March 24, 2019
While mostly known for its pilot watches, for the fourth year in a row, Bell & Ross has partnered with the Renault Sport Formula One team to produce a series of watches themed after and fitted for use in motorsports. For Baselworld 2019, Bell & Ross has put out four chronograph models as part of the RS19 family: The BR V3-94, BR 03-94, BR X1, and the BR X1 Tourbillon Chronograph, are all dressed to the nines in Renault yellow and carbon fiber.
Starting with the most affordable end, the V3-94 RS19 model features a round steel case similar to the cases found in Bell & Ross’ vintage/heritage line but upsized to 43mm in diameter. The dial here is made from carbon fiber and brightly accented with yellow, green, and red, with a sneaky date window at 4:30. Powering the V3-94 is caliber BR-CAL.301, an automatic chronograph movement built off an ETA 2894-2, with a 42-hour power reserve, 37 jewels, and beating at 28,800vph. The watch, as a whole, is water resistant to 100 meters, with a sapphire crystal and either a calfskin strap or a stainless steel bracelet. The V3-94 is priced at $4,400 on the calfskin, $4,700 on the bracelet, and is limited to 999 pieces.
Moving up the pricing food chain, the 03-94 shares much of the same DNA as the V3-94; however, it is presented in Bell & Ross’ most identifiable case shape. The 03-94 also features a square steel case and is 42mm in diameter, with a bi-directional timing bezel, sapphire crystal, and 100 meters of water resistance. It is powered by the same caliber BR-CAL.301 as found in the V3-94. The dial here is also dressed very similarly, sharing the same carbon fiber base and color accents (however with a much more symmetrical date window at the 6 o’clock position). With the 03-94, your only strap option is a perforated black rubber strap. Overall, this is the V3-94’s rectangular cousin. It is also limited to 999 pieces, and it is priced at $6,500.
Whereas carbon fiber was the name of the game for the previous two models, the BR-X1 is all about the mechanism. At 45mm in diameter, the BR-X1 is larger and features a case made out of titanium with ceramic accents. The BR-CAL.313 automatic chronograph movement (also based on an ETA 2894-2), drives the BR-X1. This movement has 56 jewels, a 42-hour power reserve and beats at 28,800vph. A skeletonized dial and a tinted sapphire display caseback draw the focus toward the mechanics. And of course, the BR-X1 shares the same color palette as its lower-priced siblings, with yellow, red, and green scattered throughout. The BR-X1 is limited to 250 pieces and is priced at $21,500.
And at the tippy-top, we have the BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph. As you might have already guessed from its name, this model is the BR-X1, but with more tourbillon. This variant retains the BR-X1’s 45mm titanium case and sapphire display back but is powered by the BR-CAL.283, a hand-winding mechanical flying tourbillon caliber, with a mono-pusher column wheel chronograph. This movement boasts 100 hours of power reserve, thanks, in part, to its 21,600vph operating speed. As you would hope with any tourbillon, you still get the skeletonized dial here, and the subdials have been shifted upward to enable a nice clear look at the visually dominating tourbillon at 6 o’clock. This is the most limited of the RS19 collection, with only 20 pieces available. With such exclusivity on the table, the price is a predictably whopping $194,000.
Bell & Ross certainly has had a history of doing things its own way. The brand’s signature rectangular cases are large and unmistakable. The racing watch collaborations with the Renault Sport F1 team utilize that signature style but dress it up with the vibrancy and dynamism of top-level motorsports. The four new RS19 watches are available in a variety of price-points to suit different budgets and appeal to a wide range of racing fans. Whether it’s the 03-94, the V3-94, the BR-X1, or the BR-X1 Tourbillon, there’s an option in each price bracket, and they’ll all be available later in 2019. Visit bellross.com to learn more.