WR: We see a lot of watches now being made of precious metals or covered in diamonds. Is this something Bell & Ross would go in?
Bruno Belamich: It’s one of many directions we could take. The wrong direction is to do like other brands or to follow the trend. It will get you more of an advantage if you do what you like and explore as many directions as you want with a line. With our watches we can design a gold version, a white version, a diamond version even. It comes down to what the market wants, if it asks us to do a diamond version then we’ll try to bring the identity with it.
WR: Let’s talk a little bit about the BR 01 Airborne, what inspired the design of the piece?
Bruno Belamich: As you can see it’s evident that we needed to use a square form. We put the skull and cross bones on it as the skull is the symbol of danger. By creating this watch it becomes it’s own kind of jewel for the wearer. It’s a good design exercise for us. With this we can produce many different versions of material what’s interesting is that with this, the bronze version, it changes hue depending on the environment, sometimes it’ll be blue and sometimes brown which I feel is very unique.
This other piece (WW1 Edición Limitada) is a limited edition made in the style of a cigar smoker’s watch. We chose this design because it’s a classic design from our collection and takes its inspiration from the people who put lugs on their pocket watches to make wrist watches. We had the idea to introduce this classic form in the collection and it was the best to link to cigar smokers with its brown dial and a specific movement with a long power reserve and the open heart showing the spiral balance. There’s many details to make it interesting to collectors that also give it a high level finish.
WR: We’ve spoken about complications in watches, which do you think we are most likely to see next on a Bell & Ross watch?
Bruno Belamich: I like chronographs because they’re a good complication for a sport watch or a limited edition watch. This year we introduced a tourbillon chronograph with a column wheel. Apart from that I don’t know because I also like minute repeaters and we already have a watch with this complication. Maybe we have to invent a new complication or mix some of the existing ones into a new form for Bell & Ross. What Iike in mechanical displays is the discs which are difficult to make because of the size of writing on them and their position on the movement.
WR: Thank you very much for your time today, Mr Belamich.
Now let’s talk about the boutique itself. It’s located in unit’s 48 and 49 of London’s prestigious Burlington arcade and it’s usual opening hours are 10:00AM until 5:30PM for most days. It’s in a prime location as it’s right around the corner from the world’s most prestigious horological area, Bond Street. There you’ll find the top end brands such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet and Jaeger LeCoultre all have boutiques there.
Due to the age of the building it’s in, the Bell & Ross boutique is quite narrow with a display case running along the back wall and also through the middle of the ground floor. It’s very old world themed downstairs with wood flooring, wood panelling and big wooden bookshelf at the back with lots of aviation books and artefacts on it. Walk away from the desk towards the narrow stairs and go up them, on the second floor is a lovely sunlit room which has an open area and some lovely seating where I met and spoke with Bruno.
The party in the evening consisted of the celebratory cutting of the red ribbon to declare the boutique open. As well as this there was a lovely red carpet with a live jazz band playing soft music which created the perfect atmosphere.
There were delectable nibbles coming out of the kitchen (some of which I intercepted) and also glasses of Bollinger champagne to celebrate with. The fact that the Burlington Arcade is quite narrow meant that it was jam packed by the time I arrived there and it was literally buzzing with excitement. Overall it was a fantastic evening and I’m very glad that I was present for the event on behalf of WristReview.
A keen bass guitar player, Harlan enjoys all the perks modern watchmaking technologies the industry has to offer. Although you might catch him sampling Omegas or the Rolex, Harlan loves all things haute horology, with his three favourite brands being A.Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. He hopes to study timekeeping more in depth someday and will never be able to thank his father enough for introducing him to the industry. Read his articles here.