As first seen earlier this year at Baselworld, the new Bell & Ross BR-X1 HyperStellar joins the broader “BR-X1” family that Bell & Ross announced in late 2014 as a more robust, extreme version of its signature BR-01 square case collection. The BR-X1 models have a more robust, technical and sportier look than the BR-01’s. Overall, I would say Bell & Ross has developed a nice set of pieces in the BR-X1 collection, though I think the prices do run steep. The BR-X1 Hyperstellar chronograph with stands out thanks to a few design elements which I’ll explore in more detail below.
Bell & Ross BR-X1 Hyperstellar
Limited edition 250 pieces
45mm titanium + aluminum case, bi-material alligator + grey rubber strap
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock; Skeleton date at 6 o’clock. Chronograph: 30-min timer at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds
First is the case: a combination 45mm titanium + aluminium case. The case core is micro-blasted grade 5 titanium, as are the multiple peripheral components including rocker-style chrono pushers which beef up the case; a the thin bezel ring is in blue anodised aluminium, complementing similar attributes on the dial. While the dial has a nice technical look and feel to it, the skeleton date ring with current date at 6 o’clock is rather challenging to read depending on the angle of view.
The automatic mechanical BR-CAL.313 is skeletonized with X-shaped upper bridge and is done exclusively for B&R by Dubois-Depraz. Primary visibility is through the grey-tinted sapphire crystal on the dial-side; there is a small porthole on the caseback. It is modestly finished, with blackened bridges, circular graining on the main plate, striping on the chronograph bridges, sandblasted and DLC coated levers.
I grant that it is a unique and nice looking watch. But I find the retail price of $19,900 very tough to swallow.