The launching of the BR-X1 marked the beginning of a whole new chapter in Bell & Ross’ saga. This high-tech chronograph, with a sporty look and robust sophistication, heralded an inspirational new line in horological excellence. Revolutionary in design and inspired by aeronautical flight instruments, the BR-X1 line stretched its wings in 2015 with an exceptional new Haute Horlogerie version: the BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon. This watch combined the extremely virile esthetic codes of the brand with technical refinement. Yet the thrill of a further development was still to come. True to its relentless quest for excellence and performance, Bell & Ross boldly set forth to achieve the ultimate expression of this already iconic design: a skeleton movement enhanced as a rare treasure.
Through a transparent exterior, the BR-X1 CHRONOGRAPH TOURBILLON SAPPHIRE reveals its fascinating secrets: it is built around a Flying Tourbillon master grand complication and Bell & Ross has added an ultra elegant mono-pusher chronograph. This unique and exclusive Haute Horlogerie caliber is prepared to be roused by the exquisite poetry of its movement. The chronograph complication is visible and provides a privileged window into its many intricacies. Even the casual observer can admire the column wheel under the dial at 12 o’clock, the semi instantaneous jumping hand (rather than a traditional sweeping hand), and the power reserve indicator of 100 hours (at least 4 days) at 9 o’clock.
Masculine through and through, the main plate and pillars have been machined from a single block of metal. The perfectly executed skeletonizing of the movement, in a stunningly contemporary style and finish, allows the exceptional mechanics of this “horological turbine” to be observed when starting, stopping and resetting. True aficionados will appreciate the extreme sophistication of the BR-X1 CHRONOGRAPH TOURBILLON SAPPHIRE with its 30-minute counter at 10 o’clock and 60-second counter at 2 o’clock for the chronograph functions. These are engaged by the mono-pusher rocker –positioned at 2 o’clock– which controls the Start, Stop and Reset functions. A treat for the eyes, this outstanding timepiece offers breathtaking views into its inner workings. The power reserve differential and the barrel are also visible on the back. In a similar theatrical fashion, the flying tourbillon cage with the logogram “&” can been seen from every angle. Sapphire is an iconic precious gemstone. To the world of Science, it’s a mineral known as Corundum, the second hardest material on earth after diamond, and almost impossible to scratch. Herein, lies the beauty of this once-in-a-lifetime creation by the master horologers at Bell & Ross.
The extreme transparency of sapphire allows the eye an unequaled opportunity to virtually travel inside the movement and see the ingenious interactions in all their glory. Cutting a watchcase from a solid block of sapphire is an extremely difficult process. It takes long hours of machining, then polishing, to produce one. The BR-X1 CHRONOGRAPH TOURBILLON SAPPHIRE case is cut from 9 blocks of sapphire: middle piece, back, top, crystal and the four bumpers and is assembled with screws. The complexity of the case construction is a challenge to technical mastery and makes it an exceptional and striking timepiece.