The Rake



I have always cherished masters of self-invention, from David Bowie to Archie Leach. But what do Ziggy Stardust and the irrepressibly suave Cary Grant have in common with the watch brand Bell & Ross? They never let history get in their way. Rather, they captured and bottled the zeitgeist of their respective eras, plotted an unstinting course in claiming our hearts, and kept us entertained beyond all others with their inimitable charm and style.

Bell & Ross originated in the vivid imagination and single vision of two of the nicest men in the Swiss watchmaking industry, Bruno Belamich and Carlos Rosillo. “We knew each other at school and we immediately got on,” Rosillo says. “Bruno was only in Paris for one year and then his family moved back to Burgundy. But one year was enough to know that we were destined to work together.” Their paths crossed again after Belamich had graduated from design school and Rosillo had finished his business degree and had worked for some years in finance. Together they envisioned a watch brand based on the military- and aviationstyle watches that had seized their imaginations since childhood.

In 1992 they started Bell & Ross with a $20,000 investment. Initially they collaborated with Sinn, who fabricated their watches for them during these early years. The brand made big news in 1997 when it created the Hydromax, a liquid-filled quartz watch that descended to 11,000 metres below sea level. The buzz they generated brought suitors, and that same year Chanel made a strategic investment in the brand.


In 2002 they were able to build their own manufacture and gain valuable autonomy from Sinn. Constantly inspired by aviation, in 2005 the brand unveiled a square watch based on cockpit aviation instruments called

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