The BR-X1 chronograph by Bell & Ross looks exciting, with its dark interior workings providing the backdrop for glimmering steel hands and subdials, in the brand’s classic square-shaped case inspired by cockpit instruments. While the BR-01 launched about ten years ago, and the more recent BR-03, were very close to the classic pilot’s watch design, the BR-X1 is more futuristic and contemporary. Large at 45 mm in width, it is light, because of the case in titanium, and tough, with a peripheral protector in rubber and ceramic that safeguards the watch from impact. The protectors cleverly curve outwards to create the housing for the two red pushers, actually more rockers than pushers, on the right-hand side of the watch, also made from ceramic and rubber. What looks like another large pusher at 9 o’clock is in fact an ergonomic rubber grip that makes it easier to operate the chronograph pushers.
The watch glass is in grey-tinted mineral glass, to which are attached the hour indices with luminescent inserts. There is no dial, so you can see down to the movement, whose upper bridge, treated in black DLC (diamond-like carbon), has an X-shape, a reference to the watch’s name, in turn inspired by the Bell (no relation) X-1 experimental plane, the first to achieve manned supersonic flight in 1947. The date ring can be seen at the edge of the automatic movement, with the actual date framed in a window at 6 o’clock. The hour and minute hands are filled with SuperLuminova for visibility in the dark. There is a small continuous seconds subdial at 3 o’clock, and the other more obvious subdial for chronograph minutes is at 9 o’clock, with a four-spoked disc instead of a hand. The chronograph functions are labelled red. There is a tachymeter scale on the inside of the bezel. The caseback has a small sapphire window revealing the balance. The black rubber strap has braid trim, a reference to the woven canvas straps used by astronauts’ watches.
The watch is a limited edition of 250 pieces, each costing €15,000. See more at http://www.bellross.com/
Below, the caseback with small sapphire window positioned over the balance:
Movement and date ring:
Exploded view of the case, showing the construction of the rocker-pushers:
Below, the rubber strap with steel buckle, and black rubber insert: