Category: Bell and Ross Watches
Bell and Ross BR 03-92 Patrouille de France 70th Anniversary
Parisian brand Bell & Ross was founded in 1992 with a shared vision of functional and tough watches. It has a long history of military-inspired watches, but also watches issued for special forces, squadrons, astronauts, the French Naval Air Force or elite squads such as the GIGN and the RAID. In 2021, following the release of several collections purely intended for civilian use, the brand went back to its roots, by announcing its partnership with France’s precision aerobatics demonstration unit, the world-famous Patrouille de France. In order to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the elite unit, Bell & Ross releases the limited edition BR 03-92 Patrouille de France 70th Anniversary watch . It felt rather natural that the French Acrobatic Patrol “Patrouille de France” chose French brand Bell & Ross as its official watch partner, following Breitling, which was officially partnering with the Patrol since 2017 but actually made some watches with this team already since 1993. The Patrouille de France is one of the world’s most famous precision aerobatics demonstration unit. Born in 1953 but active since 1931 under different names, this elite unit under the control of the French Air and Space Force (the Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) is the oldest of its kind and is considered one of the best in the world. The patrol’s mission is to perform aerial displays consisting of precision aerobatics, such as the opening of the Bastille Day military parade in Paris. The squadron is composed of 9 pilots and 35 mechanics. They have for mission to maintain and repair the 12 Alphajet planes assigned to the unit. Back in 2021, the partnership was announced and it already gave birth to two dedicated models; the BR 03 Type A with digital display (a specific request of the pilots) and the BR 03-92 Patrouille de France 70th Anniversary watch . The third special edition model has now been released and pairs traditional Bell & Ross codes with flamboyant French colours and unique design elements to celebrate 7 decades of precision aerobatics. The choice for the new watch dedicated to the Patrouille de France is the most classic of models from Bell & Ross, the BR 03-92. Also known as the instrument line, it comes in the signature case (the circle within a square) with 4 functional screws, directly modelled after vintage dashboard instruments. Measuring 42mm x 42mm, with a reasonable height of 10.40mm, it is here presented in a stealthy version, with a matte, microblasted ceramic case. The back has been decorated with the silhouettes of the 5 aircraft that have flown since the creation of the Patrouille de France in 1953 – Thunderjet, Ouragan, Mystère IV, Fouga Magister and Alphajet. The dial of this BR 03-92 Patrouille de France also pays tribute to the acrobatic patrol, with a particularly luminous shade of blue, evoking the colour of the Alpha Jet of the BR 03-92 Patrouille de France 70th Anniversary watch – which you could name Bleu France. The matte background is home to multiple highly contrasting white elements, such as the large luminous Arabic numerals and markers, as well as oversized white-SLN-coated hands. The insignia of this elite display team and the specific logo of its 70TH anniversary appear at the heart of this dial, which unfortunately still retains its date window… Powered by the Calibre BR-CAL.302, a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement, this BR 03-92 Patrouille de France is delivered with two straps; a tone-on-tone leather strap with French stitching and a steel PVD-coated pin buckle, and a black synthetic canvas fabric strap.
French watch manufacturer, Bell & Ross, has been supplying the French air force (and recently the space force) with outstanding pilot watches since it was founded in 1992. In 2016, the company launched a partnership with the Renault Sport 1 Formula Racing team, making limited edition watches. The square case BRs have been the most popular designs from Bell & Ross, whether they were designed with racers, pilots, or divers in mind. Speaking of pilots, The Patrouille acrobatique de France (or French Acrobatic Patrol for you yankees) is an aerobatic show similar to the Navy Blue Angels here in the US, and it’s celebrating its 70th birthday. To mark this occasion and the French Air Force’s history with Bell & Ross, the BR 03-92 Patrouille de France 70th Anniversary watch has been announced.
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver White Bronze
One might only associate Bell & Ross with aeronautical watches, but they’ve been making diving watches for some time now. In fact, I think these are some of the coolest-looking diving watches that don’t have a round case. The big and chunky square case lends itself very well to the diving watch theme, which is about thick watches with high levels of pressure resistance. There’s less need to hold back with diving watches, and Bell & Ross’ 2022 models show us that they are aware of this.
The BR 03-92 Diver White and BR 03-92 Diver Brown Bronze have exceptionally clear dials thanks to the high contrast between the dial plates, the hands and the markers. A square Bell & Ross pilot’s watch typically has some large numerals and extensive hands smothered in white lume. On the bronze model, these hands and markers are rose gold plated. It’s nice to see that they went with round markers and more subtle hands for both watches, although there’s still plenty of lume on both. There’s also an unobtrusive date window, but I wonder whether it’s particularly legible in person.
The watches are available in one size only, and that size is 42mm x 42mm x 12.05mm. The white dial option (which is more silvery than white) comes with a stainless steel case, while the brown version comes with a solid bronze case. Bronze is something Bell & Ross has been doing for years, and, like Panerai, they make it work well. I remember trying out a skull watch in bronze several years ago when we covered the opening of their boutique in the Burlington Arcade, London. Both cases are water-resistant to 300m. Both watches come with a couple of straps. You get a black rubber strap and a super-durable synthetic fabric strap for the steel version. For the bronze, you get a brown calfskin leather strap and a black rubber strap too.
Inside these watches is a Sellita SW 300-1, which Bell & Ross modifies to their needs and then calls the BR-CAL.302. The BR-CAL.302 offers a power reserve of 38-hours and an accurate 4Hz beat rate. Our readers were quite harsh on Bell & Ross in the comments section of our recent hands-on review. I wonder what they’ll think of these.
Introduced in 2017, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver is not the brand’s first dive watch, but it is the first dive watch in their iconic square case. It is, in my opinion, a great success in balancing various design elements and themes as well as boldness and wearability. “Balance” is a word that I kept returning to when considering different aspects of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver. The result is a solid, refined dive watch with a look and character quite unlike any other I know of, and it is just plain fun to wear.
No matter how good, satisfying, or original a brand’s watches are, a genuinely “iconic” model is something most watch brands will never be able to convincingly claim – by its very nature the term can be accurately applicable to only a limited number of watches. I try to avoid even using the word, but I think many watch enthusiasts will agree that Bell & Ross’ square-cased, aviation-themed watches based on the dashboard instruments of old airplanes will qualify. The design is strongly associated with and rooted in aviation, but Bell & Ross has branched out to plenty of other genres or styles with the square case as the foundation. While the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver could get lost among so many other variations on the theme, taken alone it is successful as a compelling dive watch.
There are several Bell & Ross collections that use essentially the same basic case design but in different sizes (and each with different models). The BR 01 is a wrist-eclipsing (for me, anyway) 47mm, the BR 03 like the one reviewed here is 42mm, and the BR S is 39mm. The BR X watches are Bell & Ross’ “Experimental” collection that also use some variation of the square case but with generally more elaborate constructions, avant-garde designs, and haute complications (hands-on example here with the Bell & Ross BR X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor). There are divers in other collections – and there have been more in the past, such as the BR 02 – but, again, the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver is the first diver in the square case.
You will have to be the final judge as to whether Bell & Ross got it right with the BR 03-92 Diver – and I recommend you try it on first – but my judgement after wearing it almost daily for a couple weeks is that they did. The Bell & Ross case is immediately identifiable as such, but the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver is also just a serious-looking dive watch. It further manages to play the part of a bold-wearing luxury sport watch with an aggressive presence – and at the same time, it looks purposeful and down-to-earth, so the wearer doesn’t look like he’s desperate for attention. Finally, despite that boldness and presence, its size and dimensions somehow keep it surprisingly wearable. At least, these have been my impressions while wearing it.
About those dimensions: Looking at the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver on the wrist, one might not guess that it measures only 42mm wide. It might be a weird or abstract thing to say, but I would describe the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver as wearing more like a 44mm-wide watch. Square cases are going to wear larger than their measurements would suggest – if you are familiar with watch measurements and have a habit of guessing how a watch might fit you based on pictures and specs before seeing it in person. Perhaps a corner-to-corner measurement is a good way of evaluating the size of a square watch because that may better represent how much wrist real estate it occupies. I really made an effort to portray in some of the photographs how well it wears on my 6.5″ (17cm) wrist – though I probably couldn’t pull off even a millimeter larger.
Bell and Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze
Bell & Ross have always been a watchmaker to avoid conventionality. Even their most traditional looking timepieces are square-shaped with perfectly round dials interrupting at the centre. A family from the Swiss manufacturer that disrupts convention more than any other is their Skull collection. Every few years, Bell & Ross launches one of these limited edition Skull watches to prove their prowess with avant-garde techniques. The latest to join the ultra-modern collection is the Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze Replica watch.
The first Bell & Ross Skull watch was launched in 2019 offering the framework of their BR 01 model with a skull-shaped dial, four bones leading out to the iconic four case screws and hands mimicking pirate swords. Ever since, this limited edition has been followed by multiple iterations in different materials and with different complications including a tourbillon model in 2011 and the first bronze edition in 2015. One of the most significant out of the lot remains the BR 01 Laughing Skull watch introduced in 2018 which debuted Bell & Ross’ first ever automaton movement. This meant that as you wound the movement, the jaws of the skull appeared as if it was laughing. Then three years ago in 2020, the luxury watch brand changed things up again with the original Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull watch. This futuristic design used ceramic and sapphire crystal to make it appear as if the skull and bones was floating in mid-air, with the manufacture movement perfectly adapted to hide behind it.
The new Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze Replica watch copies the architecture of the 2020 Cyber Skull watch but instead incorporates a new material, the patina-pending metal of bronze. The entire case, crown and pin buckle are engineered from this alloy (CuAI7Si2) which is ultimately a blend of copper and tin. Like other bronze watches, the limited edition will acquire a unique patina over time, changing colour and texture and becoming completely bespoke to the wrist it sits upon.
As before, there’s a departure from the more traditional square-shaped case with four screws at each corner. Instead, the case is insanely modern with a faceted structure for a sleek and futuristic look. Bell & Ross describe the style of the case to be “reminiscent of the angular fuselage of a stealth aircraft”, revealing the same mass of angles and facets which reduce the radar signature of the plane. The almost-square case is disrupted by angles in the corners and measures to 45mm by 46.7mm in diameter and 13.70mm thick. The Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze Replica Limited Edition is finished by faceted sapphire crystal glass on top.
Joining the warmth of the new bronze case, the skull-shaped dial of the Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze watch is finished in rose gold-plating. The skull and crossbones appear as if they are floating between the two sheets of sapphire crystal but are in fact cleverly secured by four matching rose gold plated screws at each corner, fixing the skull to the movement behind it. The movement has been immaculately developed to fit almost perfectly in line with the skull with just subtle elements like the barrel at 6 o’clock and certain gear trains visible. The main element on show is the spiral balance wheel at 12 o’clock which is designed to symbolise the brain of the skull full of life. At the centre of the dial is two gilt hands for the hours and minutes dressed in Superluminova inserts.
The Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze Replica Limited Edition still maintains its automaton mechanism which sees the jaw of the skull come to life when you manually wind the movement. The jaw moves up and down as if it is laughing at you and when it unwinds, it gives you a clearer view of the barrel behind it. The movement used is the Calibre BR-CAL.210 with a frequency of 28,800vph and a power reserve of 50 hours. Finally, the Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze watch is completed by a 50 metre water resistant rating and a black rubber strap with bronze pin buckle.
Bell & Ross BR S
A few years ago Bell & Ross BRS released their first women’s version of the BR 01 style watch called the BRS (which I first discussed here). The idea of the watch was to be a smaller, more fashion oriented version of the BR 01 done in ceramic. Available in black or white ceramic, it is hard to argue that Bell & Ross wasn’t at least partially influenced by the success of the Chanel J12. Lovely in its design the BRS cannot really be categorized as strictly a woman’s watch, but that is the intended market as I see it.
Bell & Ross experimented with ceramic before the BRS, and since the Bell & Ross BRS has continued to offer good looking ceramic watches in various forms. The hard material makes for a good looking case that when polished retains the sheen forever really. The BRS case is a 39mm wide square and is very thin. I believe that originally Bell & Ross wanted to include a manually-wound mechanical movement in the BRS, but later decided that a Swiss quartz movement was best. I tend to agree as women often prefer the convenience of quartz movements, especially if they have a range of watches that they wear.
Unlike the BR 01, the BRS has a removable caseback which shows that the design of the case is different as opposed to being merely miniaturized. Though visually that is how it looks. The iconic square case is here complete with the large screws on the top of the case. You will however notice that the lug structures are different and better designed for the small case dimensions.
The white ceramic BRS is certainly more feminine that this black version and combines white ceramic with polished steel. On a patent leather strap all versions of the watch are rather feminine, but you can alter that look by placing the BRS on a different strap. For example, imagine this black one on a NATO strap and you can see how that can make it more unisex in design.
Water resistant to 50 meters, the case has an AR coated sapphire crystal. Looking at the dial you can see the evolution from the BR 01. The Bell & Ross BRS has a more elegant dial with a subsidiary seconds dial. True to the theme, the hands and hour markers are all coated in SuperLumiNova.
For those wanting more of a jewelry look Bell & Ross offers the BRS watch collection (both the black and white models) with diamonds on the bezel. I’ve seen BRS watches on women “out in the wild” and I really like the look on feminine wrists. It isn’t something for everyone though due to the size and style, but I think Bell & Ross makes a rather persuasive argument for a nice looking womens’ collection with the BRS
Bell & RossBR V2-92 ORANGE
The new Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Orange sports watch features the graphic signature of the dial of the very recent BR V2-92 Full Lum. It incorporates the same indexes, numerals and hands that light up in the dark.
It spotlights an orange dial just like the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Orange, the Diver who initiated the Orange family in 2020. The BR V292 Orange is the second element of this collection. These two watches have the colour orange in common.
Their emblem is the surfboard for one and the skateboard for the other. Skateboard and surfboards are two equivalent sliding accessories, one land-intended for the macadam, the other aquatic, for the ocean.
The BR V292 Orange watch is characterised by the Pop colour of its dial, a very pure and bright orange.
On the BR V2-92 Orange, the combination of this bright colour and the black outlines of the hands, numerals and indexes, offer optimal reading. Readability has always been one of the fundamental qualities of Bell & Ross instrument watches.
The BR V2-92 Orange pays tribute to the world of skateboarding. Its neo-retro design and its Pop colour associate it with this stylish sport, born in California in the 70s. The roundness of its case evokes in particular the roundness of the wheels of a skateboard.
Its rubber strap with a “braided” tropical print is reminiscent of the grip that covers a skateboard deck. The BR V2-92 Orange is also available with an integrated full steel bracelet.
The BR V2-92 Orange is a sports watch whose objective is readability and reliability. This classic 41 mm steel watch has an assertive neo-retro character. It features the Bell & Ross elegant Vintage case with timeless rounded lines.
Ready for action, this novelty is well suited to outdoor activities. Robust, designed for sport, it is water-resistant to a depth of 100 m.
The BR V2-92 Orange is powered by the self-winding BR-CAL.302 calibre. Reliable and precise, this mechanism displays the hours, minutes and seconds by central hands and the date in an aperture. Its notched bidirectional rotating bezel is used to set benchmarks in time.
Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Green
Previously available in black, blue, and grey, the fourth addition the BR 05 Skeleton family features a green-tinted crystal that offers a view into the skeletonized dial. The olive green crystal gives you a look at the BR-CAL.322 automatic movement, which has a 38-hour power reserve. The watch features a 40mm stainless steel case that’s fitted to a steel bracelet or a khaki green rubber strap to match the dial.
The “Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Green collection” by Bell & Ross keeps expanding on the skeletonized theme. Back in 2019 they released a steel skeletonized dial, which recently was followed up by a more luxurious gold version. Now they’ve added a green skeletonized dial, thanks to the use of an intermediate tinted sapphire crystal.
The 40mm case comes in the iconic Bell & Ross circle in a square format, made of stainless-steel with a mix of vertically brushed surfaces and polished accents. While mounted to the case is a fixed rounded out square bezel with exposed screws.
On the flip-side we have an exhibition case back, which allows a view into the inner workings of the mechanical movement and continues the exposed theme found on its dial.
It comes equipped with a setting-crown surrounded by crown guards, which give the case an overall concise and compact look. The crown has also been engraved with the ampersand logo that Bell & Ross is renowned for. All topped by a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, which assists with water-resistance reaching up to 100 meters (330 feet).
Time is exhibited on a skeleton dial that appears to be green due to it being directly under an intermediate olive green-tinted sapphire crystal. Meanwhile getting a reading on the current time is facilitated by an inner flange with floating steel applied hour index markers.
Hovering over the upper half of the dial is the “Bell & Ross” logo engraved directly on the top sapphire crystal in white font. The central steel hour, minutes hands and hour index markers have all undergone a luminescent filling, for an enhanced legibility.
The “ Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Green ” (Ref#: BR05A-GN-SKST) is powered by the self-winding mechanical movement, caliber BR-CAL.322 with 25 jewels and 28,800 Vph. It is based on the classic Sellita SW3000-1, but specifically modified for this Bell & Ross edition. Power reserve on this watch can last up to 38 hours, when fully wound. Mounted on the watch is an integrated stainless-steel bracelet, secured to the wrist by a three-fold clasp. An optional green striped rubber strap with a steel folding clasp is also available with a more accessible price-tag.
This is a limited edition of only 500 manufactured timepieces. For more up to date information visit the official Bell & Ross website here.
Bell and Ross BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada
Bell & Ross has launched a watch for cigar lovers with the Edición Limitada, a nod to the Spanish-speaking Island of cigars – otherwise known as Cuba.
Based on the BR 05, the chronograph is aimed at what the brand describes as a “chic, stylish dandy and urban epicurean.”
The BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada chronograph echoes the spirit of the previous Edición Limitada and is inspired by the world of Havana cigars.
If this watch were a cigar, it would be the famous Robusto Maduro. A cigar is defined by two main elements: the colour of its wrapper and its module.
With its rounded square corners and 42mm case, the BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada chronograph evokes the Robusto cigar, a famous thick, short cigar with a square tip.
Matte brown dresses up the dial with the colour here evoking the tobacco leaf surrounding the cigar while gold covers the small, subtle details, like the outside of the chronograph counters.
Red can be found on the stopwatch hands, inducing the cigar bands. As a nod to the cigar’s roots, the Edición Limitada inscription on the dial is written in red and in Spanish.
The colour code used is also a way to separate different functions, a Bell & Ross signature design detail. The two stopwatch hands are dressed in red.
The large central hand measures the seconds, while the small hand on the counter at 9 o’clock measures the stopwatch minutes.
The counter at 3 o’clock houses a small golden hand which displays the seconds: no risk of confusion.
In terms of materials, gold features on the bezel and strap links and the case and the rest of the strap are made of steel.
Available in two strap variants, there is a brown rubber entry level strap as well as a more luxurious 4N rose gold and steel to match the case and bezel.
A refined chronograph, the BR 05 Chrono Edición Limitada houses a self-winding BR-CAL301 movement.
BR 03-92 White Diver Watch
The diver watch continues its legacy as one of the most iconic watch designs in timepiece history, with countless brands manufacturing their own variations. Born from the sky and deepest depths of the ocean, the Bell & Ross Collection features an array of luxury watches that cater to any lifestyle. Bell & Ross is proud to present the newest addition to its line of diver watches, the new BR 03-92 White. The new BR 03-92 features a 42mm case design crafted from polished stainless steel and holds an impressive 300-meter water resistance. Under the black ceramic rotating bezel, the silver opaline dial design clearly highlights the time and date functions of the BR 03-92.
Driving power to the new diver watch is Bell & Ross’ in-house BR-CAL.302 automatic movement, which provides an impressive 38-hour power reserve for those with an extensive collection. The covered back of the BR 03-92 includes engravings that signify the watch’s specs, along with branded logos to highlight the special release. With function in mind, Bell & Ross adds a thick black rubber strap to the constriction of the BR 03-92 diver watch. The new Bell & Ross BR 03-92 White is currently available through an authorized dealer with a price tag of $3,990. Check back into duPont REGISTRY Daily for more upcoming luxury watch news and releases.
Bell and Ross BR X1 Tourbillon
For 2015, Bell & Ross has updated the BR 01 collection with the BR-X1 (hands-on here) which takes the classic square-shaped cockpit instrument-inspired Bell & Ross watch design and renders it in its most modern look ever. aBlogtoWatch staff members were surprisingly satisfied with the Bell & Ross BR-X1 despite the watches being on the pricier side of what we’ve come to expect from the brand. So, in the spirit of very high-end Bell & Ross watches, here is the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon – which comes in four limited editions all costing well over $100,000.
Bell & Ross is no stranger to the tourbillon, having created a few such models over the years, starting with some interesting movements developed for them by movement specialists in Switzerland. You’ll see the base movement in the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon sitting in other watches produced in the luxury watch industry – and to be honest, among them, the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon is not wildly priced (comparatively speaking, that is). Bell & Ross hasn’t quite had the thunder it did a few years ago, but we still believe they make some very compelling products. So why a new tourbillon, and why now?
When meeting with Bell & Ross, you get the idea that things are changing. People might be moving internally, and overall, there is the sense that top-level management has decided to shake things up… so maybe some people are nervous (I don’t really know). What I can, however, predict is that the customer is going to win. Either there will be better marketing and a more concentrated product collection, or a total business revamping of the brand with new people and new ideas. So maybe these Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillons are the last hurrah of the “old” way at Bell & Ross. Maybe these are the pinnacle of what the BR 01 collection has come to. They even come – for what I believe is the first time… with diamonds. Yes, folks, that is right. The cockpit instrument panels of the future will ALL be lined with diamonds. So many bright things to look forward to.
It really does feel like a farewell party for the BR 01 on its 10th anniversary. I suppose, there are so many out there that Bell & Ross could take a break from making them for a while, wait for demand to catch up, and then bring them back by “popular demand.” Thanks, Corum Bubble! It is true what people say. Everyone does love a good comeback, and if anyone knows that better than the watch industry, I would like to meet them. Brands today are looking at what happens in the vintage market to, perhaps, end product collections, only to plan on bringing them back in the future. The vintage appeal of tomorrow might be much more calculated that the appeal of many vintage watches today.
Again, take all of this with a grain of salt. I have no idea what Bell & Ross is planning on doing. I’m just having a conversation with myself over what they might do to combat what some have said is a bit of brand stagnation. I mean, these are smart people running a major business; if things aren’t going right, they move the direction of the ship a bit. Going back to the Bell & Ross BR-X1 case, it is the same 45mm-wide size of the BR 01 but with a wildly different design which looks like a watch version of a Transformer. This is like Hublot DNA got into Bell & Ross and had fun. And that isn’t a bad thing. This is a great look for Bell & Ross, and helps show that it can be done with a square watch case design. That really isn’t easy.
Of course, the case is a bit thicker, but that isn’t too big of a deal, given how tall some people like their watches to be. You have to understand that a decade ago when Bell & Ross first released the BR 01, people freaked out about the size. No, I never did, but some people were offended by the idea. What Bell & Ross didn’t realize was that it was ushering in a market for the much higher-end nice luxury sport watch industry that goes up to Richard Mille. The coolest “functional” elements of the case design are the switch-style chronograph pushers. They work very well, but you can get them with the BR-X1 non-tourbillon models. For the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillons, Bell & Ross is only making the cases in either titanium or 18k rose gold.
On the wrist, I think they look really cool. They aren’t for everyone, but they have a great presence and are going to be very good for those who want a modern military style with a bit more grace than some of the competition that goes a bit overboard on the small details. Straps are rubber with a layer of alligator in them. It sounds weird, but wears really well. The brand calls the movement in the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon the caliber BR-CAL.283, or just the “283.” It has a rather plain back but a great dial with a lot of decoration. Manually wound, it has 4 days of power reserve operating at 3Hz (21,600 bph). Functions include the time with subsidiary seconds dial via the tourbillon, 30-minute monopusher chronograph that only uses the subdials (sorta cool), and a power reserve indicator. Overall, it is a decent movement that is nice to look at through the skeletonized dial. It also has a welcome small degree of originality in the layout of the dials and hands. If you are interested in those diamond versions I mentioned earlier, then you have them available both in the titanium and 18k rose gold versions of the watch. Each adds 46 large baguette-cut stones around the bezel. Yes, it looks weird, but it also looks like something a cool Bond villain might wear. I even like that the case is water resistant to 100 meters. So many of these so called “sport” watches have crap water resistance even though they look like space ships. Is it so much to ask for durability in high-end sport watches? I mean $100,00 and you can’t wash your hands with it? What’s the point? They don’t have, say, decorative pickup trucks. All the luxury ones have at least some off-road cred. Why can’t the luxury industry do that with expensive sport watches?
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.