See-through watches are making a splash on the luxury watch scene. Earlier this year, with much fanfare, Hublot dropped the Big Bang Unico Sapphire. Swiss watchmaker MB&F has made waves with its eccentric ‘Space Pirate’ Sapphire Ultra. Now, French horology giant Bell & Ross has joined the fray with its BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire.
Revealed at this year’s Baselworld, the Tourbillon Sapphire possesses a sleek, skeletal beauty. Its masterful flying tourbillon movement is on full display, entirely visible from the top, side, and back. All this is made possible through the arduous process of milling sapphire into a functional, wearable form.
The BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire is cut from nine blocks of sapphire, with the middle piece, back, top, crystal, and bumpers all coming from separate blocks. Sapphire is a notoriously backbreaking material to work with, taking countless hours of cutting and polishing. One wrong move and the whole thing shatters.
Bell & Ross's efforts paid off beautifully with this luminous timepiece. Behold:
For a more detailed account, Bell & Ross Technical and Production Director Jean Paul Suchel gave a rundown at this year’s Baselworld. Watch and learn: