Always ahead of its time, Bell & Ross continues to innovate this time with the launch of the new Bell & Ross BR-X1 Carbone Forgé —Forged Carbon— limited edition ref. BRX1-CE-CF-BLACK. This new sporty chronograph in a limited edition of 250 pieces, follows the exciting launch of the BR-X1 Skeleton Chronograph last year. Fitted with a stunning 45 mm forged carbon case only comparable with the forged carbon used by Audemars Piguet but with slightly more marbling —we heard through the grapevine that the French aeronautics company that worked with AP is now involved with Bell & Ross—, the new BR-X1 Carbone Forgé is simply our favorite Bell & Ross watch to date. With its revolutionary design and directly inspired by on-board flight instruments the BR-X1 line is a tribute to the Bell X-1 —the first American experimental rocket plane to break the sound barrier in 1947.
The square case of the BR-X1 is covered with a high-tech band made from ceramic and rubber. It is designed as a cover around the edges, acting as a defensive shield that protects it from possible impacts. Its innovative rocker push buttons are used to activate the chronograph functions; these push-buttons are also made from high-tech ceramic with ergonomically-designed rubber inserts. The objective, to make them as solid and easy to grip as possible. A rubber button grip insert is also built into the case at 9 o’clock, to make it easier to activate the chronograph functions, even when wearing gloves. One of the main differences —besides the obvious different case material— between the BR-X1 Carbon Forgé and its predecessor the BR-X1 Skeleton Chronograph, is that the rubber inserts on the push buttons and the case are black instead of red.
The BR-X1 features the perfect combination of materials and qualities —forged carbon, titanium, ceramic and rubber— which make it extremely light, virtually scratch-proof and ergonomic. With its sporty appeal and complex design, its case features functional non-indexed screws. The sapphire glass has an anti-glare coating to ensure perfect legibility in all circumstances. Revolutionary and ultra-masculine, the design of this latest generation case, using a combination of materials makes the possibilities endless.
The dial just like on its predecessor, combines haute horlogerie finishes and skeletonization. Structured in the shape of an "X", its upper bridge —treated with black DLC— reads like a mark of its identity. "X", is the code name that refers to NASA’s experimental projects, and which gives the watch its name: the BR-X1. Made from grey-tinted mineral glass and featuring appliqué metal indices with photo-luminescent inserts, the dial forms a clear window through which the movement can be admired. The sophisticated, superluminova®-filled hands offer perfect legibility. The central hour and minute hands are read traditionally, while the small seconds hand is positioned at 3 o’clock. The skeleton date dial is positioned at 6 o’clock. The minute timer on the chronograph function is positioned at 9 o’clock; instead of a hand, it features an ultra light aluminum disc resembling the blades of a turbine. Essential for calculating speeds, the tachometer scale appears on the ring; each chronograph function is marked with a subtle touch of red.
As is the tradition at Bell & Ross, the back of the BR-X1 —made from grade 5 titanium— features a small, round opening which reveals the beating heart of the balance. At the right angle, one can appreciate the Bell & Ross ampersand logogram —symbol— on said crystal. The automatic movement —not in-house— is the BR-CAL.313 with ’X’-shaped upper bridge and 56 jewels.
Made from rubber, the black strap is decorated with a braid, which echoes the woven canvas straps used by astronauts, the modern adventurers in space. Made from black PVD steel and featuring a molded black rubber insert, the buckle is both robust and refined. It is fixed to the strap using a pin and two hex-head screws. The watch is water resistant to a depth of 100 meters.
The perfect synthesis of Bell & Ross’ expertise in creating professional greatly complex watches, the BR-X1 Carbone Forgé Limited Edition is an exceptional instrument with an innovative and modern design. On the wrist, the new BR-X1 Forged Carbon wears true to its size and light like a feather. While its wrist presence is up to par with other pioneering forged carbon watches, its price is a tad hefty when compared to other forged carbon watches that do come with in-house movements. Regardless, this watch is absolutely stunning and a winner in our book.
Sticker Price $23,000 USD. For more info on Bell & Ross click here.