Bell & Ross’ love for flight and pilot’s watches needs no introduction anymore. Since its establishment, the brand has had a clear focus on military watches made for activity and has assembled its name in the instrument watch field. However, brands need to advance and explore territories outside their comfort zone. Constantly seeking new universes to colonize, the brand made its first foray onto the tracks in 2016, becoming an official partner of Renault F1 Team . This brought forth different R.S. collections and the fifth is currently launching. Let’s investigate the new Bell & Ross R.S.20 Collection of chronograph watches.
Bell & Ross X Renault F1
Five years prior, the administration of Renault F1 Team reached Bell & Ross with another test. While mostly known for its avionics inspired watches, the brand chose to seize the opportunity, to dispatch the partnership with this racing group and to focus on another kind of pilot… Not in the skies and in a cockpit, yet on the race track with more horsepower under their feet than anything else with four wheels.
“We enter into another universe, Formula 1, with which we share common values like technicity, performance, greatness, innovation and we are very excited. Obviously this doesn’t imply that we’ll abandon our territory, the flight universe, however this new project will assist us with pushing the boundaries of our creativity,” said CEO Carlos Rosillo in an interview with MONOCHROME , back when the project was dispatched. “We’ll always remain devoted to our origin yet it is normal for us to always search for new inspirational fields. With this new partnership, the opportunities in terms of creation are limitless.” And five years later, the brand is still creating watches inspired by the world of F1 and by its partner Renault F1.
This brought forth several collections. Being focused on motorsport, the obvious decision was to fabricated chronographs. Being devoted to fast cars, tech materials such as ceramic and carbon fiber were utilized. And being the result of a partnership with Renault F1, yellow and dark were the signature colors. Following last year’s R.S.19 assortment , there another R.S.20 collection.
Common traits of the R.S.20 collection
This year’s assortment is composed, as usual, of four different watches. Every one of them, as expected, feature a chronograph, known as the go-to complication for a motorsport-inspired watch – which makes sense, since the chronograph was partially evolved to time races. Here, we’ll see a classic round-shaped watch, a square-shaped case and two, profoundly restricted and specialized skeletonized models.
The Bell & Ross R.S.20 Collection takes its inspiration from the new F1 car for the Renault 2020 group, as well as the R.S.2027 idea car. Specialized and modern, the watches mostly play on dark with very much dosed yellow accents – a reference to the new F1 car that is mostly dark. Also, compared to previous editions, such as the R.S.17 , the brand has chosen to restrain the assortment with a more reasonable use of color and materials. All things considered, the racing spirit is still present, however less obvious and loud.
The BR V3-94 R.S.20
The first model in this Bell & Ross R.S.20 Collection is the BR V3-94, the most classic of the parcel with its round-shaped case. This model is part of the vintage group of watches, with which it shares its overall look and feel. A round case and dial, a classic bi-compax display, the possibility to have a steel bracelet and a case that isn’t dark covered however classic brushed steel… All elements of a more discreet sports watch.
On the contrary of other chronographs in the vintage assortment, the BR V3-94 R.S.20 is a more masculine version, with a larger 43mm case. It is furnished with a bi-directional bezel with anodized aluminum insert and hour long commencement scale. Being committed to the world of racing, the chronograph is activated by classic push-buttons (and not screwed pushers, for practical reasons). The watch remains water-resistant to 100m though.
The main oddity compared to the 2019 release is the dial, which is purer yet clear and striking. The base is matte dark, with white seconds/minutes track split into small highly contrasting checkered squares which symbolize the finish line banner used in motor racing. Also, it features applied hour markers stylized in the Renault F1 way – the typography is the same as the one used by the Renault F1 Team.
The bi-compax display consists of a discreet small seconds sub-dial at 3 o’clock and a very much featured 30-minute counter. An inner spine in white and yellow, with a tachymeter scale, completes this racing attire. Inside the case is the programmed caliber BR-CAL.301, based on the reliable ETA 2894-2. The Bell & Ross BR V3-94 R.S.20 is accessible either on dark and-yellow carbon-impact calfskin strap with folding clasp or with a satin-polished steel bracelet. It is restricted to 999 pieces.
Specs: 43mm diameter – satin-polished stainless steel case – curved sapphire crystal – screw-down crown – bi-directional bezel with dark aluminum commencement insert – 100m WR – matte dark dial with yellow accents and applied luminous numerals – caliber BR-CAL.301, programmed – carbon-impact calfskin strap, ref. BRV394-RS20/SCA retails for EUR 3,990 – steel bracelet, ref. BRV394-RS20/SST retails for EUR 4,300 – More details here at bellross.com
The BR 03-94 R.S.20
Second in the Bell & Ross R.S.20 Collection is a record-breaking classic for the brand, with the famous “circle within a square” BR 03 case. Usually made for flight, as its case was inspired by dashboard instruments found in fighter jets’ cockpits, this time the squared watch finds its way on the wrist of a different kind of pilot…
For this 2020 release, the brand has chosen to go for a stealth look applied to the colors, the materials and the overall design of the watch. This version is more classic, more sensible and easier on the wrist. However, it retains all the elements of a Renault F1 X Bell & Ross watch.
The case of the BR 03-94 R.S.20 is the classic 42mm x 42mm square, here made in matte dark ceramic. All the elements of the case have been treated in this glare-and scratch-proof material, from the bezel, the screws, the pushers and the crown. It is paired with a perforated dark rubber strap that gives the watch is racing credentials (a ultra-resilient dark synthetic fabric strap is also included). Be that as it may, here, there is no rotating bezel, for a cleaner look.
The dial of this release is the same as the V3 above, with a matte dark base, a bi-color inner spine in white and yellow, with the necessary tachymeter scale and a bi-compax format for the chronograph, with a date positioned at 6 o’clock – unusual for B&R. The indexes and the seconds track refer to the racing world, mimicking a checkered banner and the Renault F1 numbers. Inside the case is the same development as over, the ETA-based caliber BR-CAL.301. This version is also restricted to 999 pieces.
Specs: 42mm x 42mm – matte dark ceramic case – sapphire crystal – 100m WR – matte dark dial with yellow accents and applied luminous numerals – caliber BR-CAL.301, programmed – perforated rubber strap and dark fabric strap included – ref. BR0394-RS20/SRB – EUR 5,990 – more details here at bellross.com
The BR-x1 and BR-x1 tourbillon R.S.20
In expansion to these two relatively classic models, Bell & Ross also introduces two profoundly specialized, more very good quality watches to the R.S.20 Collection, both being skeleton chronographs – and both based on existing models in the strong BR-X1 line.
Sophisticated, complex, large and daring, the BR-X1 is the brand’s vision of a top of the line, exceptionally specialized watch. While the case retains the “circle within a square” design dear to B&R aficionados, it is also substantially more complex in terms of construction. It is produced using a multi-material structure, using PVD-covered titanium, ceramic and rubber. The bi-material chronograph rocker pushers are reminiscent of the oar shifters on the steering wheel. The case features a ceramic outer shell for protection purposes and a specific bezel, where the external ring rotates to mark the desired time.
Both models are entirely dark with openworked dials revealing some parts of the development and come with the committed yellow accents on the inner spine and the chronograph hands.
Two models will be offered. The first one is the BR-X1 with a programmed skeleton chronograph development, in a 45mm case. The dial is made of smoked sapphire crystal with the same applied numerals as the two models above. The second shares most of the habillage elements yet adds a top of the line, exceptionally decorated hand-wound monopusher tourbillon chronograph development with an off-centered display, including a jumping 30-minute counter. The development can store as long as 100 hours of power and the flying tourbillon, as well as the chronograph mechanism (incl. the section wheel), are visible through the dial.
Both models are worn on a perforated dark rubber. The BR-X1 R.S.20 is a restricted version of 250 pieces priced at EUR 19,900. The BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.20 is restricted to 20 pieces just and priced at EUR 169,000.
BR-X1 R.S.20: 45mm x 45mm – satin-polished titanium and ceramic with rubber inserts – bi-directional rotating PVD bezel ring with clock – 100m WR – sapphire dial with applied luminous numerals – caliber BR-CAL.313, programmed skeleton chronograph – perforated rubber strap – ref. BRX1-RS20/SRB – EUR 19,900 – more details here at bellross.com
BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.20: 45mm x 45mm – satin-polished titanium and ceramic with rubber inserts – bi-directional rotating PVD bezel ring with clock – 100m WR – sapphire dial with applied luminous rod indexes – caliber BR-CAL.283, hand-wound monopusher skeleton chronograph, tourbillon – perforated rubber strap – ref. BRX1-CHTB-RS20/SRB – EUR 169,000 – more details here at bellross.com
More details about the new Bell & Ross R.S.20 Collection at bellross.com .