Bell & Ross is a relative newcomer to the watch industry, founded in 1992 by childhood friends Bruno Belamih (Bell) and Carlos Rosillo (Ross). The brand is headquartered in Paris, with watch production in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. For a decade, Bell & Ross has partnered with the German watchmaker Sinn. The Space 1 was the brand's first watch in 1994, a chronograph based on the Lemania 5100 movement with Bell & Ross by SINN written on the dial. In 1996, the Type Demineur watch was adopted by the bomb disposal unit of the French intelligence services.
Bell & Ross made its mark as a professional watchmaker with the motto "Function meets essence". The following year, the brand set a world water-resistance record with the Hydro Challenger - over 11,000 meters. The partnership with Sinn ended due to the brand's desire for industrial independence, which was realized thanks to the investment of Chanel Horlogerie, and in 2005 the brand released the iconic BR 01 watch.
Bell & Ross BR 01 and BR 03 watches
When talking about Bell & Ross, many people immediately think of the aesthetic of a round dial in a square case. The BR 01 was inspired by military aircraft gauges with square housings for easy installation on dashboards and four screws at the corners to secure them. These elements are present in the BR 01 and subsequent model variations. Functional design and easy readability of the dial determined the corporate identity of the brand. Starting with large 45mm by 45mm cases, the BR series has evolved with smaller models and experimental designs. The BR 03 was released in a 42mm case and comes with a date window, making it more practical to wear in everyday life. The company resorts to the use of new materials and complications (examples are the BR-X2 Skeleton Tourbillon Micro-Rotor and BR03-92 Diver models). Watches continue to be supplied to the special forces of a number of European countries.
Notable designs include the Skull series, launched in 2009, paying homage to World War II American paratroopers (whose logo was a skull and whose motto was "Death from above") and the BR 03-92 Red Radar released in 2011.