Last year, Bell & Ross became the official watch partner of the Renault Sport Formula One racing team — a move meant to expand the brand’s scope beyond its numerous aviation-influenced timepieces into the increasingly crowded arena of watches built around the design DNA, and high-tech materials, of high-performance automobiles. At a February 21 press conference in London, centered around the launch of the team’s new R.S. 17 Formula One race car, Renault and Bell & Ross also unveiled the new BR03-94 RS17 watch, which made its official debut at Baselworld 2017.
The new watch — which, according to Bell & Ross, will be one of a trilogy of Renault Sport Team watches it will introduce in Basel later this month — takes its design and materials cues from the Renault Sport Formula One (R.S. 17) race car (pictured below) and its livery. The square, 42-mm case is made of matte black ceramic, and designed to withstand shocks. The dial is made of carbon fiber, a lightweight and resilient material that has become widely used in the world of motor racing; its well-known texture echoes the look of the R.S. 17 car’s steering wheel. the case, which is water-resistant to 100 meters, has a sapphire crystal with nonreflective coating covering the dial. The applied numerals and hour and minute hands are filled with Super-LumiNova.
Powered by an automatic mechanical movement — Caliber BR-CAL.301, based on an ETA 2894-2 — the watch is equipped with a chronograph, whose central chronograph seconds hand, 30-minute totalizer subdial at 9 o’clock, and tachymeter scale along the dial flange are highlighted in yellow anodized aluminum; yellow has been the Renault team’s signature color since it first entered Formula One competition. The small seconds subdail at 3 o’clock is dashboard-inspired, and the date is tucked away in a small, round window at 4:30.
The Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17, a limited edition of 500 pieces, comes on a robust strap made of woven black rubber and extra-resilient black synthetic fabric and fastens to the wrist with a black PVD-coated steel pin buckle. The watch is priced at $6,200.