French watchmaker Bell & Ross has just launched the BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Sapphire. It is the first watch in the brand’s portfolio to have a sapphire crystal case, and is based on the limited edition BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon that was launched in 2015.
Six blocks of sapphire are cut to create the components required to form the 45mm case, which is comprised of the main case (middle), caseback, bezel, crystal (over dial), and two bumpers. The components are held together by horizontal and vertical screws, which can be seen if you look closely at the pictures in this article. Of course cutting the components is just the start of the process, the parts then have to be machined and polished.
The process is long and painstaking but the advantage is that the owner has an unobstructed view of the inner workings of the timepiece (ref. BRX1-CHTB-SAPHIR). Speaking of which, the BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire is powered by the BR-CAL.285 hand-wound calibre. The calibre is made up of 282 components, and offers time, chronograph, tourbillon and power reserve complications.
The movement is not new, neither is it unique to the BR-X1 – it was most recently seen in the limited edition Bell & Ross Instrument De Marine. That said, it is still noteworthy because it is a monopusher column wheel chronograph, and Bell & Ross says it offers at least 96-hours of power reserve.
Since the BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Sapphire also packs a skeleton dial, the wearer can peer into the calibre and see its individual components. The dial has metal appliqué inexes with superluminova inserts, and there’s also superluminova material in the hours and minute hands.
Bell & Ross is only producing five of these watches, and each is presented on a translucent rubber strap with an inlay of metallic finish woven Kevlar. The watch carries a retail price of approximately US $495,000.
Read more about Bell & Ross by clicking here.