From Dissertation to Reality: The Founding of Bell & Ross

Bruno Belamich - the Bell in Bell & Ross.
Bruno Belamich – the Bell in Bell & Ross.

Triple tourbillons and a Vallée de Joux heritage have their place, but if you ask Bruno Belamich what it takes to start a watch brand, he would say a strong design aesthetic combined with a passion for aeronautics. Also: “courage, ambition, dedication, consistency, attention to detail and a clearly defined goal.” Bruno and his partner, businessman Carlos Rosillo, worked these ingredients into the Bell & Ross brand in 1992. The distinctive large case, instrumentation design theme and highly readable dials have since become instantly recognizable and have achieved cult status. The brand is a testament to the importance of design.

As a teenager, Bruno’s passion for aviation led to an interest in fine engineering and instrumentation, and from there a taste for functional design. This led him to the Paris industrial design school ENSCI, where the title of his final dissertation was, prophetically: “The launch of a watchmaking brand specializing in the production of functional watches for professional use.” By this time, Bruno was working for the German brand Sinn, known for its navigational watches and on-board instrumentation.

After two years of research and development, Belamich and Rossillo (shortened to Bell & Ross) introduced their first watches in 1994, in partnership with Sinn and sold under the label Bell & Ross by Sinn. “We created an extremely precise collection that immediately categorized us as a niche brand,” says Bruno. “In a way, it defined us as a brand that knows what it wants, with a clear objective and a solid collection with a distinct personality.”

Later this month in Basel, the brand introduces a collector’s box of six BR 01 models, with three new pieces (Heading Indicator, Airspeed and Climb) and three classics (Horizon, Altimeter and Turn Coordinator). It is limited to 99 boxes.
The new BR 01 Climb is one of the new models included in the BR 01 collector's box.
The new BR 01 Climb is one of the new models included in the BR 01 collector’s box.

A six-piece collectors box of Bell & Ross BR 01s.

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