The story of Bell & Ross begins in the dawn of the 20th century. The French watch brand made contact with a German company specialized in aeronautical instruments. It was the beginning of a grand adventure.
More than involved in a project, Bell & Ross is on a mission: to imagine, create and produce exclusive and practical watches, destined to professionals working in extreme conditions. The brand honours its vocation to integrate in each creation the purest military tradition and the excellence of Swiss watchmaking, producing paramount watches with unparalleled performance – exceptional instruments for the needs of demanding experts.
In combining the talents of professional users (pilots, astronauts, explosive experts, etc.), master watchmakers, engineers and designers, Bell & Ross has invoked the necessary expertise to create exceptional collections, without concession or extravagance. A brand acknowledged and adopted by various elite teams, Bell & Ross is currently the official watchmaker for: Mission Space Lab (1994), Explosives Brigade in the French Civilian Security team (1997), Intervention team in French National Police – RaiD (2005), French Naval Aviation (2007), French Air Force (2008), Intervention Force in the French Police (Gendarmerie) – GiGN (2011).
The best in military watchmaking
Bell & Ross gained its reputation through the readability, airtightness, functionality and precision of its watches. Each piece demonstrates the unique watchmaking expertise that meets the highest military demands.
The brand pays tribute to the Helvetic exceptional watchmaking art at la Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, always respectful of tradition. Meticulously inspected at every stage of their creation, Bell & Ross watches show off the “Swiss Made” logo, a universal symbol of unparalleled excellence.
The history of military aeronautics in your wrist
Bell & Ross finds its inspiration in the story of aviation and the military specificity of that area of expertise, and always chooses a particular visual or technical characteristic from which to create an instrument of the highest quality.
Bell & Ross watch collection consists in five types of cases, each connecting to a stepping stone in the history of aviation, marked by technical or design revolutions.
In the beginning of the 20th century, when military aviation was still breaking ground, men wore wristwatches, valuable for their functions and the quality of their making.
This was the kind of watches the pioneers in the military aviation wore in their first flights. The Vintage PW1 faithfully replicates the style of those first wristwatches.
First World War: from the pocket watch to the wristwatch
It was during the First World War that the first wristwatches came to be – pilots needed to free their hands for their job and so watches became simpler and more ergonomic. The BR WW1 pays tribute to the first wristwatches worn by pilots: a distinctive large fob-watch type diameter, wire lugs welded to the sides of the watch to give the impression of horns and a thin leather strap, elegant yet strong.
Second World War: the advent of the modern watch
In the 1940’s, timepieces become essential instruments for professional navigation. As they evolved, they became more precise, presenting movements and functionalities that met a pilot’s different needs. The Vintage BR is a revamped reissue of those models. It represents the modern watch in its simplest form, inspired in readability of an instrument panel. These models combine the functionality of movements, the readability of the display, the ultra-convex glass and the leather bracelet.
Post War: creativity and innovation
The 1960’s are branded with great creativity, reinterpreting the styles from the past. It is also the decade for a new technology – quartz – to open new possibilities in terms of precision and ergonomics. The creation and technical characteristics of BR 02 perfectly illustrate this intense creativity.
Today: the instrument watch inspired in airplane instrument panel
Since the year 2000 we have witnessed a return to the fundamental principals, i.e., to what constitutes the essence of a watch’s mission: it’s performance and readability. And so it was that Bell & Ross took inspiration from the instruments panel of airplanes in order to create the first aviation instrument-watch: the BR 01. An iconic watch with its recognizable squared case, the BR 01 is a watch that celebrates sheer functionality.