CRYSTAL CLEAR VIEW
In 2012, when Richard Mille took up the challenge of crafting a watch completely from sapphire crystal, the second hardest material on Earth, behind diamond, and launched the RM 056 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Sapphire Felipe Massa, it certainly woke the industry up to the new potential of sapphire crystal. Both Hublot and Bell & Ross turned out their first full-sapphire crystal watches in 2016, which have since paved the way for later additions, in different complications and colours.
The BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire by Bell & Ross is basically an ode to the manufacture’s growing prowess in watchmaking knowhow. It’s made of sapphire and because of the multi-faceted nature of the BR-X1 case, it had to be machined from nine solid blocks of sapphire for the individual parts (middle piece, back, top, crystal and four bumpers), which were then assembled together with screws. Through its transparent case, at the heart of this stunning timepiece rests the BR CAL 285 movement. Constructed from a master grande complication flying tourbillon, a mono pusher chronograph is added, showcasing all the intricacies of a time instrument, for all the world to behold.
The case middle, bezel and back of the Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire are cut from blocks of sapphire. Hublot has called on the expertise of a Swiss specialist as part of an exclusive partnership to develop the unique material. Only a few pieces forming the spine of the watch are made from titanium: the screws, the crown, which is over-molded with silicon, and the deployant buckle. Its skeleton dial, made from transparent resin, reveals all the gears of the proprietary UNICO HUB1242 movement and its finishes. Complementing its ethereal silhouette is a see-through strap. Available as a 500-piece limited edition, the Big Bang UNICO Sapphire also came in a polished black-smoked version that marked the 10th anniversary of Hublot’s AllBlack concept.