Speed and innovation go hand in hand, making successful partnerships between watchmakers and motorsports almost a given.
Such is the case with Bell & Ross, who are celebrating a third year of partnership with the Renault Sport Formula One Team, a collaboration that has previously seen the production of several high-performance watches for the drivers as well as connoisseurs.
This year, Bell & Ross unveiled three new R.S.18 chronographs inspired by the new Renault single-seat racecar, demonstrating its bond with the world of Formula 1 through a partnership born from a shared passion for mechanical engineering, speed, performance and sports design.
Both brands continuously strive for excellence in speed and mechanical precision, using technology and innovation in style.
This series of three high-tech chronographs (BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph R.S.18; BR-X1 Chronograph R.S.18 and BR 03-94 R.S.18) was unveiled at Baselworld in March 2018.
Inherently sporty and sophisticated, these avant-garde timepieces push mechanical engineering, technical skill, and innovative watchmaking to their limits, following in the footsteps of the watches that came before them, which were primarily inspired by the steering wheel and colours of the Renault team.
This year, the brand is revisiting one of the key components of a Formula 1 car: the chassis, which supports all elements of the car’s structure, from the engine to the bodywork, a component that is essential in ensuring the car’s top performance.
A closely guarded secret, its complex architecture is carefully engineered to be extremely light and exceptionally rigid.
The case is to the watch what the chassis is to the car, and all three R.S.18 chronographs have been designed with a focus on high performance using materials with tried and tested features.
The main structures into which the engine (movement) and the bodywork (dial) are fitted have all the elements of racing style.
All three watches are mechanical chronographs – the king of functions in the world of motor racing, measuring short intervals of time, embodying the notion of speed.
Their cases have been engineered from perforated microblasted titanium, lending them an understated – and decidedly modern – matt look
This material is well known for its lightness and rigidity.
All three models’ chronographs are activated with rocker pushers evoking the paddles of a Formula 1 steering wheel, which have now been adapted for the BR-03.
Also featuring an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, these three chronographs are hard wearing and ensure optimum legibility in all situations, behind the wheel or around town. Acting as the watch’s bodywork, the three dials also contain nods to motor racing. The touches of colour for all the chronograph functions (Renault’s signature yellow) show clear allegiance to the distinctive and highly stylised aesthetic of the world of motor sports, racetracks and paddocks.
Lastly, a strap has been developed for this series of three R.S.18 chronographs. Made from black perforated rubber, this strap offers unrivalled comfort on the wrist thanks to its unique ergonomics and its high level of breathability.
In the Formula 1 and watchmaking universes, the goal of the engineers and designers can be summarised in one key phrase: to constantly push mechanical engineering to its limits.
Sharing the values of high precision and excellence, the partnership between Bell & Ross and the Renault Sport Formula One team is a continuous source of inspiration and motivation for both as they continue to push boundaries in innovation.
The new R.S.18 series embodies this pursuit of performance, integrating the very best from the top motor sports discipline: technology, mechanical expertise and materials. These exceptional timepieces take the quest for excellence and precision to its zenith.
Clearly this is an outstanding partnership that has resulted in groundbreaking watches!
BR 03-94 R.S.18
Featuring a perforated, microblasted titanium case, the BR03-94 R.S.18 chronograph has all the hallmarks of a sports watch, including a dial made from carbon fiber, a highly prized material in the world of high-end motor racing.
The combination of titanium and carbon ensures the piece is lightweight and hardwearing, robust and high performance. The gear train of the movement can be seen through the auxiliary counters for the chronograph function.
Driven by a self-winding Swiss mechanical caliber, the watch also features a tachymeter scale on its flange, enabling the speed of a vehicle over a given distance to be calculated immediately.
For the first time on a BR 03 model, the chronograph pushers use a rocker design in a nod to the gear change paddles on Formula 1 cars, crafted from red anodized aluminum, another subtle tribute to the iconic color of the motor racing world.The BR 03-94 is limited to 999 pieces.
BR-X1 Chronograph R.S.18
Limited to 250 pieces, the very essence of a racing driver’s watch, the BR-X1 Chronograph R.S.18 is the ultimate high-tech skeletonised chronograph, the indispensable instrument for measuring short race intervals.
A true haute horlogerie complication, the self-winding Swiss mechanical movement is skeletonised to lend it a unique and resolutely high-tech style. Its rocker pushers equipped with a yellow rubber insert underlines this.
Its 30-minute counter is highlighted with hints of red. In the same spirit, the typography of the “racing” style numerals and the yellow tachymeter scale sitting on the flange (to calculate the speed of a car over a given distance) immerse us immediately in the world of tracks and starting grids.
To ensure optimum ergonomics when using the chronometer functions, a yellow rubber thumb grip has been integrated into the case at 9 o’clock.
Lastly, to ensure optimum legibility, the slender hands and applique indexes have been filled with Superluminova®.
BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.18
Only 20 pieces of the masterpiece in this series were made, making the BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph R.S.18 watch a much sought-after collector’s item.
The watch is equipped with a highly complicated movement that combines the watchmaking pedigree of the flying tourbillon with the sporty sophistication of a single-pusher chronograph.
Reducing the effect of earth’s gravity on the mechanical movement, a tourbillon guarantees an extremely high level of rate precision, and this watch is equipped with a “flying” tourbillon, which means that its cage is secured to an axis, giving the impression that it is floating in space.
With its technical skill and hypnotic beauty, the flying tourbillon complication is a hallmark of high performance.
In yellow and red, the chronograph functions are immediately identifiable. This high level of legibility is enhanced by the addition of Superluminova on the hands and indexes to allow these to be read at night.
Thanks to its skeletonised dial, the BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph R.S.18 showcases the futuristic gear train of its high-tech motor. To ensure optimum ergonomics when using the functions, a yellow rubber thumb grip has been integrated into the case at 9 o’clock.