Think of the Bell & Ross BR-X collection as a more technical rendition of the company’s signature BR 01/03 range. There is strong family resemblance in the square case, round face seemingly ripped off some fighter of the pre-glass cockpit era, but from there the execution forks, with the BR-X taking on greater complexity in construction and style. If the BR 01 is standard resolution with 480 lines across the screen, the BR-X is a razor-sharp 4K bristling with detail.
The inaugural BR-X model, the BR-X1 Skeleton Chronograph, was launched in 2014 and featured a 45mm grade 5 titanium case that was protected by a band of ceramic and rubber. Push buttons of ceramic with rubber inserts were sturdy and ergonomic; the tinted crystal dial with applied indexes offered a fascinating view of the mechanical depth within; and from the back, a porthole framed the oscillating balance as one would peer into a kitchen.
Four years on, many models have been added to the BR-X range, sporting new colours, materials, and movements, with the most extreme being the BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire Black featuring a tourbillon encased in sapphire crystal. The BR-X1 Military is not so radical, it’s an iteration of the original Skeleton Chronograph, down to sharing the same cal. 313 self-winding chronograph movement, and the characteristics described above, except that the case is now fashioned from High Resistance Titanium (HRT) which has matte surface and is more resistant to scratches than plain ol’ titanium. Besides, what a difference a change of colour makes!
The tachymeter and timing scales are khaki but the rest of the watch case looks more olive drab; together with the black ceramic and rubber, as well as luminous paint in just the right shade of electrifying green applied in all the right places — kudos to Bell & Ross’s consistently tasteful sense of aesthetics — the whole watch screams army and field craft in the most handsome way.
Rounding up the package nicely is new perforated rubber strap. The BR-X1 Military is a little too precious for the woods, but we love SUVs anyway. Available in a limited edition of 250 pieces, retailing at CHF 22,330.
Skeletonised self-winding BR cal. 313; 30-min chronograph, hours, minutes, seconds
45mm High Resistance Titanium, ceramic, rubber inserts; water resistant 100m
Perforated rubber strap