Bell & Ross R.S 20 Watch Collection Review

It’s been four years since Bell & Ross first partnered up with the Renault F1 team and every year since, we have sat in anticipation for their latest collaboration. For 2020, the pair have launched the Bell & Ross R.S 20 watch collection which features four breathtaking chronographs all inspired by the adrenaline-filled world of motorsport. Engineered from high-tech materials like ceramic and titanium, the new offerings have also been carefully designed after Renault’s R.S.20 single-seater revealed on March 11 and Renault’s futuristic R.S 2027 Vision concept car – two muses that have hardened the updated collection as “outstandingly futuristic” yet “anchored in the present.”

 

Bell & Ross need no introduction, they are widely celebrated around the globe for their aviation inspired watches worn by professional and amateur pilots who require only the highest levels of functionality, robustness and precision.  But it was their deep connections to aviation that made the partnership with the Renault F1 team back in 2016 that more surprising. Leaving the skies and keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground, the Swiss manufacturer focused on a different kind of pilot, not one of an aircraft but one in a car cockpit. Sharing similar principles of power, performance and precision, Bell & Ross have effortlessly showcased their watchmaking tradition within every Bell & Ross R.S watch since. Within the new R.S 20 collection, we are treated to four limited edition models: a classic round-shaped watch, a square-shaped case and two skeletonised editions.

Bell & Ross BR V3-94 R.S 20 Limited Edition (BRV394-RS20/SST, BRV394-RS20/SCA)

 

Part of the brand’s vintage family, the first model within the Bell & Ross R.S 20 watch collection is the BR V3-94. Boasting a more classic and refined aesthetic than the others, the limited edition of 999 pieces features a classic round 43mm stainless steel case and a bi-compax display with a 30-minute timer at 9 o'clock, central chronograph seconds and continuous seconds at 3 o’clock. The functions are powered by the BR-CAL.301 automatic mechanical movement which promises a power reserve of 38 hours and is exhibited through the sapphire crystal case back.

 

Despite being part of the Bell & Ross Vintage collection, the Bell & Ross BR V3-94 R.S 20 Limited Edition stands its ground with a masculine, sporty finish predominantly secured by its bi-directional bezel with anodized aluminium insert and 60-minute countdown scale and the striking matte black dial decorated with a yellow tachymeter scale, applied hour markers with a white minutes track sectioned into black and white chequered squares to mirror the finish line flag used in motor racing. The addition of a classic satin-polished stainless steel bracelet or a sporty black-yellow carbon-effect calfskin leather straps allows you to complete the sporty aesthetic.

 

Specifications:

  • Case Size: 43mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel: Bi-directional
  • Glass: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
  • Crown: Screw in
  • Case Back: Exhibition
  • Water Resistance: 100 metres
  • Movement: BR-CAL.301 automatic
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o'clock, date, 30-minute timer, central chronograph seconds and tachymeter scale
  • Power Reserve: 38 hours
  • Dial: Black with Superluminova filled numerals and hands
  • Strap: Stainless steel bracelet or black calfskin leather
  • RRP: £3,500 (Leather), £3,750 (Bracelet)
  • Limited Edition: 999 pieces

Bell & Ross BR 03 94 R.S 20 Limited Edition (BR0394-RS20/SRB)

 

Next up is the Bell & Ross BR 03 94 R.S 20 watch featuring the iconic ‘circle within a square’ design that the Swiss brand has become so famous for. Originally inspired by dashboard instruments found in fighter jet cockpits, this new limited edition of 999 pieces is designed to assist pilots of a different kind with a stealthy all-black aesthetic and a sporty dial that perfectly fits into the cockpit of a sports car. Almost the entirety of the 42mm by 42mm case is engineered from high-tech matte black ceramic from the bezel, screws, pushers and crown ensuring an entirely scratch resistant design.

 

Similarly, to the V3 model above, the Bell & Ross BR 03 94 R.S 20 Limited Edition features a black dial with white and yellow accents and a bi-compax layout for the chronograph, however the date window has instead been moved to the 6 o’clock position – an unusual choice for Bell & Ross – for a more streamlined finish. The timepiece is also powered by the BR-CAL.301 automatic winding movement and is presented on a sporty perforated black rubber and ultra-resilient black synthetic fabric strap.

 

Specifications:

  • Case Size: 42mm
  • Case Material: Matte black ceramic
  • Bezel: Fixed
  • Glass: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
  • Crown: Screw in
  • Case Back: Closed
  • Water Resistance: 100 metres
  • Movement: BR-CAL.301 automatic
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o'clock, date, 30-minute timer, central chronograph seconds and tachymeter scale
  • Power Reserve: 38 hours
  • Dial: Black with Superluminova filled numerals and hands
  • Strap: Black rubber
  • RRP: £5,100
  • Limited Edition: 999 pieces

Bell & Ross BR-X1 R.S.20 Limited Edition (BRX1-RS20/SRB)

 

Third in the line-up is the Bell & Ross BR-X1 R.S.20 watch which is the first within the collection to showcase an exquisite skeletonised dial. The skeletonised variations of the Bell & Ross Renault Sport collaborations are always the most coveted, most expensive and hardest to get hold of with their low limited edition numbers. The Bell & Ross BR-X1 R.S.20 Limited Edition is limited to only 250 pieces and boasts a hefty price tag of £17,400, but deservedly so with its high-tech 45mm satin-polished titanium and ceramic case and mesmerising skeletonised dial.

 

The complex skeletonised dial instantly impresses as it shows off the 'X'-shaped upper bridge and some of the 56 jewels of the BR-CAL.313 automatic winding movement. As expected, we are still treated to the bi-compax style with hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o'clock, skeletonised date at 6 o'clock, 30-minute counter at 9 o'clock, central chronograph seconds and a bold yellow tachymeter scale on the flange. The bi-directional rotating PVD bezel ring with time marker provides additional functionality while the scratch resistant sapphire crystal glass provides perfect legibility of the skeleton dial and Superluminova filled numerals and hands. The sophisticated design of the Bell & Ross BR-X1 R.S.20 is completed by a perforated black rubber strap and a classic steel pin buckle with black rubber overmoulding.

 

Specifications:

  • Case Size: 45mm
  • Case Material: Satin-polished titanium and ceramic with rubber inserts
  • Bezel: Bi-directional
  • Glass: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
  • Crown: Screw in
  • Case Back: Exhibition, tinted glass
  • Water Resistance: 100 metres
  • Movement: BR-CAL.313 automatic
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o'clock, date, 30-minute timer, central chronograph seconds and tachymeter scale
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Dial: Skeleton with Superluminova filled numerals and hands
  • Strap: Black rubber
  • RRP: £17,400
  • Limited Edition: 250 pieces

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.20 Limited Edition (BRX1-CHTB-RS20/SRB)

 

Last but most certainly not least is the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.20 watch which like its counterpart above features a striking skeletonised dial but with an extraordinary tourbillon movement placed centre stage. The BR-CAL.283 calibre makes the £152,000 price tag well-warranted as its highly decorated monopusher tourbillon chronograph movement boasts an off-centred display with a jumping 30 minute counter and a 4 day power reserve. Through the exquisite skeletonised dial, you can even witness the flying tourbillon and the column wheel chronograph mechanism hard at work.

 

Limited to only 20 pieces, the Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon R.S.20 Limited Edition is a true collector’s item measuring to 45mm in size and engineered from high-tech satin-polished titanium and matte ceramic with rubber inserts and rocker mono-pushers. The bi-directional PVD bezel also provides a timer marker while the sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating and Superluminova filled indices and metal skeletonised Superluminova filled hour and minute hands provide effortless readability over the complex dial. The piece is completed by sporty black rubber strap and a steel pin buckle with black rubber overmoudling.

 

Specifications:

  • Case Size: 45mm
  • Case Material: Satin-polished titanium and matte ceramic with rubber inserts
  • Bezel: Bi-directional
  • Glass: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
  • Crown: Screw in
  • Case Back: Exhibition
  • Water Resistance: 100 metres
  • Movement: BR-CAL.283, hand-wound flying tourbillon
  • Functions: Hours and minutes, instant jump 30-minute counter at 11 o'clock, 60-second counter at 1 o'clock, power reserve indicator at 9 o'clock, flying tourbillon at 6 o'clock.
  • Power Reserve: 4 days
  • Dial: Skeleton with Superluminova filled numerals and hands
  • Strap: Black rubber
  • RRP: £152,000
  • Limited Edition: 20 pieces