Need For Speed: Bell & Ross’ Renault Sport Formula One Limited Edition Chronographs
Bell & Ross’ partnership with Renault Sport Formula One, a deal inked in 2016, has been particularly exciting for the former as it derives much inspiration from the world of motorsport. From interpreting the racing team’s official yellow colour to adopting the cockpit elements of its single-seat racecar, the partnership has enabled Bell & Ross to build on its strength in sporty timepieces with remarkable success.
For this season's Grand Prix, the French-based watch company turns to the latest chassis of the racecar, R.S.18, which was jointly developed by Renault’s facilities in Viry, France and Enstone, UK, for inspiration. Renault Sport Formula One’s third chassis in three years boasts vastly improved suspension and aerodynamic downforce.
Recalling the lightness and rigidity of the protective shell of the chassis is the lightweight titanium case of the three new watches - BR 03-94 R.S.18, BR-X1 R.S.18 and BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.18. The case has also been sandblasted for that raw industrial appearance.
The chronograph pushers for the BR 03-94 R.S. 18 (limited to 999 pieces) and the BR-X1 R.S. 18 (250 pieces) are inspired by the paddles of the steering wheel – in the case of the BR 03, it is the first time that this pusher design appears on the model. The choice of rubber for the strap is perfect for such a sporty timepiece but the additional perforations not only make it appear more athletic, it is also more comfortable on the wrist.
The dial of the BR 03 is made of carbon fibre, a material common in racecars, while the anodised aluminum pushers are in red, an iconic colour in motorsport. The chronograph counters are transparent, offering a peak into the gear train of the automatic calibre.
The BR-X1 and its more exclusive tourbillon counterpart (limited to 20 pieces) have skeletonised dials. The former has pushers in yellow, a shade similar to the one found on the livery of the Renault racecar. Meanwhile, BR-X1 Tourbillon pairs a flying tourbillon with a monopusher chronograph and in spite of the double duty, its manual movement boasts a fantastic stamina of 4-day power reserve.
It is also interesting to note that the BR-X1 models have been incorporated with a thumb grip on the left side of the watch, which offers a steadier hold when winding or operating the chronograph functions.