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

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - Special Features - Words by Leong Wong

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.

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