Since its foundation in 1994, Bell & Ross has helped fighter pilots keep time. Over the years, the brand has become a leading benchmark in the world of aviation. In February 2016, in its permanent quest for new universes to explore, Bell & Ross made its first foray into the racetracks by joining the highly exclusive world of Formula 1 and becoming the official watch partner of the Renault Sport Formula One Team. The prestigious world of motor sport shares many similarities with aviation, Bell & Ross’ first love. In both fields, engineers seek extreme performance, speed and mechanical accuracy.
The collaboration with the French F1 team led to a first collection of watches named BR X1 RS16, in reference to the car unveiled that year. In 2017, Bell & Ross is strengthening its partnership by releasing a series of three new high-performance watches inspired by the steering wheel of the new Renault RS 17 F1 car:
- BR 03-94 RS17
- BR X1 RS17 Skeleton Chronograph
- BR X1 RS17 Tourbillon Chronograph
The design and color codes of these high-tech timepieces allow the time to be read quickly and accurately. The principle evokes that of an F1 steering wheel, on which each piece of information is paired with a different color. This enables the driver to recognize them instantly, without any risk of error. The materials used – Carbone Forgé®, titanium or ceramic – are identical to those used in Grand-Prix racing cars.
CHRONOGRAPHS DESIGNED LIKE AN F1 ENGINE
Designed for racing drivers, the new Bell & Ross BR-RS17 collection is made up of truly exceptional watches. Their design, inspired by Formula 1, brings together the latest technological advances and the most innovative materials used in the racing world. These quintessential sports timepieces also take the lead in terms of legibility and finishes. This series includes only chronograph models. This complication was invented to measure short periods of time and is considered the most important one in the race world, since it enables the performance of the vehicles on the track to be measured with great accuracy, turning these timepieces into indispensable tools for drivers and timekeepers. They have long since become a key instrument in cockpits, circuits and paddocks. Their mechanism is complex. It often requires a third more components than a conventional watch caliber. Highly sophisticated, their movements are similar to those of highpowered engines, the gems of technology that propel racing cars to incredible speeds.
FROM THE WHEEL TO THE WRIST
The new Bell & Ross BR-RS17 collection features a wide range of color shades. These vivid hues are found on the steering wheel of the Renault F1 single-seater. For example, the flange on the two BR X1 chronographs features the same shimmering tones as the dial wheel at the center of the F1 RS17 steering wheel. These complementary primary colors, rarely used in high-end watches, allow functions to be identified and prioritized. The time, chronograph, date, seconds and power reserve (where applicable) have each their own color. This ensures the display is exceptionally clear and easy to decipher, and read reliably at a glance. On the three watches, the elements relating to the chronograph complication are partially coated in “Renault” yellow. Ever since the French constructor entered F1 in 1977, its single-seaters have sported this shade.
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING TAKEN TO THE EXTREME
Aviation and motor racing have many points in common: bothrely on innovative materials, just as the latest Bell & Ross’collection. The case of the BR X1 is made of Carbone Forgé® and the dial of the BR 03-94 is crafted of carbon fiber, both of the models being inspired on the steering wheel of the Renault F1 RS17. This lightweight and highly resilient composite material is used in aircraft fuselages and in bodies of racing cars. It is perfectly suited for the structural components subject to extreme mechanical stress. The engineers at Bell & Ross have reworked this material in order to meet the quality criteria of watchmaking. They redesigned its fibers, the resin that holds them in place, and the tooling needed to create its finish. The results are perfectly watertight cases for the X1 models of impeccable quality. Both the aviation and automotive industries use ceramic, which is mostly used in the brakes of racing cars because it does not heat easily. The case of the BR 03 is made from this very hard material used to create components that are resistant to high temperatures. Racing car tires are made from rubber. This material, with a very powerful grip, is used on the rim of the case and the push buttons of the BR X1 ensuring an excellent handling of the timekeeping function and a greater accuracy. The straps are also made from innovative materials. On the BR X1, rubber is paired with carbon fiber for a very sporty look.
LIMITED EDITION OF 500 PIECES
This timepiece features a ceramic case designed to withstand shock and a sporty carbon fiber dial that makes it exceptionally well suited to the motor racing world. This lightweight, resilient material evokes the steering wheel of the Renault F1 car. The Start & Stop push-button of the chronograph features yellow anodized aluminum. This iconic color has been used since Renault first entered Formula 1. It is also found on the internal bezel that features a tachymeter scale used to calculate the speed of a car: an indispensable function for a racing driver’s watch.