replica Bell & Ross watches has been pushing them out of the park lately with several vintage-inspired watches that have really caught on, such as the new Vintage Collection and some derivatives like the Vintage V2-92 & V2-94 Garde-Cotes and the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the BR126 Renault movement. Today, however, we’re shifting gears and experimenting with one of the brand’s more forward-looking models; the BR-X1 Black Titanium Chronograph, a softer, more “monochrome” version of the bold chronograph we’ve tested here.
The BR-X1 series is part of the French brand’s extensive collection of instruments, which debuted three years ago with the aim of bringing the battle to brands such as Hublot King Power and Audermars Piguet Royal Oak. Given that the collection now boasts 17 different models, including the excellent BR-X1 chronograph tourbillon single-pusher, I can say with certainty that it has done the job well. It’s very bold, very technical, very eye-catching in action, and has a modular architecture that allows for several different versions. A very monochromatic new style is coming.
The BR-X1 Black Titanium Chronograph is one of the latest models to be unveiled at Baselworld 2017 earlier this year. This unique 45mm grade 5 titanium square case with a round bezel is light and comfortable on the wrist with a design inspired by aviation instruments. The black ceramic strap protects the case from accidental knocks and complements the overall invisible look of the watch with a black rubber strap. The ergonomically designed rocker pushers are made of the same ceramic material and have rubber bushings for a good grip, even with gloves.
The dial is what really sets the BR-X1 black titanium chronograph and all BR-X1 models apart. To be more precise, the transparent sapphire plate sits above the skeletonized movement and serves as the dial. Despite the initial impression that it was barely there, a closer inspection revealed that there was actually a lot going on. First, the logo, inscription, and second hand index (3 points) at the second hand are printed directly on this sapphire disc in gunmetal silver. At six o’clock there is a small hole for the date display, while at nine o’clock there is a 30-minute timer for the passing minutes, with the bezel on the outside in the same gunmetal silver color.
The hour and minute hands are displayed centrally via the metal skeletonized Superluminova hour and minute hands, as are the chronograph seconds hands. On the periphery of the dial, there is a minute scale recorded on a brushed ring, topped by a Superluminova filled hour marker with metal appliqué, representing the hours. These make the appearance of floating on the rest of the dial look deep. The completion chronograph indicates the inner flange with tachymeter scale. In keeping with the super stealth style, the sapphire crystal at the top is grey. Arguably not the clearest of chronographs, but it does look cool. I particularly like the matte brushed look of the titanium and metal inserts on the dial, which contrast with the black of the ceramic strap.
Inside is the self-winding movement BR-CAL.313, whose inner workings are visible on the dial side. The chronograph module was created specifically by Dubois Depraz and its base is most likely an ETA movement or ETA movement – but, here, we’re talking about a very high-end version of that movement, not the classic movement in an entry-level watch. To maximize visual appeal, the movement has been carefully designed to display gears, levers and pinions, and all parts on the dial side should be as open as possible. The central bridge is shaped like an X and sapphire dial, allowing you to watch the timer start when you press the button. The end result of the module is good, with round textures on the motherboard, straight textures on the chronograph lever, sandblasted and DLC coated bridges, and X bridges in the shape of a rising sun.
The BR-X1 black titanium chronograph is worn on a braided black rubber strap with a pin buckle, and even though I felt a little big, it was comfortable. But remember, this is a watch designed to make a statement, and even if you go with the new stealth color scheme, don’t wear it if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself.