Bell & Ross is making another bold addition to its futuristic “Experimental” collection this year. Just announced, the new BR-X2 Skeleton Tourbillon Micro-Rotor is the evolution of the BR-X2 Tourbillon introduced last year. Stripped back to the absolute essentials, this ultra-modern watch takes the challenge of transparency to the extreme, offering crystal clear insight into the company’s interpretation of contemporary Haute Horlogerie.
If the BR-X2 Skeleton Tourbillon Micro-Rotor looks familiar, that’s because it builds directly on the foundation BR-X2 Tourbillon. The case and the movement are the same, yet it is immediately apparent that Bell & Ross has achieved new extremes of transparency with the design and construction.
The underlying idea is to give the wearer the impression that they are wearing the movement directly on their wrist. As such, the 42mm polished steel case is barely more than a narrow band of polished steel, machined as a single piece, and set between two sapphire crystal plates. Polished, bevelled sides and clear gaskets ensure the case is as invisible as possible on the wrist. Four functional screws hold everything in place in the distinct B&R style and allow for a surprisingly good water-resistance rating of 50m. It looks superb in the photos, although it may not be well-suited to those with particularly hairy wrists.
As mentioned though, the primary focus here is the movement. Developed in partnership with MHC Manufacture Haute Complication, a Geneva-based movement-designer, the manufacture calibre BR-CAL.381 measures just 4.05mm thick. In keeping with the theme of extreme transparency, the bridges have been openworked to reveal as much as possible of the inner workings.
The decoration of the movement is relatively understated but still quite attractive. The openworked bridges are vertically brushed, the bevels are sandblasted and the wheels are rhodium-plated. The tourbillon and its cage are also brushed on top and polished on edges, with the stylised “&” of Bell & Ross integrated into the cage. The overall look is very sculptural and artistic but at the same retains an almost industrial-type aesthetic, very much in keeping with the underlying ethos of the brand.
There is no real dial to speak of. Instead, a circular flange made from sapphire with integrated indices sits on top of what’s left of the mainplate of the movement. This gives the impression that the indices are floating above the movement and looks super cool. Time is displayed centrally (hours and minutes), while small seconds are tracked on the one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock. Visible at 9 o’clock is the micro-rotor made from a dense tungsten alloy. The movement offers a healthy power reserve of 50 hours when fully wound.
Offered in a limited edition of just 50 pieces, the new BR-X2 Skeleton Tourbillon Micro-Rotor will retail for EUR 69,000. More details on the Bell & Ross website here.