Last year, in 2016, we announced to you a new partnership between Parisian brand Bell & Ross and Formula One Team Renault Sport – a partnership that we didn’t expected at first but that CEO Carlos Rosillo explained to us in details, just to avoid any confusions. Indeed, the brand was usually focused on military and aviation timepieces but this move to F1 and sports cars certainly opens new horizons. Talking novelties, and while the 2017 F1 season will soon begin, Bell & Ross just revealed their new Renault Sport F1 collaboration piece, the BR03-94 RS17 Chronograph, the new flagship of this race-oriented line of watches.
The new Renault Sport F1 Team R.S.17, with the typical Yellow / Black livery
While Renault Sport Formula One Team was hosting a press conference event to launch their new R.S.17 racing car – because, yes, the 2017 F1 season will start soon – Bell & Ross benefited from this occasion to launch their new collaboration piece, which marks the second year of partnership between the watchmaker and the F1 team. What we have is a new chronograph, sporty, colorful and bold, and using high-tech materials. This Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 is everything that you could expect from a race-car oriented watch and, good news for the F1 aficionado, it will be part of a trilogy launching later this year at Baselworld. After the complex BR-X1 RS16, available in skeleton chronograph or even with a tourbillon chronograph movement, Bell & Ross comes back to more accessible pieces, which could easily please more collectors.
New Formula 1 season, new car, new livery, new pilot (Nico Hulkenberg, joining Jolyon Palmer), and, more in line with our books, a new watch. Yet, the recipe remains the same as the 2016 editions, especially in terms of style. The new Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 uses the color codes of the Renault F1 livery, meaning a mainly dark scheme, enlightened with bright yellow accents. The comparison with the F1 car is not only on the visual side, but also on technical aspects. First, the BR03-94 RS17 is a chronograph, which seems to be the most relevant option for a race-car-oriented piece. Then, it uses high-tech materials, for the case and the dial (again, the link with F1 must be undeniable).
The Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 Renault Sport F1 is based on the “03” case, meaning the smaller version of the “round within a square” iconic case design – and, at 42mm across, it remains already a large watch, large enough for a robust wrist presence. The 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. Traditional to the brand, it is secured to the wrist by a black rubber strap, textured and matching the case in terms of color and grain.
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 (no use of the usual sandwich pilot dial and pilot numerals). The layout is classical and efficient: central hours and minutes, small second at 3, 30-minute counter at 9 and date at 4h30, circled by a red rim. Sporty, bold and colorful but not exaggerated.
Inside the case is calibre BR-CAL.301 (an automatic chronograph movement, based on a 2894 architecture), a movement that will perfectly do the job and will be reliable over the years. The Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 is water resistant to 100m. 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.
Specifications of the Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 Renault Sport F1
- Case: 42mm x 42mm Squared case – matte black ceramic – sapphire crystal on the dial side – plain ceramic back – 100m water resistant
- Movement: calibre BR-CAL.301 – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 42 hours power reserve – hours, minutes, small second, chronograph, date
- Strap: black rubber strap on black PVD coated steel pin buckle, additional ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric strap
- Ref: BR 03-94 R.S.17