Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bell & Ross Creates Space-Themed BR-X1 HyperStellar

The new BR-X1 HyperStellar

Driven by the conquest of new territories, this year sees Bell & Ross go stratospheric with 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.

A Navigation Tool
Just like a spacesuit or a pressurized 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 aluminum. These two materials are widely used in the aerospace industry, in particular to create complex parts that are subject to extreme mechanical stresses. Aluminum 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.

Exploded view of the new BR-X1.

The Astronaut’s Dream Watch
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 aluminum: the cover, center and surround of the case are made from polished and micro-blasted grade 5 titanium, while the bezel’s protective insert is in blue anodized aluminum, 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 colors closely associated with space exploration: the grey of the moon and the blue of the Earth.

Optimal Functionality
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 (Diamond Like Carbon) 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 aluminum disc resembling the blades of a turbine. Essential for calculating speeds, the tachymeter scale appears in blue on the flange.

The sapphire crystal porthole shows off the balance.

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 meters, is secured with functional, non-indexed screws and opens from the back. The sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating ensures optimal readability. The interstellar colors 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 anodized electric blue used on the aluminum 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 over-molded rubber insert.

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.

BR-X1 HyperStellar
Technical Specifications

Movement: Caliber BR-CAL.313. Mechanical automatic. Skeleton chronograph. ‘X’-shaped upper bridge. 56 jewels, 28,800 vph.

Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire.

Functions: 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.

Water-resistance: 100 meters.

Case: 45mm diameter. Titanium and anodized blue aluminum with rubber inserts. Rocker push buttons. Back with opening in tinted sapphire crystal, centered on the balance.

Strap: Bi-material: alligator and grey rubber.

Dial: Grey-tinted sapphire crystal. Metal skeleton. Superluminova-filled hour and minute hands. Appliqué metal indexes with Superluminova inserts.

Limited Edition: 250 pieces.

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