 03-94 RS17 will be limited to 500 pieces and is priced at $6,200 while the BR-X1 RS17 will be limited to 250 pieces and be priced at $24,200. For more info, please visit bellross.com