Despite having been associated for the longest time with mostly military and aviation themed watches, lately Bell & Ross have ventured more and more into new territories. Their latest unique offering comes in the form of a see-thru piece; introducing the “Bell & Ross Tourbillon Skeleton Sapphire”.
It was just last year that the Italian based horology brand marveled many horology enthusiasts with their stunning all “visible” timepiece. Almost completely crafted from sapphire the “Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro Rotor” (Ref#: BRX2-MRTB-ST) was a ground-breaking achievement, set to inspire future horology endeavors. It was released in a limited edition of only 99 manufactured pieces, which we reviewed and you can read more about here.
Now this latest Bell & Ross creation has returned to that same concept and given it a spin, taking it one step further. After mastering the art of cutting, crafting and polishing such a brittle material, as sapphire is. This is their third addition to the Bell & Ross sapphire series, officially designated as the “BR-X Experimental” collection, which began with a half-million dollar “BR-X1” (BR-X1) that we also reviewed here; followed by the aforementioned extra-flat “Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro Rotor” and now this current follow-up “Bell & Ross Tourbillon Skeleton Sapphire” which is a hybrid of the previous two editions.
The 45mm case is made and assembled from five very delicately and precisely carved sapphire blocks. A great quality from the use of sapphire besides its aesthetic allure, is due to the almost complete scratch-proof quality of this material.
It had never been a go-to option for most horology brands due to its extreme hardness and difficulty to craft anything other than basic shapes. But, Bell & Ross have figured out how to apply recent technological advancements to their advantage and successfully bring such a piece to market.
But, they aren’t the only ones experimenting and introducing sapphire into the watch business. Another brand that comes to mind is Hublot, notorious for crafting interesting and sometimes gorgeous timepieces out of all kinds of material, from Berluti leather to denim to their patent “magic gold”. Last year they also unveiled their “Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire” limited edition of only 500 manufactured pieces, which we also reviewed here.
Despite the sapphire material this watch still preserves the Bell & Ross signature design of a square, attached by a screw at each of the four corners. While time of this Bell & Ross sapphire piece is displayed on a skeleton dial off-set to the upper portion of the watch, in the 12 o’clock zone with hour index markers;
while the lower portion of the watch showcases its tourbillon movement with the Bell & Ross ampersand logo in its midst. All topped off by a sapphire crystal, which also assists with water-resistance reaching up to 50 meters (164 feet).
Unlike the previous watches in the Bell & Ross “Experimental” collection, that spread out throughout the whole dial area, similar to the standard watches they produce. Here they shrunk the off-set time dial and left half of the dial area with negative space, highlighting the presence of the flying tourbillon’s movement. This may not have been the best option in terms of telling time off it at a glance. But, the existing small hands and hour index markers have all undergone a luminescent coating, for an enhanced legibility.
Bell & Ross Tourbillon Skeleton Sapphire
This “Bell & Ross Tourbillon Skeleton Sapphire” (Ref#: BRX1-SKTB-SAPHIR) is powered by a hand-wound mechanical tourbillon movement caliber BR-CAL.288 with 20 jewels and 21,600 vph. Power reserve on this timepiece can last up to 100 hours, when fully wound. Although the case is completely transparent, the movement and the screws are visible from every possible angle.
Mounted to the watch is a translucent rubber strap, secured to the wrist by a satin-polished pin buckle. This a limited edition watch with only 8 manufactured pieces. For more up to date information visit the official Bell & Ross website here.
MSRP: $385.000.00 USD
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