Hubert Burda Media

Bell & Ross’s hardy BR-X1 Military puts the stealth plane on your wrist


We like it when brands go out of their way to pioneer a new alloy or finish in their timepieces. Oftentimes it’s just to get that right sheen, grain or luster that characterises the watch. Beyond just a new veneer, the whole process demonstrates dedication to innovation and detail, and pride in the product.

 

The matte finish and drab, handsome sheen harks back to some of the most iconic stealth planes of the past.

So when chancing upon Bell & Ross’s ruggedly handsome BR-X1 Military, dressed in an intriguing shade of khaki (or olive-brown, depending on who you ask), some may stop to ask: what goes into this one?

The beauty’s not skin deep

Short, readily-available answer: high-resistance titanium (HRT). A quick Google search confirms that it’s a relatively unknown term; outside of news posts from watch titles heralding the BR-X1 Military’s launch, there’s little literature on the compound. So we wrote the team – and got some reassuring technical mumbo jumbo back.

Roughly distilled, HRT is essentially lightly-armoured titanium, sporting a tough, protective cladding achieved by passing current through the metal while its suspended in an electrolyte-filled bath. The resultant toughened layer of oxidation makes hardy titanium even harder to scratch, renders it more corrosion- and age-proof, and grants it a grained texture that’s great to the touch.

 

Can’t touch this: good luck trying to scratch this one.

Beyond that, the coating process really draws on the brand’s aeronautical roots; the tech was originally conceived for use in treating jet engine parts. Hey, if it’s good enough to reduce the wear of million-dollar parts in one of the most heavily-regulated industries and most demanding applications, it’s plenty for girding a timepiece.

Features for days

Other elements that make the BR-X1 Military the tough cookie you want to bring to the field: the upper bridge with the signature diamond-like coating (DLC), the sapphire crystal and dial, and the perforated rubber strap.

These house the 56-jewel movement, the beating heart of the chronograph that boasts a small seconds, a regular as well as 30-minute chronograph (9 o’clock on the dial), and date functions. Superluminova C3 appliques daub the hands and dial of the watch – that’s the most luminescent variant of the industry’s spanking glow-in-the-dark paint tech – so you can read the watch in a pinch while deep in a dive or in the movie theatre.

 

The chronograph hand is fashioned after a rotor – got to love the small details.

The BR-X1 Military is limited to a run of 250 pieces worldwide – so if you fancy the slick design, killer material and functionality of the watch, snag one fast.


 

Awesome Digital

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