Right up to the point of the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Sapphire, it wasn’t really possible to enjoy the display of a Bell & Ross movement and while the BR-X1 was in sapphire, it was fundamentally the same case shape we had all come to know and enjoy. With the Baselworld 2017 Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro Rotor, Carlos Rosillo unveils a new case and movement and more importantly, makes the case for a new generation of Bell & Ross watches with conspicuous movements.
Baselworld 2017 Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro Rotor
Perhaps, as if making our argument that movement designers have begun to overshadow watch designers, the case of the Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro Rotor showcases the new movement brilliantly – taking elements from the BR-X1 and the BR-X2 Tourbillon, the Tourbillon Micro Rotor adds a highly technical and challenging micro rotor.
The calibre of the Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro Rotor is essentially a steel movement plate between two layers of machined sapphire crystal, but what makes the visual theatrics possible for the BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro Rotor is the transparent sapphire case that connects directly to the movement highlighting the mechanical architecture of the calibre. These plates are milled and polished for hours and hours to achieve the perfect shape and clarity. Large beveled facets enrich the sides of both plates. The two plates seat on translucent gaskets for compensation as well as water resistance. While the square shape is still prominent and takes centre-stage of signature Bell & Ross design, the rough outline is there but the movement takes a place of prominence because for the new BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro Rotor, there’s no case, just a sapphire “holder”.
Swiss movement maker MHC produced the BR380 calibre of the Bell & Ross BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro Rotor Automatic – the dial side is simple save for the few openworked sections thus emphasising the breathing tourbillon with signature ampersand logo on the cage over the variable inertia balance wheel (two arms and gold adjusting screws no less) tourbillon mechanism which beats at a leisurely 21,600 vph. The BR380 calibre is itself 4.05mm and while not breaking any thinness records, it is a rare and novel form of movement architecture to have the movement completely integrated in this manner.
The high density micro rotor is made from high density alloy Reconit 18 (94% of Tungsten) which allows for efficient winding of the 50 hours mainspring barrel. Eleven applied indexes marking the hours are half suspended above the main plate. The hour and minute hands reproduce the minimalist and elegant shape of the indexes. Both indexes and hands are open and filled with pure white Superluminova.
The watch will be priced at about US$64,000 and available from Q2 2017