There are over a half a million kilometers of coastline in the world with more than 2 billion individuals living within earshot of said shore — and someone’s got to keep ’em all safe. The Bell & Ross V2-94 & V2-92 Garde-Côtes watches celebrate the men and women of the globe’s many branches of the Coast Guard who do exactly that, using a set of sporty and capable watches that look and feel as though they’re easily around the task.Now, if the V2-92 and V2-94 Garde-Côtes variations seem eerily similar to the recent vintage-inspired V1-92 & V2-94 Bellytanker pill watches that’s OK — Bell & Ross meant to do this. The ‘Classic’ (delineated from the ‘V’ here) collection includes a consistent layout purpose and aesthetic, that has been demonstrated to be quite popular for the French manufacturer, so obviously we had been bound to see a few more color treatments to the original three monochromatic options introduced before this year.Each measuring a much more traditional 41mm, both the V2-92 and also the V2-94 come in considerably smaller than Bell & Ross’ square-shaped 46mm BR 01, whose tool panel inspiration has become a signature of this newest. And as a result of this one-two punch of a slim profile and a trendy, vintage-inspired aesthetic, the conservative silhouette works particularly well on a huge variety of wrists too — something that should really appeal to anyone looking for an inoffensive, yet sporty alternative to the similar, yet equally excellent Diver 65 from Oris.At the asking price for Bell & Ross however, you do begin to see subtle vases typical with watches of this cost point: stuff like beveled hands, a sloping date window cutout, and snailed and recessed sub-dials around the chronograph. You also receive a very generously domed sapphire crystal, along with an exhibition caseback which bears a marginally non-specific Coast Guard theme that also slightly obscures a clear look in the finishing about the movement within. For the V2-92 3-hand option, you’re taking a look at an automatic BR-Cal. 302, which is basically a modified Sellita SW300-1, also about the V2-94 chronograph, the movement is Bell & Ross’ Cal. 301 — a altered ETA-2894-2.
Bell & Ross takes the transparency of the skeleton watch a step further with the BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire – floating a minimalist, open-worked movement inside a clear sapphire crystal case.
The brand mastered the art of cutting, and polishing the notoriously brittle material last year, launching itself into the high-dollar orbit of Richard Mille and Hublot, the foremost adepts of the sapphire watch case. That’s thanks to the fact the Bell & Ross’ parent, the Parisian fashion house Chanel, also owns one of the best case and components makers in Switzerland.
The new skeleton tourbillon is the third instalment in the Bell & Ross sapphire series that started with the half-million dollar BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Sapphire, and followed by the extra-flat BR-X2 Tourbillon Micro-Rotor.
The large, 45mm case of the BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire is made up of nine pieces of clear sapphire crystal, the case middle, back, top, crystal and four bumpers, held together by vertical and lateral screws. Notably, despite the complexity of its construction, the case still manages a water-resistance rating of 30m.
The transparency of the watch is undergirded by the skeletonised hand-wound BR-CAL.288, a hand-wound movement with 100-hour power reserve. Designed so the main plate and bridges form three horizontal struts, the movement has an architectural, airy feel.
The hour and minute hands sit just above the barrel, with the gear train arranged vertically and the flying tourbillon at six. Despite the modern styling of the movement, the balance wheel is traditional in detail, featuring solid gold screws for poising.
It is a variant of the BR-CAL.285 found in the preceding BR-X1 Tourbillon Chronograph, but with a different architecture to ensure a panoptic view of the tourbillion from the top, bottom and sides. Like many of Bell & Ross’ complications, it was developed by movement specialist MHC Manufacture Haute Complication.
Price and Availability
The BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire (ref. BRX1-SKTB-SAPHIR) is a limited edition of just eight pieces and is priced at US$385,000 or S$535,000.