Limited Edition watches Baselworld 2015 Review

by Angus Davies,

As many ladies will attest, to attend a soirée and bump into a fellow guest wearing an identical dress can result in a moment of flush-faced embarrassment. Some well-heeled ladies will avoid this social faux-pas by commissioning a unique couture creation. However, for the majority of women this latter option will prove financially elusive. 


In a similar vein, the most affluent of watch collectors will commission bespoke creations with altitudinous pricing to match. 


The majority of prospective purchasers of quality timepieces seek an off-the peg solution. These watches may well lack the exclusivity sought by the cognoscenti, but should prove more viable to those lacking an oligarch’s bank balance. 


Interestingly though, there is the ‘third way’ available within the sphere of horology, namely the ‘limited edition’ watch. This particular category provides a tempting melange of fascinating timepieces, ranging from a limited series of half a dozen rare beauties to the more affordable propositions limited to, say, 2000 examples. 


It is with the notion of ‘limited editions’ in mind, that I looked for some scarce delights at Baselworld among the multitude of new watches on display and selected a few personal favourites. 



Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Chronograph - Carbone Forgé 


When it comes to creating a uniquely styled watch, the designer’s task to create an innovative shape is virtually impossible. 


Throughout the history of watchmaking there have been numerous examples of different forms that transcended the ubiquitous circular shaped watch. For example Gérald Genta’s iconic Royal Oak model employed an octagonal case to spellbinding effect, attracting legions of admirers. 


In recent times, the problem facing many ambitious watch designers is to successfully meet the increasingly challenging goal of innovating a watch that exhibits an unprecedented aesthetic. 


In 2005, Bell & Ross created something quite unique with the release of its BR 01. This square watch resembled an aeronautical instrument and brimmed with modernity. The watch brand has gone on to release numerous variants of the BR 01 and subsequently launched a smaller version, the BR 03. 


This year, Bell & Ross has created another intriguing new watch, the BR-X1 Skeleton Chronograph - Carbone Forgé, limited to only 250 pieces. It provides a fascinating fusion of high-tech materials. 


The 45mm case is created from forged carbon. I have witnessed this material being manufactured and the process involves carbon fibres being placed in a mould, together with a type of resin, and subjected to heat and pressure. The result is an impervious material which features a smooth, dappled finish, proving both lightweight and strong. 


Bell & Ross has fitted a ‘bumper’ surrounding the forged carbon case, presented in ceramic and rubber. It is this interesting mix of different materials which further differentiates the BR-X1 from many other watches. 


The neoteric styling extends to the open-worked dial which reveals the date disc along with various wheels and jewels. The complex vista presented is fascinating and proves beguiling to examine at close quarters. 


If your objective is to seek something a little different from the mainstream and don a timepiece which is different from those worn by the majority of watch buyers, then the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Chronograph - Carbone Forgé may well be for you.