HARDER, LIGHTER AND SEXIER
Though the basic design of the BR has been around for 10 years, it has spawned several editions and models. The range’s popularity with the younger market proves its iconic status and effervescent character. But the latest edition, BR-X1 Chronograph, in f
FORGED CARBON is a material that one could almost believe comes out of science fiction. It is three times lighter than titanium and extremely strong. It is a composite of microscopic carbon filaments that are set with resin and baked at an extremely high temperature until they bond together to form a new material. Its properties are unique as its natural pattern is irregular and wave-like, and therefore, unpredictable. Every single item that is made from forged carbon is unique with its own character.
The technology was first seen in the automotive industry, before it found its way into the world of horology over the last few years. The symbiosis between cars and watches is a new tradition unto itself, and the forged carbon in your car and on your wrist, especially when it is a chronograph, is a welcome combination because of the synergy and the lightness. With Bell and Ross being the frontrunner in the use of hi-tech materials for the fabrication of their timepieces, it must come as no surprise that they were one of the earliest to use the material. Expensive to make, forged carbon will surely be seen in more sports watches as soon as a cheaper manufacturing process can be found. But for now, let’s enjoy the exclusivity of the few that are out there.
At Bell and Ross, forged carbon finds its way into the BR-X1 Skeleton Chronograph Carbone Forge 2015. The first impression, needless to say, is that it is impressive and attention grabbing, and when you examine it up close, it appears like the watch’s second skin. The BR-X1 itself has a high standard of finishing throughout. The movement starts with an “X” (the code name for NASA experimental projects) upper bridge coated with black DLC, revealing a well-finished movement below, while above is the lattice work of the skeleton dial decorated with markers and indexes coated with Super-LumiNova, which is repeated on the faceted skeleton hour and minute hands.
The central chrono second hand is coated with Super-LumiNova and has a red tip, which corresponds with the chrono minute red indicator on a jet turbine-inspired rotary disc sub-dial at three o’clock. The continuous seconds with Super-LumiNova coating sits at three o’clock. The date window is found at six o’clock. They all sit on top of a grey sapphire glass dial, which gives the illusion that they are floating over the dial bridge. The chronograph movement below is mechanical and wound automatically by Calibre BR-CAL.313. It emits a high frequency of 28,800vph, and should provide perfect precision.
The finely finished piece of machinery is then encased in the complex architecture of the case: a top piece in forged carbon with unique marbling pattern and a case made of Grade 5 titanium and a steel caseback. The forged carbon had to be reengineered to make sure the composition is non-porous, so that the case can be water-resistant. The entire watch is matte-finished so that it’s anti-glare and easier to read.
The matte forged carbon with the matte-finished titanium doused in black gives the timepiece a very powerful image, and being limited to 250 pieces worldwide makes it a very attractive piece for those outdoorsy active weekends or for extreme sports.
Top: BR-X1 Skeleton Chronograph Carbone Forge.