In 1992, Carlos A. Rosillo and Bruno Belamich, two childhood friends, joined up for one of the most legendary adventures in watchmaking of the late 20th century. They decided to operate under a simple notion: “function shapes form.” The mission of the company was to create watches equipped for the extreme conditions of professional use, while also symbolizing the grand tradition of Swiss watchmaking.
The Bell & Ross brand would be defined by three words: efficiency, legibility and reliability. From its factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, Bell & Ross continues to stand by these principles, making the brand a top choice for pilots, astronauts, divers and bomb disposal experts worldwide.
Without a doubt, the brightest idea among the two young investors—as they started out as watchmakers—was to collaborate immediately with Sinn, a renowned manufacturer specializing in the production of dashboard meters. This would mark the beginning of Space One and Hydro.
The second idea was to kick off the adventure by giving the brand a strong identity as an efficient chronometer and to satisfy the needs of extreme professionals. Immediately utilized by NATO and the Air Force, the Bell & Ross Watch Company also equipped members of the French security service’s bomb disposal squad.
To emphasize its commitment to quality, Bell & Ross went on to develop the Hydromax, the most reliable watch in the world. This model is used for deep underwater work, with the abyssal world record for water resistance up to 11,000 meters. They also successfully restored the taste for pilot watches, which thrived in the 50s and 60s but had since disappeared.
A Quick Overview of the Bell & Ross Timeline
1994: Bell & Ross re-issued the famous Space 1, the original automatic chronometer to go to space. This model was originally worn on the wrist of German astronaut Reinhart Furrer during the Spacelab mission in 1983.
1996: The company released the Bomb Disposal Type, ordered by the bomb disposal unit of the French Security Services. This watch had an anti-magnetic, A-magnetic case, and the reliability and precision to meet the specific needs of bomb disposal operations.
1997: The Bell & Ross Hydro Challenger set the world water resistance record and made the Guinness Book of World Records. The brand proved that the watch could function at an incredible 11,000 under water.
1998: The Space 4 chronograph embodies all of Bell & Ross’ know-how. This watch is equipped with a screwed down, telescopic retractable winding crown, referred to as the T-Crown system—which allowed the winding crown to be integrated entirely within the depth of the case.
Shop for Bell & Ross watches by visiting
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at the Willow Grove Park Mall in PA.
2001: Bell & Ross rolled out the modern multifunction men’s watch Function, marrying classic style with the modern movements of an analog and digital display.
2002: The first jumping hour hand watch with a power reserve indicator was announced. The Vintage 123 Heure Sautante was the result of the collaboration between Bell & Ross and the Swiss master craftsman Vincent Calabrese. Designed with an automatic movement, this exquisite complication offered an easy, traditional way to tell time.
2003: Bell & Ross impressed the ladies with the Mystery Diamond, which magically concealed the secret mystery of its weightlessness: a diamond that floats and turns between the dial and the crystal to show the time.
2005: The BR01 was released, characterized by a mechanical automatic movement, 46mm case and a design aesthetic based on aeronautical instrumentation. Because of the iconic squared cases, this is Bell & Ross’ most popular model in the brand’s aviation collection. The BR03 comes with a 42mm case that’s ideal for customers with smaller wrists. And the BR-S timepieces are even smaller with a 39mm case, and a variety of colors and designs for the ladies.
Fast Forward to Present Day
Although these watches were designed to meet the specific needs of extreme professions, their design and technology have strongly influenced Bell & Ross’ current selection. And there are plenty of watches perfect for enthusiasts who may not be traveling to space or diving thousands of meters below sea level any time soon.
There are currently three Bell & Ross collections to choose from: Marine, Aviation and Vintage. Each model is equipped with distinct functions, however, they all share three common traits: excellent Swiss mechanical movements, optimal water resistance and clear visual indicators.
The professional diver’s watches of the Marine collection feature decompression valves and faces that are perfectly legible in dark conditions. The Chronograph edition is guaranteed water resistant up to 500m and the automatic model will continue ticking at 1,000m.
The vintage collection, on the other hand, is meant to rekindle the spirit of wristwatches worn by pilots in the ’40s, offering a more elegant look than the other collections. Natural leather straps, folding buckles and satin finish cases are par for the course in this classic line.
Looking to buy a Bell & Ross watch? Precision Watches & Jewelry, an authorized dealer at the Willow Grove Park Mall in PA, has a complete lineup to choose from. Stop by our location, explore our site or contact us today for more details.
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