Bell & Ross are perhaps synonymous with aeronautical watches. Their instrument line with the iconic square shape is reminiscent of the instruments used in an aircraft. Here, they introduce the BR-X1 White Hawk.
The line takes its inspiration from the French term, Faucon Blanc (white falcon), a name which evokes dreams and travels. Two models are offered to reflect the blend of watchmaking finishes with the colours of private jets. One is a regular skeleton chronograph, and another (not reviewed here) is a Tourbillon with skeleton chronograph. We review the skeleton chronograph with an automatic movement.
Bell & Ross BR-X1 White Hawk
The BR-X1 White Hawk uses the basic BR-X1 series we reviewed earlier. See here for the BR-X1 Black Titanium. The styling of these watches are changed to suit the various “personalities” it takes. The BR-X1 RS 17 is race bred for the Renault F1 Team and carries team colours, the Br-X1 Black Titanium being the base blueprint for the current review model the BR-X1 White Hawk which is aesthetically keyed to the private jets.
The case, dial and hands
The case is a square shape, made with grade 5 titanium and is covered with a white ceramic belt. The titanium is micr0-blasted to create a textured finish, and the ceramic is matte finished to avoid reflections. The inspiration of the grey and white case comes from the colour of private jets.
Bell & Ross leaves the four screws holding the case together exposed in their countersunk and chamfered openings. A nice aesthetic treatment.
The chronograph pushers are also in high tech ceramics with rubber inserts to optimize grip and strength. Another button grip insert, which looks like a dent in the ceramic is built into the case at 9 o’clock to enhance the grip when activating the chronograph.
The dial is a tinted sapphire glass, with the brand name and model numbers printed on it in white. Like the BR-X1 Black Titanium, the print looks like it is floating, a rather interesting sensation. A ring in red, styled to look like the fan of the jet engine, rotates to show the continuous second hand takes a prominent position at 9 o’clock. This gives the design a colour anchor against the white, grey and black background. We must say, it is rather attractive.
The sapphire crystal glass dial also allows a peek-a-boo effect to the chronograph module which is presented in black. The remnants of the dial not skeletonised is a chapter ring in white marking the 60 sectors and subdividing each into 5 sub-sections to provide the reading of the chronograph seconds hand. The rehaut is also the home of a tachymeter track. And we think the hour markers projecting into the center of the dial is rather detailed and is an interesting aesthetic. The markers are finished with a polished silver edge, and a center which is hollowed out for a SuperLuminova fill.
The hands are standard baton hands for the minute and hour, and a long needle like hand for the chronograph seconds which is tipped in red. A small date aperture sits at 6 o’clock with a frame in white. Some may prefer the date to be omitted in a chronograph, but the White Hawk is not a classical chronograph, so may perhaps take some poetic license to include a date, albeit a small one and rather hard to read.
The movement is the same as that fitted in the other BR-XI chronographs. The movement is the BR-CAL313 used in the other BR-X1 Black Titanium and is sourced from Dubuis-Depraz. This is a basic, robust automatic mechanical movement with an X shaped upper bridge. The jewel count is a rather high 56, and is skeletonised.
The case back does not offer a view into the movement, but a small round aperture is provided. A prominent Ampersand logo for Bell & Ross is printed on the under side of the sapphire glass window, and a tiniest of peeks allowed into the moving rotor.
The entire aesthetic of the BR-X1 White Hawk is rather pleasing. The base is a mild mannered white, grey, black ensemble is punctuated by the bright red ring showing the continuously running seconds and the red tipped chronograph hand. The attention to detail in the choice of material, like ceramics for the case belt, which extends to become the pushers is noted as an exceptional choice. This attention extends to the beautiful grey calfskin and rubber strap. The Bell & Ross Ampersand logo makes it appearance as signatures on the dial, the crown, the case back and the strap making the watch quadruple signed in the traditional sense.
On the wrist the 45mm case is neither large nor small. it sits rather nicely, and stays in place. The titanium case makes it light and quite comfortable.
Priced at S$28,800 with GST, it may be one of the more expensive Bell & Ross (save the Tourbillons), but does strike us as a possibly good alternative to the other chronograph offerings, whether aviation inspired or otherwise, of the other major brands.
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Bell & Ross BR-X1 White Hawk Technical specifications and price
Movement: calibre BR-CAL.313. Automatic mechanical. ‘X’shaped upper bridge. 56 jewels, 28,800 vph. Skeleton chronograph.
Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating.
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock. Skeleton date at 6 o’clock. Chronograph: 30-min timer at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds.
Water-resistance: 100 metres.
Case: 45 mm in diameter. Microblasted titanium and matt white ceramic with rubber inserts. Rocker push-buttons. Case-back with opening in tinted sapphire crystal, centred on the balance.
Strap: bi-material: rubber and grey calfskin.
Dial: sapphire crystal. Metal applique Superluminova®-filled indices. Metal skeletonised Superluminova®-filled hour and minute hands.
Buckle: pin. Satin-polished steel and rubber insert.
Price: S$ 28,800 inclusive of GST.