We’re always talking about watchmakers with a 100+ year pedigree, founded by folks who lived back when electric lights were still an astounding innovation.
Well, Bell & Ross is just a fledgling company in comparison, but they’ve made some major waves nonetheless.
Founded in 1992 by a pair of French university students and lifelong friends, Bruno Belamich and Carlos A. Rosillo, Bell & Ross began with a simple philosophy that would go on to define all of their watches: Function shapes form.
The pair wanted to make watches that could actually be used by professionals in extreme conditions. For example, their early models included the Space 1, which was the first automatic chronometer worn in space, and the protective wrist armor piece known as the Bomb Disposal Type.
As the company grew, they began utilizing the expertise of professional pilots, divers, bomb disposal professionals, and even astronauts in the design and testing of their watches to ensure maximum performance under pressure. And we’re not talking pressure as in your boss needs that article written before you leave for the day at 5:30. We’re talking pressure as in a 4G inverted dive in an f-14 Tomcat while some bogies in Migs are playing cat and mouse.
Top Gun lore aside, that’s not much of an exaggeration. Among the company’s illustrious list of clients are the Lafayette Escadrille, the Space Lab Mission, and of course the French Air Force.
Of course, that’s not to say you have to be somebody who isn’t happy unless you’re going Mach 2 with your hair on fire to appreciate the elegance of a Bell & Ross watch. They’re as handsome to look at as they are functional.
Let’s take a look at some examples, all of which are in-stock and ready to ship here at WatchMaxx.
Bell & Ross pieces are generally in one of two categories of model – The Vintage models and the Instrument models.
The Vintage style is one that pays tribute to key eras of aeronautics, featuring a traditional round case, a very legible face, and a usually simplistic design that places functionality above all else.
This BR V2-92 is about as classic as it gets. Large numeric hour markers dot the quarters in a very legible white print against the solid black dial. The bezel rotates in case you need to time something, and there’s a date down between the 4 and 5 o’clock, but that’s about it in terms of bells (no pun intended) and whistles.
The look overall is sleek and classy and minimal, a dress watch that can truly be worn for all occasions. Since this is a Bell & Ross, those occasions could theoretically include the most extreme situations you can think of, like skydiving out of a UFO or something of the sort.
The Vintage models also come in the form of chronographs, like this limited edition V2-94.
We’re really struck with this model in particular because of the brilliant use of yellow highlights around the perimeter of the patterned black dial and on the second hand. While it’s true that the watchmaker always prizes functionality first, that doesn’t mean they can’t get a little wild with their aesthetics every so often.
The BR V2-94s are true pilot watches, with all the utility an aviator could ever hope for built into the incredibly tough stainless steel cases. Tachymeter, stopwatch, carbon fiber dial, this baby is ready for Mach 5 luxury.
The Instrument style watches are aesthetically inspired by the circle-square-style clocks from airplane cockpits. Their look is instantly recognizable and, if you ask us, incredibly cool.
This limited edition BR 03-92 features a bronze square case with a circular dial of the deepest oceanic blue at its center. The design as a whole is so stunning that it’s hard to peel our eyes away from it, but it gets even better when you take a closer look.
The four screws at the corners of the square are a trademark of these Instrument models, and they’re particularly cool looking in the bronze aesthetic. The dial itself is, as usual with Bell & Ross, completely flawless and clean in its design. The dark blue leather strap ties everything together perfectly.
On the other hand, we have this BR 05 which is, well, about as minimal as you can possibly get. In fact, there are exactly two shades represented throughout the entire watch: Grey steel and black rubber, and we love it.
There probably isn’t a force on earth that can damage this thing, and the look will go with any outfit you can throw together. For instance, a wetsuit, a space ranger uniform, a race car driver jump suit, etc. It would certainly work with more traditional things like shirts and pants and all that, but wouldn’t you feel kind of boring wearing this if you weren’t about to put yourself into some sort of extreme situations involving heroics and action?
Though, now that we think about it, those dinner parties with the in-laws can involve a healthy amount of danger.
Regardless, this watch represents the “function shapes form” philosophy that powers the core of Bell & Ross in every millimeter of its powerful utilitarian design.
The only thing it can’t resist is the ever sharpened blade of WatchMaxx’s special pricing. You can buy yours today at a 22% discount.
Bell & Ross is a brand that’s risen quickly in the world of luxury watches, and their eye-catching designs and incredible build quality make it easy to understand why. Feel free to browse our entire catalogue of in-stock pieces. You’re bound to find one that's perfect for you and your many adventures yet to come.