Bell & Ross BR-X1 Hyperstellar
July 21, 2016
Earlier this year Bell & Ross launched a limited edition version of their BR-X1 timepiece called the Hyperstellar. The BR-X1 line is inspired by aviation, and the “X1” designation is in reference to famous test pilot Chuck Yeager, who was the first to break the speed of sound, reaching Mach 1 in a Bell X-1 experimental rocket plane.
The Hyperstellar takes the aviation theme of the BR-X1 collection a step further, by marketing it as “An Innovative Chronograph Designed to Conquer Space.” However, the watch has not been in space and is not designed for real astronauts. Although, features such as the large “rocket pushers” would allow for an astronaut to activate the chronograph, even with gloves on. And the large 45 mm diameter square case, with a highly legible circular dial consisting of prominent luminescent hour, minute, and second hands – along with large applied luminescent indexes (marking all hours except 9 o’clock) – is surely something that NASA would require for a watch designed for space. Not to mention, the high-tech titanium and anodized blue aluminum case construction that is both lightweight, and thanks to rubber inserts, very robust – as the rubber acts as a protective shell against impacts, which are highly likely on a space mission.
Designed exclusively by Dubois-Deprez, for Bell & Ross, the 4hz automatic mechanical movement has a distinctive ‘X’-shaped upper bride, along with blackened and skeletonized components. The 56 jewel movement is with circular graining on the main plate, straight graining on the chronograph bridges, sandblasted and DLC coated levers, and a sunburst pattern on the X bridge.
Blue anodized aluminum is used for the 30-minute chronograph counter ring (at 9 o’clock), for the flange (printed with a white tachymeter scale), and around the perimeter of the fixed titanium bezel. The multi-tone colors, and brushed surfaces, make for a eye-catching yet subdued look that works for such a tool watch, with being purely utilitarian. This is not a true professional watch, but it could be, I suppose.
The back has a screwed down titanium plate, engraved with the limited edition number x/250, and small sapphire window (porthole), that is centered over the balance wheel. Water-resistance is 100 meters. Notably, the center of the dial is made of gray-tinted sapphire crystal, offering a view through the skeletonized components below.
Finishing off the Hyperstellar BR-X1 is a gray alligator and rubber strap with a large, signed steel pin buckle. The retail price is $19,900.