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Formula 1 of the Future: Bell & Ross Releases New R.S.20 Collection


Last week, Bell & Ross unveiled its latest collection produced in partnership with Renault’s Formula 1 team. The new collection, titled R.S.20 (R.S. stands for Renault Sport, the carmaker’s motorsport, performance and special vehicles division), features four new chronographs featuring the team’s black-and-yellow colorway and geared toward fostering the “Formula 1 of the future.” To do this, the new models take inspiration from Renault’s R.S.20 single seater, first revealed on March 11, and the automaker’s futuristic R.S. 2027 Vision concept car, together resulting in an updated collection that is “outstandingly futuristic” yet “anchored in the present” with novel designs, colors, and material combinations used.

Leading the four new models is the BR V3-94 R.S.20, which is a new take on the brand’s popular BR V3 round-cased chronograph design. This 43-mm watch uses a polished steel case with stepped pushers, sharp crown guards, and a screw-down crown featured on its right side. Surrounding the matte black dial is a bidirectional 60-minute outer bezel with small Arabic numerals and a large white triangle at its top. On the dial, you can find the Renault colorway throughout, with an angled outer tachymetric scale and minute ring featuring white and yellow accents;  just within this is a white-printed minute ring reminiscent of checkered racing flags. Adding to the F1 theme, the hour markers use an italicized font popularly found in racing watches, and two distinct subdials for running seconds and a 30-minute counter are placed on the right and left sides of the dial, respectively. Passing over the dial are two slim baton hands for the hour and minute, with a simple triangular yellow pointer for the chronograph seconds.

Inside the BR V3-94 R.S.20 is the automatic BR-CAL.301 (based on an ETA 2894-2) capable of a 42-hour power reserve and showcased via a sapphire caseback. This model is available now, directly through Bell & Ross, with delivery expected toward the end of March 2020. The watch will only be available in a limited run of 999 editions, priced at $4,400 on a racing-style calfskin strap and $4,700 on a steel bracelet.

The next model in the release is the BR 03-94 R.S.20, a new square-cased chronograph featuring a 42-mm black ceramic case. This model uses a push/pull crown with rectangular chronograph pushers on either side of it parallel to the side of the case; it also eschews the use of an outer bezel, allowing the black silhouette of the design to shine while secured to the wrist via a futuristic, perforated, racing-style rubber strap. The dial of the BR 03 is quite similar to that of the BR V3, its primary difference being its use of applied Arabic numerals compared to the round chronograph’s printed markers, and the presence of a date window at the 6 o’clock position. Like the circular chronograph, this watch also features the automatic BR-CAL.301. Bell & Ross is currently pricing the BR 03-94 R.S.20 at $6,500, with only 999 editions available directly through the brand’s website (and likely through authorized retailers later this year).

The third watch in the R.S.20 collection is the BR-X1 R.S.20, the first of two experimental models unveiled as part of the release. This watch is 45 mm in size, using the brand’s distinct squared silhouette and composed of titanium and ceramic with rubber inserts. This is the sportiest of the watches we’ve seen so far, featuring a more rugged-looking case, “rocker” chronograph pushers, and an updated bidirectional bezel in comparison to the BR V3’s, which uses a rotating PVD bezel ring with an independent time marker. The dial of the watch is very similar to those of the previous two models, distinguished with its skeletonized aesthetic, exclusively yellow tachymetric scale, and downsized Arabic numerals. Like the other two models, it features a 3 o’clock running seconds subdial, a 9 o’clock 30-minute counter, and a 6 o’clock date window. The BR-X1 R.S.20 features the automatic BR-CAL.313, a skeletonized version of the BR-CAL.301.

Bell & Ross is pricing this model at $21,500, with shipping expected at the end of March. The brand will limit this reference to only 250 editions.

The final watch in this set of chronographs is the BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.20, another 45-mm, experimental square-cased chronograph composed of titanium, ceramic, and rubber. This model uses a very similar case to the simpler BR-X1, differentiating itself with its solid black pushers but otherwise featuring the same design. On the asymmetric skeleton dial you can find rectangular hour markers in comparison to the Arabic numerals used on the previous three models, as well as an even more subtle, racing-style accent on its outer edge below the angled yellow minute ring. On its dial, you can find an instantly jumping 30-minute subdial at 11 o’clock and a 60-second counter at 1 o’clock, while a power reserve indicator is placed at the 9 o’clock mark and the watch’s prominent flying tourbillon is found toward the bottom of the dial at the 6 o’clock position. This model noticeably opts against using a running seconds hand as well as a tachymetric scale, instead working toward a more futuristic and streamlined design.

The BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.20 will be limited to only 25 models, and will retail for significantly higher than its brethren, at $194,000, with shipping expected to begin at the end of April.

 

One Response to “Formula 1 of the Future: Bell & Ross Releases New R.S.20 Collection”

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  1. Paul White

    I am always surprised at the watch designs from companies in concert with F-1. These watches while interesting follow the same aesthetic issues that Panerai encountered during their F-1 relationship. More is not better; although it was a different time GP made a Ferrari watch that was discreet, classic and with wide appeal Humbly, IMO

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