The steely gray lines of this 3Hz manually-wound BR-CAL.288 motion architecture cast a nicely skeletonized, industrial contrast against most of the translucent components on the watch – although the strap is translucent rubber, which should make for some interesting wrist shots. Part of the idea, aside from the novelty itself of a totally transparent scenario, is that the movement and even the screws holding the case together are observable from about every angle. The only region of the watch that is not fully see-through is that the massive mainspring barrel itself, which provides 100 hours of power reserve, and is tucked conveniently behind the luminous hour and minute hands at 12:00, maintaining some degree of legibility to get timekeeping.In keeping with the more exclusive traditions of this Experimental collection, only eight pieces of this Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire have been generated. But this particular piece is now the most expensive of all of the X1 offerings – even beating out the BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Rose Gold Diamond version by a healthy margin – having an asking price for the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire of $385,000. It is, in my estimation, a great achievement in balancing various design components and topics as well as boldness and wearability. “Balance” is a phrase that I kept returning to if considering different aspects of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver. The result is a sound, refined dive watch having a look and character quite unlike any other I know of, and it’s just plain fun to wear.
If you believe of Bell & Ross as a manufacturer of mostly oversize, square-cased, aviation-oriented watches, you’re not alone. But, Bell & Ross are also the producers of an increasing collection of heritage-inspired aviation bits that they call their Vintage Collection. Now, Bell & Ross have further enlarged the 38.5millimeter BR V assortment of the Vintage Collection together with the new Bell & Ross V1-92, an aviation-inspired sport watch with a domed sapphire crystal and B&R’s Cal.302 automatic mechanical movement.Clearly drawing design cues from aviation instruments and timepieces of the past, the V1-92’s dial is glossy black with faux vintage colored Super-LumiNova coated baton hour mark, a minute scale and sub divisions printed in white, as well as white printed minute markers rather than hour markers at Gravity increments. The election to proceed with notable minute markers instead of hour markers demonstrates B&R’s devotion to the classic flyer texture of this piece in addition to a nod to historic pilot’s watches from IWC and Laco. The twelve o’clock index, a triangle and 2 dots, is also borrowed from classic pilot watches. A white on black date wheel is visible through a window neatly tucked to the 4:30 position — although it is partially cutting off some of the figures.
Since 2016, Bell & Ross is the Official Watch Partner of Renault Sport Formula One™ Team. Last weekend was marked by Spanish Carlos Sainz Jr.’s first race at 2017 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in the R.S.17 car. Indeed, the 23-year-old driver will now run for Renault Sport Formula One™ Team replacing Jolyon Palmer. Carlos can proudly look back at his first performance with the French constructor at the Austin GP where he made quite an impression during the race. From the wheel to the wrist, Bell & Ross equips Carlos Sainz Jr. with its latest high-performance watch, the BR-X1 R.S.17.
Carlos Sainz © Bell & Ross
Support of Breast Cancer Awareness was also a highlight during the Austin GP. Beside their constant quest for performance and technicity, Bell & Ross and Renault Sport Formula One™ Team are also concerned about women and joined the noble cause. Through the 2017 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, the entire circuit event donned in pink showing their support. Renault Formula One™ Team and Bell & Ross joined the movement #RaceForTheCure and Bell & Ross made a donation through the Susan G. Komen nonprofit organization. The brand also honored the Breast Cancer Awareness month with its BRS Novarosa watch worn on the ladies’ wrists during the Austin GP. This appealing and glamorous watch takes its name from a rare and spectacular astronomical event: the explosion of a star.
BRS Novarosa © Bell & Ross
However good, gratifying, or original a new watches are, a genuinely “iconic” model is something many watch brands will never be able to convincingly assert — by its very nature the expression can be accurately applicable to only a restricted number of watches. I attempt to avoid even using the word, but I believe many watch enthusiasts will agree that Bell & Ross’ square-cased, aviation-themed watches dependent on the dashboard instruments of older planes will be eligible. The design is closely correlated with and rooted in air, but Bell & Ross has branched out into plenty of different genres or styles with all the square instance as the foundation. While the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver could get lost among so many other variations on the subject, taken alone it’s effective as a persuasive dive watch.There are several Bell & Ross collections which use essentially the exact same basic case design but also in various sizes (and each with various models). The BR X watches are Bell & Ross’ “Experimental” collection that also use some variant of the square case but with generally more elaborate structures, bold layouts, and haute complications (hands-on example here using the Bell & Ross BR X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor).