Two of the most visible trends at Basel 2017 have been bright colours and unusual materials. For their second collection in collaboration with the Renault Sport Formula One team, Bell & Ross’ BR-X1 combines both in one big, bold package.
The chassis for this popping Bell & Ross is the large BR X1 case, in lightweight, hi-tech Carbone Forgé. The engine is the same, skeletonised automatic, modular chronograph we’ve seen in previous BR X1 models. But the real winner is the colourful livery. Renault Sport’s yellow is vey much in evidence, in case details and chronograph rockers as well as the thin outer bezel. But it’s inside the dial where things start to get really colourful. The 60-minute scale is demarcated into bold five-minute blocks, with chronograph hands in yellow, running seconds in green and a date window picked out in red. The combination of size, weight and colour makes this a very fun watch to wear.
Of course Bell & Ross did not just pick these colours out of the ether, the inspiration comes from the highly technical steering wheel of an F1 car, where colour is used as the fastest way for drivers to identify functions in an environment where fractions of a second matter.
When I first saw the press shots of the BR-X1 RS17 I found the colour a little overwhelming, but after buckling the carbon fibre strap onto my wrist I’m pretty sold on the concept.