Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bruno Belamich, creative Director - Bell & Ross

The folks at Bell & Ross were kind enough to share this with me so I thought I'd share it with you -

A childhood marked by the birth of the hi-tech revolution
From a very young age, Bruno Belamich developed a passion for drawing. His natural curiosity and inclination soon led him to what lay behind the object: its design. As a teenager in the 1980s, he grew up in the midst of the technological revolution, a period rich in innovation. His memories from that time include emblematic landmarks such as the Publicis Drugstore in Paris, as well as his first calculator. He then began to take an interest in innovation and performance, at a time when the masters in those arts were bringing them from Japan. This explains his early fascination with that captivating country which presented an insight into the world of the future.

His interest in watchmaking was born out of the transformation sparked by the first quartz watches.
The first iconic sports watches from this period also made a lasting 
impression on him. As a teenager, his passion for aviation led him to develop an interest in fine engineering and instrumentation. His father gave him his first "quality watch" for his 16th birthday – a LIP watch by Roger Tallon. This was the start of a burgeoning interest in traditional Swiss watchmaking, combining precision mechanics and advanced technology. This interest was to become a passion...

Courtesy of Bell & Ross

A very specific culture and apprenticeship
At the age of 20, Bruno Belamich saw design, which was still little known to the general public, as an indicator of things to come. He already felt that "Every opportunity should be taken to transform a moment into design.” So it was quite natural he should turn toward a career as a designer.

In the early 1990s, he enrolled at ENSCI (École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle) and designed his first pieces.

A precise vision
He then took a break from his studies for two years to do his military service in New Caledonia. This first long journey to the other side of the world appealed to his naturally curious spirit and his thirst for learning. It also made him want to explore new lands. His attraction to Asia took him to Hong Kong, the watchmaking mecca, where he settled down. He carried out a six- month placement in a design agency there, giving him a very clear vision of his future career and plunging him into the country’s watchmaking culture. He also 
found a real source of inspiration in avant-garde magazines such as MONO. 

A crucial meeting
Having gained valuable experience, he returned to Europe to continue his studies, while also working for the company Sinn. This German watchmaking brand, specializing in navigation watches and on-board instrumentation offered him his first real immersion in a world that fascinated him: aeronautics. There was an immediate affinity between the young student designer and the experienced manufac- turer of aviation watches, Helmut Sinn, fuelled by a shared passion for functional watchmaking.

Bruno Belamich’s end-of-course dissertation entitled "The launch of a watchmaking brand specializing in the production of functional watches for professional use" was a career concept where the first seeds of the Bell & Ross brand were sown. 


In 1992, their shared passion for watchmaking brought together Bruno Belamich and his childhood friend Carlos Rosillo. It led them to team up to work on an ambitious project: founding a watchmaking brand.

Alongside Bruno Belamich’s progress in the field of design, Carlos Rosillo studied finance, finally graduating from the H.E.C. business school. Combining their perfectly complementary skills, they founded Bell & Ross with the ambition of creating functional watches for professional use, inspired by aeronautical instrumentation.

Their military standard specifications led them to work with master watchmakers, engineers, designers and professionals with complementary talents.
They immediately began reflecting on a logo to lay the foundations of the brand. Bruno Belamich pictured it as extremely simple: pure, visual, effective, and capable of firing the imagination and evoking professionalism.

It soon became obvious they should contract their two names, Belamich and Rosillo. Above all, Bruno Belamich wanted a functional, legible typeface, reflecting utilitarian and timeless professional features. This led to the selection of the Din* and Franklin fonts, commonly used in the fields of aviation and security.  As a final touch, the ampersand completed the logo, which forms the shape of a watch laid out flat. The circle surrounding the ampersand represents the case, with the hands at the center. The "Bell" and the "Ross" form the two parts of the strap. The "&" in the circle is the symbol that identifies the brand. A character often used in functional signage, it was chosen to symbolize the unity of different skills.

The Bell & Ross logo was the first concrete manifestation of the designer’s functional training.
Never changed since it was first created, this logo is evidence, if any were needed, of the correlation between the spirit of the past and the modern brand.

Two years of research and development were required before the first Bell & Ross watches were released in 1994. The first of these were produced with Sinn and sold under the label Bell & Ross by Sinn. The Bell & Ross adventure had begun, with this first collection immediately winning acclaim from watchmaking professionals. After all, the most specialized retailers and the trade press can’t be wrong...

*Din ("Deutsches Institut für Normung" – the German Standardization Institute) 

Courtesy of Bell & Ross

Bruno Belamich has always been fascinated by aeronautical instrumentation and by the plane as a design object so intimately linked to its functionality and a key testament to technological changes. From the first timepieces, this inspiration has nurtured the development of the Bell & Ross collections, based on two clearly defined focuses:

• On the one hand, aeronautical instrumentation, specifically that of the instrumentation panel: the AVIATION Collection.

• On the other, the evocation of key eras in the history of aviation, through the development of pilots’ watches: the VINTAGE Collection.

Bruno Belamich develops his creations based on a key principle: "Every detail has its own meaning and function.” To design and manufacture his watches, the designer adheres to precise specifications, focusing above all on the needs and requirements of professional users. Functionality is key, and minimalism— sacrificing the simply ornamental and superfluous in favor of the essential— is vital. All Bell & Ross watches are therefore designed according to four fundamental principles necessary for the completion of missions under extreme conditions: legibility, functionality, precision and water-resistance.

This vision also characterizes Bruno Belamich’s belief in Functionalist Design from Scandinavia, Germany and Denmark. The heritage of the Bauhaus school, a pioneering artistic movement, which laid the foundations of modern architecture, also strongly influences the culture and work of Bruno Belamich.
This places him firmly in the tradition of the illustrious predecessors and design experts who have been his inspiration. These great names in design include Arne Jacobsen, George Nelson, Jasper Morrison and Marc Newson, for their modernity and creativity; Dieter Rams, the Braun designer in the 1960s, and Mies van der Rohe. And, of course, Jonathan Ive, the Apple designer for the way he popularized functionalist design. 

Courtesy of Bell & Ross

According to Bruno Belamich, the role of creative director is to harness design to benefit the company.
He must firstly respond to the user’s needs, then reconcile these with the company’s technical and production constraints, and finally incorporate them into a watch. Belamich starts by painstakingly iden- tifying the user’s needs to establish a list of specifications making it possible to define the watch’s functions. During the creative process, the concept initially finds its expression in a drawing produced by hand. This drawing is then reproduced as a plan, using specialist 3D modeling software such as CATIA. Technical studies are then carried 
out in close collaboration with Bell & Ross’s master watchmakers and engineers, in order to optimize the watch’s performance. A prototype is then produced and a long series of tests are carried out before mass production and commercial launch.
Depending on the model, this creative process may last from one to several years. Once the models have been optimized, Bell & Ross watches are developed, assembled and fine-tuned in the production facilities of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. 
Courtesy of Bell & Ross

The Bell & Ross watches created by Bruno Belamich are divided into three collections: AVIATION, VINTAGE and MARINE, and five types of cases, each corresponding to a key stage in the history of aviation.  whatever the style of the case, the watches have a distinctive sign immediately indicating their origin: the use on the dial of Adonis Cyrillic, a special typeface inspired by aeronautical signage.

The creative vision of Bruno Belamich, which has always driven him to design watches for professional use inspired by aeronautics, has not wavered. Over the years and the various collections, he has cultivated originality in consistency.

As he himself emphasizes: "The designer works for the brand and must adapt his creative approach to incorporate technological innovations.” This permanent quest for innovation and performance is what inspires him on a daily basis to create the Bell & Ross collections of tomorrow.   

Over time, Bruno Belamich has forged a philosophy based on three key aspects:
An approach, functionalism; a method, the union of skills; and a vision, the development of watches and the brand he founded.

Fired by the same passion and enthusiasm as when he produced his first collections, he remains more loyal than ever to this maxim: “Because he wants to reach for the stars and explore the ocean depths, because he lives out his passions to the fullest, man has always measured himself against time.... to turn a few seconds into a moment of eternity.” 

a favorite car: the Land Rover, which according to him, is to automobiles what Bell & Ross is to
a favorite place: driving alone in his car, his way of recharging his batteries.
a favorite plane: two legends, the Bell X-1 experimental supersonic rocket plane (1945) and the Rafale, the pinnacle of French aeronautical technology.
a favorite country: Japan, a country of visual perfection, which has the art of perfecting the smallest thing with precise refinement.
a favorite piece of architecture: the Villa Savoye, the Le Corbusier-designed house epitomizing modernity.
a favorite image: the work of photographers William Eggleston, Ronan Guillou and André Kertész for their sublimation of daily life and, more recently, Bruce Weber.
a favorite clothing: pieces from CP Compagnie, which offers very practical, military-inspired clothing. Technical clothing from Stone Island, which has an innovative approach, particularly in terms of textiles.
a favorite food: Asian cuisine. 

No comments:

Post a Comment