Published on March 24th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Bell & Ross BR-X1 HyperStellar Limited Edition
Swiss watch brand Bell & Ross has unveiled a space themed version of its BR-X1 hypersonic chronograph. A revolutionary concept with a unique design, the BR-X1 HyperStellar has been conceived to accompany explorers on their journeys into space.
Just like a spacesuit or a pressurised helmet, a mechanical chronograph has always been part of the official kit of astronauts and cosmonauts. The chronograph is the king of aerospace complications. It can measure short periods of time and has become an essential tool for living and working in space. The history of space exploration also reveals that mechanical chronographs have often enabled missions to be completed, and lives to be saved, in situations where electronic motor systems have malfunctioned. It is for all these reasons – and more – that the BR-X1 HyperStellar has been launched into orbit.
To survive in space, a professional watch must respond to certain specifications: resistance to extreme temperatures, corrosion, impacts, acceleration, pressure, vibrations, etc. Designed as a horological space capsule, the BR-X1 HyperStellar has been created for fully functional handling in space: ergonomic push-buttons suitable for use with gloves, dial details ensuring optimal time reading, extra lightweight to conform to payloads thanks to the combination of titanium and aluminium. These two materials are widely used in the aerospace industry, in particular to create complex parts that are subject to extreme mechanical stresses. Aluminium is known to generate an impermeable oxide layer, which protects it against corrosion. Grade 5 titanium has exceptional corrosion resistance properties, high biocompatibility and properties that enable the production of small, thin parts that are light yet strong.
As tough as a rocket, the BR-X1 HyperStellar stands out thanks to the innovative design of its 45 mm case made from titanium and aluminium: the cover, centre and surround of the case are made from polished and micro-blasted grade 5 titanium, while the bezel’s protective insert is in blue anodised aluminium, to combine lightness and strength. To protect it from impacts during missions, the square case of the BR-X1 is covered with a bumper in micro-blasted titanium and rubber that acts as a peripheral protective shell.
A rubber grip function has also been integrated into the case to ensure better handling when activating the chronograph’s functions, even when wearing gloves. Finally, the predominance of stone grey and electric blue –in particular for the short time measurement functions– is a subtle reference to two colours closely associated with space exploration: the grey of the moon and the blue of the Earth.
The perfect synthesis of Bell & Ross’ expertise in creating grand complication and innovative professional watches, the BR-X1 HyperStellar is an exceptional instrument dedicated to space exploration, which is available in a limited edition of 250 pieces. With its distinctive sporty and technical design featuring high-end horological finishes, the BR-X1 HyperStellar is the iconic fifth-generation square watch designed for the space missions of tomorrow.
Combining Haute Horlogerie finishes with extreme lightness, the «motor» of the Bell & Ross Hyperstellar chronograph is driven by a mechanical skeleton movement with automatic winding. Structured in the shape of an «X», its upper bridge, treated with black DLC reads like its signature.
“X” is the code name that refers to NASA’s experimental projects, and which gives the watch its name: the BR-X1. The BR-X1 HyperStellar chronograph features a central 60-second counter. The minute timer on the chronograph function is positioned at 9 o’clock; instead of a hand, it features an ultra light aluminium disc resembling the blades of a turbine. Essential for calculating speeds, the tachymeter scale appears in blue on the flange.
The back of the BR-X1 HyperStellar is made from grade 5 titanium. Like a planetary observation porthole, it features a small circular opening through which the beating heart of the balance can be seen. Made from grey-tinted sapphire crystal and featuring appliqué metal indices filled with Superluminova, the dial forms a clear window through which the exceptional movement can be admired. The subtly tapered skeleton hands also have exceptional photo-luminescent qualities, offering perfect readability in all conditions.
With its complex and sporty design, the case of the BR-X1 HyperStellar, which is water resistant to 100 metres, is secured with functional, non-indexed screws and opens from the back. The sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating ensures optimal readability. The interstellar colours and finishes on the BR-X1 HyperStellar, which conform to Haute Horlogerie traditions, are strongly suggestive of space travel.
Grade 5 titanium (satin-finished on the case back and front, microblasted on the bumper and polished on the bevels), produces several finish levels and perfectly complements the grey rubber (rubber grip, crown, push-buttons, crown guard), and the anodised electric blue used on the aluminium bezel. Combining strength and refinement, the bi-material strap is made from rubber and alligator leather. It features a steel buckle with an extremely robust overmoulded rubber insert.
Model: BR-X1 Hyperstellar
Limited Edition of 250 Pieces
Calibre BR-CAL.313 Mechanical automatic
‘X’-shaped upper bridge. 56 jewels, 28,800 vph
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
45 mm diameter
Titanium and anodised blue aluminium with rubber inserts
Back with opening in tinted sapphire crystal, centred on the balance
Crystal: anti-reflective sapphire
Grey-tinted sapphire crystal
Metal skeleton Superluminova-filled hour and minute hands
Appliqué metal indexes with Superluminova inserts
Bi-material: alligator and grey rubber
Buckle: pin. Steel with grey rubber insert.