Bell & Ross has always looked to the military and pilots specifically for inspiration for its rugged design language, but the watchmaker’s new BR-X1 Military embraces the motif utterly. The result is a timepiece that would look as at home in the cockpit of an F-22 Raptor stealth fighter as it would on your wrist for a casual day out when the only thing “stealth” about you is your ability to avoid email notifications.
The BR-X1 Military traces its roots back to the original 2014 BR-X1, itself intended to be an extreme version of the brand’s signature square-cased BR-01 models. Given that the “X” in the model name comes from experimental—like an x-plane—it’s no surprise that previous models have utilized everything from carbon to sapphire to construct its cases.
The BR-X1 Military chronograph’s case is made from high-resistance titanium, which is specially treated in a process that makes the titanium even more resistant while retaining its natural lightweight qualities. Oh, and the cutting-edge process is also what lends the watch’s case and bezel its distinctive and oh-so-military matte khaki coloring.
The skeletonized dial provides a view of the BR-X1 collection’s signature x-shaped upper bridge, which is finished with a black diamond-like carbon coating. The caseback features a crystal that allows observation of the steady pulsing of the watch’s balance. The dial is given splashes of color from the glow-in-the-dark SuperLuminova on its hands and indices. The date is highlighted at 3 o’clock and a tachymeter for calculating speeds appears on the flange. The small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock does not actually use hands, but rather a constantly rotating turbine-shaped wheel. Echoing its hardy aesthetic, the watch comes on a perforated black rubber strap that should be able to handle all manner of abuse.
The BR-X1 Military will be limited to 250 pieces and priced at $23,000 apiece.