Both in Formula 1 and watchmaking, the goal of the engineers and designers can be summarised in one key phrase: to constantly push mechanical engineering to its limits. Connected by the values of high precision and excellence, the partnership between Bell & Ross and Renault Sport Formula One Team is a continuous source of inspiration and motivation for both.
This year, Bell & Ross reinforces its partnership with Renault Sport Formula One Team by unveiling three new R.S.18 limited edition chronographs inspired by the new Renault single-seat race car, namely the BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph R.S.18, BR-X1 Chronograph R.S.18 and BR03-94 R.S.18. 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.
INSPIRED BY THE CHASSIS
In 2016, to mark the first year of partnership with Renault Sport Formula One Team, Bell & Ross unveiled two watches in Renault’s iconic colors, the black and yellow of the French team. The following year, Bell & Ross presented three models boasting a technically accomplished design inspired by the steering wheel of a single-seat racecar with subtle references to aircraft cockpits, the true stylistic DNA of the Paris-based watch firm.
This year, it is revisiting one of the key components of a Formula 1 car: the chassis. Forming the structure of the car, the chassis supports all its elements, from the engine to the bodywork. It must be extremely light and exceptionally rigid. A closely guarded secret, its complex architecture is carefully engineered to marry these two seemingly contradictory qualities. 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.
The cases have been engineered from perforated microblasted titanium, lending them an understated, not to mention decidedly modern, matt look. This material is well known for its lightness and rigidity. The chronographs are activated with rocker pushers on the three R.S.18 models evoking the paddles on a Formula 1 steering wheel. These rockers, already present in BR-X1 models, 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 black perforated rubber strap has been developed for the three R.S.18 chronographs. This strap offers unrivalled comfort on the wrist thanks to its unique ergonomics and its high level of breathability.
BR03-94 R.S.18 – Limited Edition of 999 Pieces
Featuring a perforated, microblasted 42mm titanium case, BR03-94 R.S.18 boasts all the hallmarks of a sports watch, including a dial made from carbon fibre, a material that is highly prized 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 calibre, the BR03-94 R.S.18 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 BR03 model, the chronograph pushers use a rocker design in a nod to the gear change paddles on Formula 1 cars. On the Bell & Ross BR03-94 R.S.18, they have been crafted from red anodized aluminium, another subtle tribute to the iconic colour of the motor racing world.
BR-X1 CHRONOGRAPH R.S.18 – Limited Edition of 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 for 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 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 45mm case at 9 o’clock.
BR-X1 TOURBILLON CHRONOGRAPH R.S.18 – Limited Edition of 20 Pieces
The masterpiece of this series, the BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph R.S.18 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. Equipped with a “flying” tourbillon 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 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 Super-LumiNova on the hands and indexes. 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 45mm case at 9 o’clock.