Perhaps most easily recognizable for its rich history in the world of aviation, Bell & Ross has been creating wrist instruments and working with pilots since the very start. The brand continues to work with nearly a dozen top-notch military organizations around the world and produces watches for extreme circumstances, including pilot’s watches, dive watches, and more. One of its most beloved collections features the easily identifiable BR square case (with cushioned corners) with an inner round dial.
Bell and Ross is a French watch company founded in 1992 by two childhood friends Bruno Belamich and Carlos A. Rossillo, as a university project. The two Frenchmen shared a common vision to produce tool watches. The brand started by supplying their pilot watches to the French Air Force, with their unique timepieces manufactured by Sinn, a German watch manufacturing company. However, Bell and Ross’ partnership with Sinn dissolved in 2002, and the brand shifted its manufacturing to La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
Bell & Ross designs its watches as luxury tools under the tagline “Never let essential be compromised by superfluous.” As a result, most Bell and Ross watches are for professional use, evident by the brand’s military and aviation-inspired watch design. The brand began manufacturing watches with the square-shaped case in 2005 with its BR-01 model resembling an aircraft’s cockpit instruments. The company’s square-cased BR models became its most recognizable design.
1992 – Bell and Ross introduced the first jumping hour watch with a power reserve, the Vintage 123 Heure Sautante.
1994 – in association with the French space program, Bell and Ross’ Space 1 chronograph held the record for the first chronograph worn in space.
1998 – Bell & Ross’ Hydromax 11 100 M received the Guinness World Record for the first water-resistant wristwatch to withstand 11,000 meters.
In 2016, Bell & Ross surprised everyone by announcing their partnership with French automaker Renault Formula 1 sports team as a sponsor at Formula one Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
It was an unexpected turn for a brand with such a strong aviation identity to form a partnership in the car industry. It proved to be a wise move and propelled the brand to another level.
Bruno Belamich, the brand’s co-founder, and Carlos A Rossillo, its current CEO and co-founder own the company, with the Wertheimer brothers of Chanel as a partner.
The Bell & Ross brand name comes from both partners’ names: Bruno Belamich as Bell and Carlos A. Rosillo as Ross.
The Bell & Ross Vintage BR V collection is a reinterpretation of the aviation watches from the 1960s. Black, grey, carbon, blue, among others, are some of the dial colors available on steel or bronze watches. This Bell & Ross collection is the perfect option for those who need a sports watch with an aeronautical gauge and a military flair. The BR V collection includes watches with a round case: the BR V1 with a 38.5 mm case size, BR V2 with a 41 mm case size, and BR V3 for a larger wrist at 43 mm.
The Instruments collection launched in 2005 and fundamentally changed the company’s destiny and direction. The timepieces are modeled after the analog instrumentation of an aircraft’s flight deck. This collection combines Swiss watchmaking mechanics, vintage design, and modern technology with the Bell and Ross signature square case. The Bell & Ross Instrument collection includes the BR 01, with a 46 mm case size, BR 03, with a 42 mm case size, and BR 05, with a much more compact 39 mm case size.
Bell & Ross introduced the Experimental collection in 2014 with the BR-X1. As a technical expansion of the BR 01/03 line, Bell and Ross’ BR-X collection features the same iconic square case from the Instruments line. Bell & Ross Experimental collection combines elements of sports watches with aspects of complicated watches, including skeletonized dials, applied indexes, and tourbillons. Bell and Ross BR X collection includes watches like the BR-X1 Military, BR-X1 Tourbillon, BR-X1 Titanium, BR-X2 Tourbillon, and BR-X2 Skeletonized Tourbillon.