Exotic supercar manufacturers aren’t the only ones teaming up with watchmakers to produce automotive-inspired timepieces. So too are Formula 1 teams like Renault, which has partnered with Bell & Ross for a line of three new timepieces. And they’re sure to entice racing fans with a penchant (and budget) for high-end watches.
The new RS18 chronographs are supposed to draw on the two firms’ “shared passion for mechanical engineering, speed, performance and sports design.” Revealed last month at Baselworld, the watches draw their inspiration from the high-tech steering wheels in Renault’s latest grand prix racer and celebrate the watchmaker’s sponsorship of the French F1 outfit.
At the top of the range is the BR-X1 Tourbillon that incorporates the most sophisticated and highly sought-after of timekeeping mechanisms. The hand-wound flying tourbillon features a single push-button to operate the chronograph lap-timing function. The 35-jewel BR-CAL.283 mechanism is made up of 282 components oscillating at 21,600 vibrations per hour and has a four-day power reserve. It also comes with an eye-watering €165,000 price tag that, depending on where you stand, is either way too much or justifiable for something with an elaborate tourbillon movement.
The BR-X1 Chronograph, on the other hand, also features a skeleton dial to showcase the movement which, in this case, it’s an automatic self-winding chronograph. Powered by the watchmaker’s 56-jewel BR-CAL.313 movement, it’s capable of 28,800 vph and commands a much more reasonable €18,900 asking price.
They two BR-X1 pieces are joined by the significantly more affordable, €5,900 BR 03-94 that employs the BR-CAL.301 automatic movement behind a carbon-fiber dial.
Each model is encased in microblasted titanium and comes with a black perforated rubber strap. They boast 100 meters (10 atmosphere or 330 feet) of water resistance and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal and feature black and yellow color schemes, with red accents thrown in for good measure.
While the BR-X1 models measure 45 millimeters, the BR 03-94 measures a smaller 42 mm. Bell & Ross will only make 20 examples of the BR-X1 tourbillon, 250 of the BR-X1 chronograph and 999 of the BR 03-94.