Bell & Ross

Jasmine Dy

For something that started off as a university project, the level of success Bell & Ross have achieved so far is one that doesn’t come by to businesses too often. Bruno Belamich (Bell) and Carlos Rosillo (Ross) were childhood friends that became the powerhouse duo for this watch brand. The aim is to create timepieces that suited professionals who were constantly exposed to extreme conditions and situations but that still infused the elegance of Swiss watchmaking.

Bell & Ross Watch Reviews

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Driven by values and principles

Bell & Ross’ success wouldn’t reach such great heights if it hadn’t been for the values that have kept the brand grounded in one direction. The very first model for the brand was their focus on “function shapes form.” This has made the brand serious about targeting both aesthetic and purpose at the same time.

Legibility, functionality, precision, performance, resilience, and reliability are among the most important values for the brand. Bell & Ross watches are made to be used by professionals and exposed in the rigorous environment that their job entailed, so there was no room to fail in any of these aspects.

With phrases like “never let the essential be compromised by the superfluous” and “function drives design” that were always used within the company, it’s obvious where their priorities lie. Functionality should come first aided by the watch’s construction.

Bell & Ross BR 126 Aeronavale Vintage
Bell & Ross BR 126 Aeronavale Vintage. Time and Tide Watches

One grand collaboration

It took not only the two friends to create the impeccable Bell & Ross watches. It was a grand collaboration as the brand took on designers, engineers, and watchmakers and had them come together to look over all the aspects that had to be right for a utilitarian watch. After the product is made, it was then that professional users were consulted to test out the watches and whether they would fit even with the harshest situations on-the-job.

This process brought the production of Space 1, the first ever automatic chronometer to be used on a space mission in 1994. Just two years later, the Hydro Challenger earned a record at the Guinness Book of Records for having water resistance as resilient as to reach 11,000 meters below the surface of the water.

These two achievements were also made possible by the collaboration with Sinn, the producer of dashboard meters.

Bell & Ross Hydro Challenger
Bell & Ross Hydro Challenger
Bell & Ross by Sinn M1-156 Lemania 5100 Chronograph
Bell & Ross by Sinn M1-156 Lemania 5100 Chronograph.

Mechnical movement

Bell & Ross is one of those watch brands that have really brought technical innovation to the craft of watchmaking. Their watches’ engines are composed of hundreds of assembled parts to create a continuous and precise movement. They’re fine-tuned by a master watchmaker and should withstand any and all kinds of strenuous activity.

This mechanical movement, as what the brand calls it, is made in Bell & Ross’ production facility at La Chaux-de-Fonds. If not the general durability of their timepieces, this complex and effective assembly of parts should convince of the high quality of these watches.

Bell & Ross BR 126 Aeronavale Vintage Transparent Caseback Visible Movement
Bell & Ross BR 126 Aeronavale Vintage Transparent Caseback Visible Movement.

Remarkable timepieces

Apart from the Space 1 and the Hydromax, the Bomb Disposal Type watch has been one of the most notable of Bell & Ross’ earliest creations. In 1996, it was ordered by the French Security Services for its anti-magnetic quality and precision, which would be useful for the exact activity it was named after.

Their collections are categorized into Aviation, Marine, and Vintage. Each of these three are especially made for the specific requirements of the job and professionals they’re crafted for but they’re all equipped with the same excellent water resistance, mechanical movement that’s essential in Swiss watchmaking, and visual indicators.

The Aviation or Instrument collection is made of a lineup of BR watches. These are equipped with square cases that take inspiration from aeronautical instruments. The BR01-92 Compass, for example, is modelled after the actual compass instruments found in airplanes. Every piece is made more special by the number that indicates it’s one of the 500 made of this watch. Another Aviation watch, the BR01-92 Red Radar, shows the time through the image of a military radar display.

The Marine collection is distinguished by the decompression valves and faces that allow them to continue functioning even in great depths. The Chronograph edition’s water resistance reaches up to 500 meters while the Automatic edition reaches 1,000 meters. The Hydromax is the perfect representative for Bell & Ross’ Marine collection. If not the watch itself, the world record it was able to attain speaks of the foolproof water resistance it’s equipped with.

Thirdly, the Vintage collection is an aesthetically-indulgent one because of their reminiscence to watches worn by pilots in the ’40s and other olden decades too. They’re made with classic leather straps and a satin finish on the cases.

Collaborations keep this brand fresh and alive. Another one is with Swiss watchcraftsman Vincent Calabrese for the production of Vintage 123 Heure Sautante.

These accomplishments are already loaded with innovation for a brand like Bell & Ross which have only been around for 26 years. Today, it constantly works as an official supplier for elite units like the Armed Forces, the French Air Force, Spacelab Missions, and The Lafayette Escadrille.

Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver
Bell & Ross BR03-92 Diver

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