The $385,000 Bell & Ross watch has a case made entirely out of sapphire
You can spot one from a mile. A little like the elongated case of a Jaeger-LeCoultre or a porthole-shaped case of an Audemars Piguet, the square case with four visible screws at each corner design has become synonymous with Bell & Ross. You could knock the name right off the dial and it’ll still be recognizable as a progeny of the brand. That’s exactly what the French watchmaker has gone and done with their latest creation, the BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire.
The transparent case of this watch is made from five carved sapphire blocks. The choice of material is an interesting one. For a brand that prides itself on making tough-as-nail watches, this one can take quite a few knocks too. Despite the hardness and difficulty in carving sapphire, Bell & Ross have faithfully stuck to the square case that’s no doubt tougher to achieve than say the case on a Hublot Big Bang UNICO Sapphire. Other watchmakers that have used sapphire cases include MB&F, Greubel Forsey and Richard Mille.
The top of the dial displays the time with the hands coated in Superluminova to ensure better visibility. The lower part of the dial is dominated with the large flying tourbillon. The steel-gray finish on the manual-winding movement with a 100 hours of power reserve means a strong contrast with the sapphire case that allows you to clearly observe every screw, spring, wheel and bridge in intricate detail. The strap is made from translucent rubber too, keeping with the theme of the watch.
Only eight pieces of this watch will be made at a price of $385,000 a pop. At that price point this is one of the brand’s most expensive timepiece to date, second perhaps only to the $500,000 BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Sapphire.