Sapphire is a mineral whose scientific name is Corundum. Corundum is the second hardest material on earth, after diamonds. Almost impossible to scratch. So, no wonder why Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire sparked so much interest and is limited to only five pieces. The case is actually cut out of 9 blocks of sapphire: middle piece, back, top, crystal and four bumpers, assembled with screws.
The complexity of the case construction is not only a technical mastership challenge but also a way to enhance the protection of the watch. Cutting a watch case from a solid block of sapphire is an extremely long and difficult process. It takes tens and tens of hours of machining, then polishing, to produce a single case.
Movement is the Swiss hand-wind Bell & Ross in-house caliber 285 with 35 jewels, 21,600 vph and a power reserve of 4 days. This Haute Horlogerie Caliber is now built on a main plate, of which pillars are cut directly in the same block of metal as the plate. On the front side, the chronograph complication is highly visible, with the column wheel, the instant jumping minute and the function whips.
On the back side, many openings let see the power reserve differential as well as the barrel.
The flying tourbillon cage is seeable from everywhere: top, side, back.
It is a mono-pusher column wheel chronograph with flying tourbillon. Functions are: hours and minutes. Chronograph: 30-min timer at 11 o’clock, chronograph 60-sec timer at 1 o’clock. Power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock. Flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock.