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A Guide to Bell & Ross Watches

A Guide To
Bell & Ross Watches

Shaped by military standards and afflated by aeronautical precision, Bell and Ross timepieces are designed for professionals working in extreme conditions with an eye firmly on gentleman's styling. True to the founding principles of legibility, functionality and their industrial blueprint, the Parisian-designed, Swiss-made watches are as much a fashion brand as they are a functional chronometer. They were originally crafted for astronauts, pilots, divers and mine clearance experts.

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History of Bell & Ross
luxury watches

In 1992, the industrial designer Bruno Belamich ("Bell"), together with his longtime friend Carlos Rosillo ("Ross"), a business manager, founded the company Bell & Ross. The company’s headquarters is located at Rue Copernic in Paris in a street named after the mathematician and astronomer Nicolas Copernicus (1473 - 1543). Belamich had begun his career in horology as an intern working for former air pilot and watchmaker Helmut Sinn. He teamed up with Rosillo to capitalise on their shared passion for timepiece design and at Sinn, the pair built their first watches. Early successes led Bell and Ross to establish their own production facility and since 2002, the firm’s luxury designs have been produced in La-Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland, the watchmaking centre of the renowned Swiss city.

Iconic Bell & Ross watches

Bell and Ross firmly established themselves at the pinnacle of specialist watchmaking with the introduction of the BR 01. Taking inspiration from aeronautical instrumentation, the model is a perfect replica of an aircraft cockpit watch where legibility and reliability are absolutely paramount. The design features large hands, easy to see numerals and perfect contrast. The BR 01 has found a lasting place on the watchmaking scene and has asserted itself as a reference model alongside those specialist brands that have been in existence for decades.

There have been over 150 variations of the BR 01, with some of the most sought after including the BR 01 Skull and Radar and limited editions such as the Airborne and Skull & Crossbones models as well as bronze, gem-set and luminescent variants. Likewise, the company’s first dive watch, the Hydromax, caused waves when it was first launched in 1997. Bell and Ross designed a rugged, reliable and professional solution to a marine environment. The Hydromax holds one of the most impressive records for water-resistance to 11,100 metres.

core codes to the depths, space and back

Since their humble beginnings a little under a quarter of a century ago, Bell & Ross have conquered land, sea and sky with their timepieces. An early version of the company’s Space range was the first chronometer to enter orbit in the mid-1990s. Looking to the future, the BR X1 range has been designed with one eye on those who may go to space for a short break. Based on that initial strong reaction in the diving world, Bell and Ross launched the Diver 300 Chronograph, followed by the BR02 range and the BR03-92. Squadrons including the French elite tactical police forces, RAID and GIGN and the French Air Force have adopted Bell & Ross watches. While today’s manufacturers tend to license and borrow parts from other competitors, Bell & Ross keep the operation largely in-house to ensure the majority of the Bell & Ross gear on your wrist is actually Bell & Ross. The only exception to this rule is the strap. That job goes to some of the finest tanneries in Italy, who produce and provide most of the natural-fabric straps.