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Bell & Ross

For Bell & Ross, each detail has a specific meaning and function: functionality is key, and minimalism – dispensing with superfluous ornamental details in favour of essential aspects – is vital.

About

The history of Bell & Ross began in 1992, when the French watchmaking firm joined forces with a German company, Sinn, specialising in the manufacture of aircraft navigation instruments.

This was not merely a project – Bell & Ross was committing itself to an entire mission: inventing, designing and producing exclusive, no-nonsense timepieces for professionals of the extreme.

By combining the expertise of Sinn with Swiss watchmaking tradition, Bell & Ross has succeeded in producing iconic time-keeping devices whose performance is unbeatable.

The reputation of Bell & Ross is based on four fundamental principles: readability, watertightness, functionality – and the accuracy of its timepieces. The latter bear witness to unique watchmaking knowhow that fulfils all the requirements of even the most stringent military specifications.

Scaling the heights right from its beginnings in 1997 – thanks to its own production facility – Bell & Ross upholds the art and fine traditions of Swiss watchmaking in its Chaux de Fonds workshops. Bell & Ross watches are inspected at every stage of their production and bear the inscription “Swiss Made” – the epitome of excellence all over the world.

Bell & Ross is an icon that has been adopted by many elite bodies. Today the firm is the official supplier for many space missions, armed forces and special units, including the Spacelab mission (1994), the minesweeping division of France's civil security agency (1997), French RAID and GIGN special units (2005 and 2011 respectively) and the French Air Force (2008).

1992
The Bell & Ross project is born.
1994
Presentation of the first collection.
1997
Bell & Ross moves into its own production facility in Switzerland.
2005
Creation of the AVIATION BR01 collection. Birth of a watchmaking icon.
2011
First Bell & Ross store opens.
Philosophy

For Bell & Ross, each detail has a specific meaning and function: functionality is key, and minimalism – dispensing with superfluous ornamental details in favour of essential aspects – is vital. Inspired by this spirit, these timepieces have won their place in today's world, paying scant heed to passing fads in watchmaking. Bell & Ross watches are uncompromisingly technical and robust.

Bell & Ross has drawn its inspiration from the innovative, high-performance history of aeronautics –and the military specifications that are inherent in the industry. This guiding spirit has fuelled the development of Bell & Ross collections right from its first watchmaking designs.

Collections

Aviation

This collection echoes aircraft instruments – more precisely, the control panel. There are three models: the BR 01 46mm; BR 03 42mm and BR S 39mm.

Marine

This collection of professional diving watches, fitted with decompression valves, comes in automatic and chronograph versions.

Vintage

This collection evokes key eras in the history of aviation and the accompanying the changes in pilots' watches. It comprises three models: the PW1 makes reference to 1910s pocket watches; the WW1 and WW2 pay tribute to the wristwatches of pilots in the 1920s and 1940s; the Vintage BR, with automatic and chronograph versions, recalls the watches worn by pilots in the 1940s and 50s.

Watches

Bell & Ross history and heritage

It's a name that sounds English, but it is actually derived from the brand's two co-founders, designer Bruno Belamich and businessman Carlos A. Rosillo, both born in France. Bruno Belamich had always been passionate about watches and his dissertation entitled "The launch of a watchmaking brand specializing in the production of functional watches for professional use" foretold the birth of the Bell & Ross brand.

The company has its roots in the duo's hometown of Paris. At first, its timepieces were produced by the German company Sinn (where Bruno Belamich had worked), but Bell & Ross opened its own production facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, in 2002.

From the outset Bell & Ross watches have been built to satisfy the call for functional timepieces for military and aviation use. Among the great variety of pilots' watches available on the market, Bell & Ross watches stand out because they look as if they have been removed straight from the cockpit to place on the wrist. Like all good aviation watches, their dial is highly legible (one of the company's four key design principles, along with functionality, reliability and precision). The respect of these core values has also made Bell & Ross timepieces the watch of choice for the men in many professional outfits whose activities call for reliability and absolute precision in a watch, such as fighter pilots, aviation companies, bomb disposal experts, armed forces and the coast guard. The BR 03-92 Commando is the perfect generic tribute to these professions and has a polished case in black ceramic.

Aviation and vintage - two pillars of the watch collection

The company's watch collection is separated into two very distinct pillars. On the one hand there are the vintage watches, on the other the instruments. The Bell & Ross Vintage collection comes in a traditional round case, exclusively in stainless steel, and offers traditional automatic three-hand and automatic chronograph models. They offer a classic look that encapsulates the heritage of the military watch, from pocket watches to trench watches and the modern chronograph.

The Bell & Ross Aviation watches, on the other hand, primarily use a black square case (black PVD treated steel, or even carbon fibre, is also used) in keeping with the collection's source of inspiration - cockpit instruments - which need to be black so that they do not reflect any sunlight that could distract the pilot or make the instruments unreadable. The aesthetics of such cockpit instruments are seen in the dial of these watches, which can be paired with a rubber or leather strap to change the theme of the watch from sport to vintage at a stroke. Models such as the BR-126 sport heritage combine the best of both worlds. The brand even offers the BR 01 Gold Ingot model made entirely from rose gold: case, dial and hands.

Precision from Switzerland meets design from France

Inside every Bell & Ross watch is a reliable Swiss Made mechanical movement, more often than not automatic, which is built to withstand the rigours of professional life on land, in the sky or even at sea. In the brand's more innovative experimental watches one can also find high-end movements such as the tourbillon in the BR-X1 Tourbillon. The brand has also conquered the deep with its Hydromax 11,100m world record diver's watch, reaffirming its credentials for extreme and sport use.

Because of their history and their professional applications, Bell & Ross is above all a brand for men, although the company also offers diamond-set versions of its square case model in the form of the BR-S. The brand also uses high-tech materials such as ceramic and the occasional touch of gold for some added value over its base models in steel, as well as special watches produced in a limited edition to commemorate anniversaries of its many professional associations. More often than not, the dial is a black colour (paired with a matching strap in black leather or black rubber) that evokes the link with aviation instrumentation, though other more adventurous colours are also available.

The majority of Bell & Ross men's watches are available for purchase direct from the company's own website with a modest supplement to the price required for shipping. Thanks to the use of stainless steel for the majority of cases, the brand’s watches are attractively priced in the automatic sport watch category.