Indisputably the most brilliant idea of the two young inventors – when they started out as watchmakers – was, from the start, to closely collaborate with Sinn, a highly reputable manufacture. Sinn specialised in the production of dashboard meters.
Space One and Hydro were the fruit of this collaboration.
The second key idea was to get the adventure off the ground by giving the brand a strong identity as an efficient chronometer, to meet the needs of the most exacting user. Immediately adopted by NATO and the Air Force, Bell and Ross also found takers within the French security service’s bomb disposal squad. To make the point, they created Hydromax, the most reliable watch in the world, for deep underwater work, with the world abyssal record for water resistance to 11,000 meters. They also managed to restore with great success the taste for pilot watches that had flourished in the 50s and 60s, but which had since been forgotten.
1994 • Bell & Ross re-issued the Space 1, the first automatic chronometer to be worn in space, by the German astronaut Reinhart Furrer on the Spacelab mission in 1983.
1996 • Creation of the Bell & Ross Bomb Disposal Type, ordered for use by the bomb disposal unit of the French Security Services. The watch had an anti-magnetic, A-magnetic case, and the legibility, reliability and precision to meet the very special needs and constraints of bomb disposal operations.
1997 • World water resistance record awarded to Bell & Ross for the Hydro Challenger (11,000 meters in Guinness Book of Records).
1998 • The Space 3 chronograph brought together all of Bell & Ross’ know how. It is equipped with a screwed down, telescopic retractable winding crown, known as the T-Crown system, which enabled the winding crown to be fully incorporated within the depth of the case. Chanel Horlogerie took a shareholding in the capital of Bell and Ross.
2000 • Second increase in the Chanel stake, but Bell & Ross retained a majority holding.
2002 • First jumping hour hand watch with power reserve indicator. The Vintage 123 Heure Sautante was the fruit of cooperation between Bell and Ross and the Swiss master watchcraftsman Vincent Calabrese. Equipped with an automatic movement, this grande complication offered an easy, original way to tell the time. End of the collaboration with Sinn and autonomous production at Chatelain in Chaux des Fonds.
2003 • Bell & Ross paid timely homage to the ladies with the Mystery Diamond, that magically concealed the secret mystery of its weightlessness: A diamond floats and turns between the crystal and the dial to show the time.