Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 Chronograph: French Formula 1 feast

Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17
Black carbon fibre is the starting point and yellow hands, tachymeter scale, sub-counter rim complete the composition.

A French Formula 1 team deserves a French watch. The collaboration between Renault Sport F1 and Paris based Bell & Ross started last year and continues this season the BR03-94 RS17 Chronograph, the new flagship of a race-oriented line of watches in traditional yellow and black just like the first F1 turbo car from Renault way back in 1977.

A new Formula 1 season always brings new cars, new drivers and new watches. We already reported about the relative unknown F1 timing partner Felio Siby and now we look at Bell & Ross and Renault Sport F1. The new car is wider, lower and faster and German driver Nico Hulkenberg joins Brit Jolyon Palmer in the team. The new Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 uses the Renault F1 livery, meaning a black base with bright yellow elements to scheme, enlightened with bright yellow accents; a bit like last year’s watch and also a bit different.

A proper car watch

The black and yellow Renault Sport F1 machine

Like a proper car watch the BR03-94 RS17 is a chronograph. The use of ceramic for the case and carbon fibre for the dial is a direct link with ceramic disk brakes and, well, almost everything else on a F1 car. The 42mm case barely fits into a cockpit so it’s a good thing Bell & Ross used the ‘smaller’ BR03 case instead of the bigger BR01 round-within-a-square case. Matte black ceramic is lightweight, resistant, scratch-proof; very functional. The chronograph is operated with two rectangular pushers on the right side – one in yellow and one in black. A textured rubber strap with colourful elements completes the look. Bell & Ross started as an aviation-orientated maison. And since F1 drivers are also called pilots, it’s a small step from a pilot’s watch to a driver’s watch. The dial of the BR03-94 RS17 Renault Sport F1 shows a lot of similarities with aviation chronographs. Black carbon fibre is the starting point and yellow hands, tachymeter scale, sub-counter rim complete the composition. No surprises regarding the layout with central hours and minutes, small second at 3, 30-minute counter at 9 and a date between 4 and 5.

Limited to 500 pieces

The ceramic case keeps the automatic calibre BR-CAL.301 which is based on an ETA 2894, safe to a depth of 100 meter. Apart from the rubber strap we mentioned, the watch also comes with very tough black synthetic fabric strap. The BR03-94 RS17 Renault Sport F1 is a limited edition of 500 pieces and will set you back 5,600 Euro. Available soon through retailers and on Bell & Ross webshop.

Bell & Ross BR03-94 RS17 Renault Sport F1: Limited edition of 500 pieces • Movement: automatic calibre BR-CAL.301 • Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds at 3 o’clock. Date. • Chronograph for short time periods: 30-min timer at 9 o’clock, central chronograph seconds. Tachymeter scale on the flange. • Case: 42 mm in diameter. Matt black ceramic. • Dial: carbon fibre. Metal applique Superluminova®-filled numerals. Metal skeleton Superluminova®-filled hour and minute hands. • Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating. • Water-resistance: 100 metres. • Straps: black rubber and black synthetic fabric.


Tags : Bell & RossFormula 1Watches & Cars
Lex Stolk

The author Lex Stolk

Lex Stolk studied Journalism in Utrecht and it was during his time as a student he developed a passion for mechanical watches. He has spent his entire career in the publishing industry working for a wide range of publications before entering the watch world professionally seven years ago. His work for several watch publications made it possible for him to combine his love for both watches and magazines.