Bell and Ross BR X1 Chronograph
Recently, Bell & Ross introduced a bolder, stronger, more masculine and robust edition of its iconic square watch (the BR-01, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year). This watch, called the Bell & Ross BR-X1 features first a skeletonized chronograph movement but mainly a complicated, modular and strong case (that also exists in forged carbon). This watch illustrates the wish of B&R to fight in another league, the heavyweight class, and to reach other customers. And this is now even more true with the latest addition to the collection, a skeletonized, monopusher chronograph with tourbillon. Here is the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon. Available in titanium or in 18k pink gold, with or without diamonds on the bezel and In the same muscular 45mm case of the BR-X1, Bell & Ross adds one of the most (if the most) complicated movements they ever had in one of their watches. The brand already introduced some tourbillons (like this unique edition for Only Watch 2015) or some cool chronographs but never Belamich and Rosillo (the two founders) went that far. If the BR-X1 Chronograph was the stud, the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Monopusher is the hammer that finishes the job. Let’s first talk about the main piece of interest of this watch: its movement. A chronograph with a tourbillon is already an impressive engine, but when you add to the package some interesting complications like a visible column wheel at 12 and mainly the actuation of the chronograph via a single push-piece, it becomes to be quite stunning. The movement is rather special in its architecture, as for once, all the chronograph pieces (levers, wheels, brake and pinions) are located on the dial side – and this is not a modular construction. Of course the 60-second tourbillon is classically visible at 6, in a large, opened cage adorned with the “&” of Bell & Ross (something common to all the tourbillons made by the brand). The bridges and plates are all coated in black to emphasizes the shiny steel parts and specific wheels (with double spokes). The elements are polished, grained, bevelled… A nice execution that shows the wish to be called haute horlogerie. The movement also brings a specific display, with minutes and hours classically located on the central axis. However, the chronograph is displayed in two separated sub-counters, placed on the upper-half of the dial. This hand-wound Calibre BR-CAL.283 boasts 100 hours / 4 days of power reserve (that can be checked with an indicator at 9). The cherry on the cake: the dial is translucent and then, you can have a view on the movement and see the column-wheel and the levers doing their job when pressing the monopusher. (note: considering the specific display and the specifications of this movement, it makes no doubt that it was outsourced from Akrivia – which is a very wise choice, considering the beauty of the watches made by this young manufacture). Now back to the watch itself. The Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon, as said earlier, is the bold, strong, muscular version of the iconic squared-design imagined by Bell & Ross. The 45mm case comprises several parts, assembled to create a solid “protection box” for the movement. All starts with a central titanium “container” that encases the movement and that ensures lightweight, robustness and water resistance. Around it are added the cover, bezel, attachments, thumb rest, bumpers, crown guards, crown and caseback, meaning a modular construction allowing to play with different materials and colours (for instance, the normal Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph was mixing titanium with black ceramic and red accents). Here, the choice is between grade 5 titanium and 18k rose gold (both versions are also available in jewel-encrusted versions with 46 baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel). According to the chosen edition, the dial matches the case. The titanium edition plays on multiple shades of grey while the 18k gold edition brings several details matching the case’s material (hands, indexes and sub-counters rings are all in pink gold). Finally, both editions of the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Monopusher are mounted on a strap mixing rubber with alligator leather inserts.