Recently, Bell & Ross announced the renewal of their partnership with Renault Sport F1 – that CEO Carlos Rosillo explained to us in details – by introducing a new watch, the BR03-94 RS17 Chronograph. In order to capitalize on this new race-car line of watches, something that was, at first, not the territories we imagined for the brand (more used to military and aviation pieces), Baselworld 2017 will see the launch of a entire collection, the Bell & Ross BR-RS17 Trilogy – 3 watches entirely dedicated to the Renault Sport F1 theme.
While keeping track of the roots of the Parisian brand, with the iconic round-dial-within-a-square-case concept being used again, these new Formula 1 oriented BR-RS17 pieces adds some specific touches to fit within the racing theme, at all stages: materials, functions, design details, colors… Everything recalls B&R watches, just with a new and rather cool taste. This has already been used in 2016, with the first collection of watches made in partnership with Renault Sport Formula 1. Yet, this new BR-RS17 trilogy goes in two directions: more affordable in one way, bolder and even more complex in the other way.
Of course, being designed for racing drivers, this new BR-RS17 trilogy only comprises chronographs: one classical automatic, one rather extreme skeletonized automatic and one high-end tourbillon skeletonized version. This complication was invented to measure short periods of time and is considered the most important one in the race world, since it enables to measure the performance of the vehicles on the track, turning these timepieces into indispensable tools for drivers and timekeepers. They have long since become a key instrument in cockpits, circuits and paddocks.
Compared to the 2016 collection, which was mainly inspired by the livery of the Renault F1 cars (yellow and black), the new BR-RS17 trilogy takes inspiration in a specific and crucial part of the race-cars, the steering wheel of the new Renault RS17 F1 car to precise. This highly complex part of the car comprises dozens of push-pieces and buttons, and in order to make sure that the driver recognizes them instantly, without any risk of error, each piece of information is paired with a different color. The concept behind the BR-RS17 trilogy was to integrated this legibility concept to the dial, creating both bold and easily readable watches. Of course, on the three watches, the elements relating to the chronograph function are partially coated in “Renault” yellow. Ever since the French constructor entered F1 in 1977, its single-seaters have sported this shade.
The Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 Chronograph
The first one of the 3 watches has already been introduced here. Yet, it might be the most important of the collection, as being the most accessible. What we’re talking about is an automatic chronograph, based on the BR03 case (a reasonable 42mm x 42mm square), using high-tech materials all over. The Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 Renault Sport F1 is based on a matte black case, with typical screws on each corner, is manufactured in ceramic (lightweight, resistant, scratch-proof), with two rectangular pushers on the right side – one in yellow and one in black.
The dial of this Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 Renault Sport F1 is the main evolution compared to the aviation-oriented pieces. Dressed in black with yellow accents all over (hands, tachymeter scale, sub-counter rim), the main plate of the dial is made out of carbon fiber, to recall the material widely used in F1 cars. Also new are the applied and luminous Arabic numerals, then again, more in line with the racing vocation of this watch. Sporty, bold and actually a quite cool move from the brand, which managed to mix the military case with racing features.
Inside the case is calibre BR-CAL.301, an automatic chronograph movement. Alongside the rubber strap, the watch will also be delivered with an ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric strap. It will be a limited edition of 500 pieces, priced at 5,600 Euro (retail price). Available soon at retailers and on Bell & Ross webshop. Mored details on the dedicated website here.
The Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS17 (Skeleton Chronograph)
Second watch of this trilogy is an impressive chronograph, based on the already known BR-X1, the bold, highly masculine watch showed here. Thanks to the modular contraction of its case, this watch is now updated in a ‘very racing’ version. The 45mm x 45mm case is now made in forged carbon and integrates yellow part, to recall the Renault Sport F1 cars. Lightweight and hyper-solid, just like the cars too… The “rocker” type push buttons activate the chronograph function with great accuracy. They are made from high-tech ceramic and capped with yellow rubber for an improved grip. The putter bezel features an engraved tachymeter scale, new to the model, again perfectly in line with the vocation of this watch.
The face of the watch also greatly evolves, with the integration of that “steering wheel” inspiration. The dial flange is split into several hour segments, each of which has a corresponding color. This color segmentation makes the measured time easier to read. The chronograph hands are yellow, the date is red, the small seconds hand is green and the hour hand, white. Not very subtle, but this is clearly not the goal of this Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS17. The dial, made in tinted sapphire, let the movement appear.
Inside the case is an automatic skeletonized chronograph, with a rather pleasant finishing. The Bell & Ross BR-X1 RS17 is fitted with a specific strap, where rubber is paired with carbon fiber for a very sporty look. Availability and price to be confirmed during Baselworld 2017.
The Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon RS17
Last but not least, the high-end version of the trilogy, based on a watch we already explored: the BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Monopusher. This movement is very impressive. It combines a one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 with a mono-pusher column-wheel chronograph. The best comes from the architecture of this movement, which allows a close view with all the parts of the chronograph function through the sapphire dial – column-wheel at 12, the two sub-dials at 10 and 2, all the levers, springs and gears to make this complication run.
The chronograph function is activated by a paddle-style mono-pusher positioned to the right of the case. This case, like the one of the BR-X1, is made in forged carbon and shows again a black / yellow color scheme. We find again the inner flange divided into hour segments, each of which has a corresponding color. On the bezel, a 12-hour scale is engraved. The timer indications are red and yellow. The 4-day power reserve is shown in green, and white hands coated in SuperLuminova indicate the time. Again may colors are showed but the overall layout actually works perfectly.
The Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon RS17 is also fitted with a rubber and carbon fiber strap. Availability and price to be confirmed during Baselworld 2017.
More details about the Bell & Ross BR-RS17 Trilogy on the dedicated website here.