The specialty of Sinn, coupled with the ideology of Belamich and Rosillo, led to the partnership of French watchmaking group and German manufacturer in 1992. Bell & Ross was born with the singular aim “to create timepieces perfectly suited for professional use”.
After only six years in business, Bell & Ross caught the eye of Chanel Horlogerie, who purchased stake in the new company in 1998. By 2002, Chanel had purchased a larger stake, Belamich and Rosillo had retained majority holding, and Bell & Ross became an independent entity producing watches in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
To this day, Belamich and Rosillo remain close with their mentor, 99-year-old Helmut Sinn. In the early days, success required more than a great partnership. Within the first six years, Bell & Ross had produced three exceptional timepieces which clearly demonstrated their commitment to performance under the most demanding circumstances.
Space, Ocean Depths, and Bombs: Oh My!
Shortly after their founding, Bell & Ross issued the Space 1, the first automatic chronometer worn in space. Adorning the wrist of German astronaut Reinhart Furrer on a 1983 Spacelab mission, the Space 1 was the epitome of function, operating in zero gravity outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. The 1994 edition demonstrated the commitment to utilitarianism, while provoking a sense of history which positioned the brand for their next leap forward.
In 1996, Bell & Ross produced the TYPE DEMINEUR (Bomb Disposal Type). Composed of an anti-magnetic, a-magnetic case, the watch found favor with the French Security Services. Requested for production due to its legibility, reliability, and precision matching the operational specifications of the French government, the bomb disposal type brought to life the mantra of “function shapes form”.