Deconstructing the Bell & Ross BR X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire

It’s crystal clear why this is one of our favourite watches to come from the Swiss watch house...

It can be easy to miss a watch on someone’s wrist. They may have spent more on it than their car but it might still, at a glance, look like just another watch.

Deconstructing the Bell & Ross BR X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire

There is no danger of that happening if you have one of these standout tourbillon pieces from Bell & Ross strapped to your wrist. Constructed from five meticulously machined, ground and polished pieces of sapphire crystal, this watch case is like nothing we’ve ever seen. Even if we can hardly see it.

What is sapphire crystal?

Deconstructing the Bell & Ross BR X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire

Made from the super scratch-resistant material that can only be blemished by the scratch of a diamond, this is one watch case that will stay looking brand new for a long time to come.  

This wonder material is made from crystalising pure aluminium oxide which then forms large round masses. On an atomic scale, this is identical to naturally occurring sapphire but just lacks the impurities that cause colour.

To get from the large round masses to the intricate shapes needed to form this watch case, it needs to be cut with diamond tipped tools. Diamond, of course, being the only material harder than sapphire.

Why did Bell & Ross choose it for this model?

Deconstructing the Bell & Ross BR X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire

Most watches hide the intricate and delicate movements that power the timepiece. Encasing a movement in crystal clear sapphire means that the watchmaker, who could have spent days constructing one movement, gets to truly show off his hard work.

When you have the ability to show off your movement, it makes sense to ensure that it’s a movement worth seeing.

The tourbillon

Deconstructing the Bell & Ross BR X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire

Invented in 1795, the tourbillon has been the pinnacle of fine watchmaking for centuries. Originally made to help counter the effects of gravity on a pocket watch movement, their applications to wristwatches is slightly more aesthetic than practical. This is perfect, then, for a watch whose case shows off every aspect of the movement.

The rotating escapement here has been masterfully constructed with the iconic Bell & Ross ampersand at the top, letting you keep track of the passing seconds as it makes a revolution every minute.

The colours

Having an entirely clear and colourless case could mean the normal metallic silver used for hands and indices won’t stand out – and, let’s be honest, if you’re buying this watch, you’re not looking to blend in with the crowd.

Bell & Ross opted for monochrome movement, hands and dial, offering a block of skeletal colour in the middle of this square of glass. Black is the colour that has come to define Bell & Ross, as they draw their inspiration from fighter plane cockpits. The gold movement is almost entirely made out of solid pink gold, and was made to resemble a jewel enclosed in a glass case. Finally, the blue was chosen for its use in modern watchmaking, giving an elegant, contemporary feel to this model.

If you want a timepiece that will stand out and shine bright in a crowd of black-dialled dress watches, we can’t think of anything better to go with.

Deconstructing the Bell & Ross BR X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire

Find out more about the BR X1 Tourbillon Sapphire

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Further Reading