In order to celebrate its collaboration with the French Formula One team, Renault, Bell & Ross has issued appropriate limited edition watches with accents in the color of the racing team. Among these timekeepers, a special place is reserved for BR-X1 RS Tourbillon model. It is a model which includes a column-wheel mono-pusher chronograph whose components can be seen through a transparent dial. Apart from having a chronograph complication, the supported hand-wound movement of the piece with a hefty power storage likewise features a flying tourbillion whose cage can be seen on the bottom of the dial. The watch is packed in a livery made from the combination of titanium and high-tech materials like Carbone Forge, which takes the central stage due to its distinctive looks. Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS 16 Tourbillon is made in just 20 copies and it will be sold solely at selected Formula One Grand Prix.
Bell & Ross is the official timekeeper of the Renault Formula One racing team (otherwise known as Renault Sports) so it comes as no surprise that the brand opted to make special restricted issues that will emphasize that trait. During the Chinese Gran Prix in Shanghai which took place mid April, a pair of special limited editions was presented to the public for the first time. Both watches feature “RS 16” in its name, which refers to the name of the new formula model that Renault is using. Moreover, both of these watches feature distinctive yellow accents that are seen on the new vehicles of the team.
BR-X1 RS Tourbillon is scarcer (the other model is made in 250 copies), as well as more technically advanced of two limited editions since it is equipped with a flying tourbillon, in addition to the chronograph feature which is featured in both of the pieces.
The novelty is based on the watches from the BR-X1 collection which was released last fall and it has the same type of movement as these watches. The movement is question is called BR-Caliber 283 and by some reports it was specially made for the brand by Akrivia. It is a hand-wound mechanical movement with a column-wheel chronograph whose components can be seen on the dial side (which means it required specific architecture and that it is not a modular movement where additional complications can be added to the previously existing base). All the operations of its stop watch feature are activated with a single push-piece, which makes it a mono-pussoir chronograph.
BR-Cal 283 is comprised of 282 components altogether and it integrates 35 jewels in its construction. It operates at the frequency of 21,600 vph and it possesses a flying tourbilon whose suspended cage can be seen on the bottom of the dial. The cage features a distinctive ampersand symbol which can be seen on all of the brand’s tourbillion pieces. The movement features the power reserve of 100 hours which is indicated at the nine o’clock position.
All of the indications are shown on a dial which is made of grey-tinted sapphire in order to enable the view on the components of the movement. The dial also includes applied bar-shaped metal indices and skeleton hour and minute central hands. Both indices and hands are treated with superluminova coating. Unfortunately, the watch does not have a central seconds hand. The seconds of its chrono feature are shown in one of two sub-counters (the other one is for 30-minutes).
As it has been mentioned, the watch is placed in a housing of modern structure made out of three different materials, which makes it very light and extremely resilient. It mixes ceramic and grade 5 titanium with Carbone Forge. The last of the materials is made after a special process where carbon fibers are compressed into a resin at an extreme temperature. The compressing in the steel mold results with a black material with unique decorative patterns which are caused with a random placement of fibers, thus making each of the cases unique. The material then receives a matte finish as the final touch.
The case is square shaped and has the diameter of 45 mm. Its circular fixed bezel surrounds the crystal made of glare-proofed sapphire which is likewise used for the case-back. The entire construction is waterproof to 100 meters.
As for the wristlet, Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS 16 Tourbillon is coupled with two types of straps. The former is made of woven rubber, while the other one is made of mixture of rubber and carbon fiber. In both cases, the buckle is made in black PVD treated steel with a rubber insert in black color.
BR-X1 RS 16 Tourbillon watch, along with its pair from the other limited edition dedicated to the Renault Formula One racing team, will be offered solely at selected Grand Prix events. Its official price is not disclosed publicly. However, some reference to the price of the piece can be seen from previous similar limited editions made with different case materials. The model with the same movement in titanium housing was valued at around $157,000, while the red gold issue had the price tag of about $180,500.