We’ve already seen a few watches released in conjunction with the Formula 1 season this year, from the TAG Heuer Monaco, to the carbon dialed IWC Pilot’s watch, and this week, Bell & Ross joins the mix to reveal their Alpine F1 A521 collection. Bell & Ross sponsor the UK based Alpine team, who are making their debut this year as the reformed Renault team (who B&R have sponsored since 2016). In honor of the new team, Bell & Ross have built three limited edition watches using the team’s black, white, and blue colors across the dial.
The watches come amidst the French GP race weekend, which saw Alpine’s veteran driver (and 2-time world champion), Fernando Alsonso, take P8 after starting in P9. The team also announced a new contract for their young French driver, Esteban Ocon (who finished P14) this week, assuring him a seat in the Alpine through the 2024 season. In light of this, I’d say B&R have picked an opportune time to release their Alpine F1 collection, which gets its A521 name after the cars competing on track. Quick tip of the hat to Red Bull and Verstappen on the win.
The three A521 watches fall within the V3, 03, and X1 families, and while the cases are all different, they share the same dual register chronograph layout and black, blue and white colorway. The V3 and 03 models are both limited to 500 examples, while the X1 will see just 50 made.
The BR V3-94 A521 is built on the same platform we reviewed here, featuring a broad 43mm case that slips just under 50mm from lug to lug and 13mm thick. The dial is quite different, however, with a full set of racy Arabic numerals at each hour, and sub dials that offer a peak under the dial. The hour totalizer has been ditched, leaving the minutes and a running seconds hand, each getting a white outline. Blue undertones are applied throughout, including a blue timing seconds hand with the Alpine “A” at its counterweight.
It’s the same story with the BR 03-94 A521, but here we find the familiar 42mm square case design of the 03 collection. The chronograph actuation uses a lever design rather than the buttons we usually see, and is something reserved for their F1 timepieces (first seen in the R.S. 18 collection). Both the V3 and the 03 use the Bell & Ross caliber 301, which is based on the ETA 2894-2 automatic chronograph movement.
Finally, the BR X1 A521 brings a fully transparent dial offering a view of the lovely proprietary bridge work featured on the BR cal. 313 (also based on the ETA 2894-2). The X1 gets a chunkier 45mm titanium and ceramic case with rubber inserts bristling from every corner. It’s a high-tech look befitting of the subject matter here and just 50 X1 A521s will be built at a price of $21,500.
The V3-94 A521 is priced from $4,400 on a carbon textured strap, and $4,700 on a steel bracelet, while the 03-94 A521 is priced at $6,400 on a perforated rubber strap. Each model is available to pre-order now with deliveries expected to begin in July. Bell & Ross.