Baselworld 2016: Presenting the new Bell & Ross BR-X1 Hyperstellar Skeleton Chronograph. Hands-on Review, Live Pictures & Pricing.

As tough as a rocket, the new Bell & Ross BR-X1 HyperStellar Skeleton Chronograph ref. BRX1-AL-TI-BLU presented at Baselworld 2016, stands out thanks to the innovative design of its 45 mm case made from titanium and aluminum. While the main case construction is made of polished and micro-blasted grade 5 titanium, the bezel’s protective insert is in blue anodized aluminum, to combine lightness and strength. To protect it from impacts during missions, the square case of the BR-X1 is covered with a bumper in micro-blasted titanium and rubber that acts as a peripheral protective shell. A rubber grip function has also been integrated into the case to ensure better handling when activating the chronograph’s functions, even when wearing gloves. Finally, the predominance of stone grey and electric blue —in particular for the short time measurement functions— is a subtle reference to two colors closely associated with space exploration: the grey of the moon and the blue of the Earth.

Combining Haute Horlogerie finishes with extreme lightness, the dial of the new Bell & Ross Hyperstellar skeleton chronograph features a grey-tinted sapphire crystal with blue aluminum tachymetric flange, blue aluminum applied ring for the 30-minute chrono register with aluminum disc resembling the blades of a turbine at 9 o'clock, a date aperture at 6, applied faceted markers and skeletonized hands with superluminova. Structured in the shape of an 'X', the upper bridge of the movement —visible through the sapphire dial— is treated with black DLC. “X” is the code name that refers to NASA’s experimental projects, and which gives the watch its name, BR-X1.

The case back of the new Bell & Ross BR-X1 HyperStellar is made from grade 5 titanium and like a planetary observation porthole, it features a small circular opening through which the beating heart of the balance can be seen. Powering the BR-X1 HyperStellar is a generic 56-jewel 28,800 vph automatic 30-minute chronograph movement. Very surprising that at this price point, Bell & Ross has still not developed an in-house movement to equip their higher end models. The watch is limited to 250 pieces and the limitation numbers are engraved on the case back.

With its complex and sporty design, the case of the BR-X1 HyperStellar, which is water resistant to 100 meters, is secured with functional, on-indexed screws and opens from the back.

The sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating ensures optimal readability. Combining strength and refinement, the bi-material strap is made from rubber and alligator leather, featuring a steel buckle with an extremely robust overmoulded rubber insert.

On the wrist, the new Bell & Ross BR-X1 Hyperstellar Skeleton Chronograph wears true to its size and light like a feather. While its wrist presence is up to par with other Bell & Ross square-shaped watches, the blue aluminum bezel and grey rubber insert on the case and pushers really stand out making it ultra sporty and spatial looking. Mission accomplished Bell & Ross.

Sticker Price $19,900 USD. For more info on Bell & Ross click here.