Bell & Ross Alpine F1 Team Collection: three sporty A521-themed chronographs
It only took the Alpine F1 Team 11 races to win its first Grand Prix since it was rebranded from Renault and what a race it was. An afternoon steeped in rain, collisions and drama saw the sport crown its 111st race winner in 24-year-old Alpine driver Esteban Ocon while teammate and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso finished a strong fourth after a sublime race of his own.
The Alpine A521 piloted by the two drivers has been showing promising pace in recent races. And the 2021 car sets the theme for the latest Formula One collection by the team's official timekeeping partner Bell & Ross.
Bell & Ross's collaboration with the team dates back to 2016 when it was still competing as Renault. The brand's new Alpine F1 Team collection celebrates the new-look racing outfit and draws inspiration from its car and eye-catching tri-colour livery. These iconic design cues have been incorporated into three of Bell & Ross's signature cases, namely the BR V3-94, BR 03-94 and the BR-X1.
The BR V3-94 A521 is the only timepiece in the Alpine collection with a round case. The 43mm chronograph features two stopwatch counters and a duotone speedometer function that allows the wearer to calculate the speed of a racing car. The watch can be configured with either a calfskin leather strap or polished steel bracelet - the latter commands a RM1,400 premium over the V3-94 A521's RM19,000 base price. Bell & Ross only plans to produce 500 units of this timepiece.
Fans of Bell & Ross's signature square chassis can opt for the BR 03-94 A521, which offers largely the same functions found in the V3-94 but with a slightly different layout (the date is moved to 6 o'clock) and a sportier, perforated rubber strap. Like the V3-94, it runs on the BR-CAL.301 automatic mechanical movement and production is limited to just 500 units. Each one is priced at RM25,300.
At the top of Bell & Ross's Alpine-branded product shelf is something a lot more exclusive and precious: the BR-X1 A521. The watchmaker's unique skeleton timepiece features a multi-material case that combines grade-5 titanium, ceramic and rubber. Its rubber-coated titanium toggle push buttons supposedly mimic the paddles of a Formula One car's steering wheel while the glazed base offers a glimpse of the complex skeleton mechanism that watch connoisseurs pay good money for. How much? Try RM91,000, which sounds about right for something limited to just 50 units worldwide.
Naturally, all three models in the collection feature copious splashes of 'Alpine Blue', the brand's stylised 'A' which acts as the second hand's counterweight and of course, the French flag (V3-94 and 03-94 only). These watches will be worn by Alpine's F1 personnel throughout the remainder of the season, so pay close attention to Ocon and Alonso's wrists at their next press conferences.
If you want to secure your own Alpine timepiece, Bell & Ross is already accepting pre-orders. The V3-94 A521 should arrive first while the BR 03-94 and BR-X1 are only expected to ship in September.