Bell & Ross was launched in 1992 by designer Bruno Belamich and businessman Carlos A. Rosillo and immediately became a brand focused on four guiding principles: readability, performance, precision, and water-resistance. Catering to those working in extreme environments, the designers and engineers behind their watches study the rigorous jobs of astronauts, military pilots, underwater bomb-disposal experts, and racecar drivers, among others.
Bell & Ross instruments are created with a strong acknowledgement of their rugged and efficient heritage. Taking aesthetic cues from aircraft cockpit panels, these watches are designed to be utilitarian and effective, ideally suited to the needs of the professional on the job in intense conditions.
The Breitling name is almost synonymous with quality chronograph watches, for good reason. Breitling develops and finishes its own chronograph modules for its automatic watches to obtain the highest accuracy and all quartz watches feature a thermo compensated movement.
This is the watch brand that is unofficially recognized as the watch for pilots and racetrack pit-crew members due to their incomparable chronograph timing accuracy. About 5% of Breitling's customers are pilots and several Breitlings have been to space including the Cosmonaute and Aerospace.
Chopard was founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard in a workshop in Sonvilier, Switzerland, where the then 24-year-old watchmaker initially focused on developing precision pocket watches and chronometers. The company expanded and moved to Geneva in 1937 after Louis-Ulysse made a tour of eastern Europe, Russia, and Scandinavia, garnering new clientele -- including Tsar Nicolas II of Russia and his court.
After the 1963 acquisition by Karl Scheufele II -- who helped modernize the company and added a jewelry division to the enterprise -- Chopard began making headlines: the introduction of the Happy Diamond family, in 1976; in 1988, the company paired with Mille Miglia and began producing watches to commemorate the Italian racing tradition; and in 1996 the company began producing mechanical L.U.C. movements, their name a memorial to the company's founder. This was the same year the company's calibre 1.96 movement was introduced, a piece of horological technology that is considered one of the finest Swiss automatic movements currently produced. One year later, the movement made its debut inside L.U.C. 1860, which was voted "Watch of the Year" by Montres Passion. Throughout their lines of watches, from the Classic family to Happy Diamonds to their Imperiale line, Chopard strives to uphold its core values: independence, quality and excellence, heritage, respect, and audacity.
One of the most exclusive brands of fine timepieces, Patek Phillippe has been in the watchmaking business since 1839 when a pair of Polish entrepreneurs, businessman Antoine Nobert de Patek and watchmaker Francois Czapek, began making pocket watches in Geneva. In 1845, French watchmaker Jean-Adrien Phillippe joined the company, and in 1851, the company's name was changed to Patek Phillippe S.A. The company's 80+ patents are just one of its claims to fame; others include its royal customers -- including Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Hussein Kamel, and Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, for whom they created the first Swiss wristwatch -- and a long history of experimental innovation, including some of the world's most complicated horological creations.
To celebrate Patek Phillippe's 150th anniversary in 1989, the Calibre 89 pocket watch -- which has 39 complications, including the date of Easter, sunrise, sidereal time, and a 2,800 star chart -- was produced, and became the world's most complicated timepiece. All of their more common pieces incorporate the same fine manufacturing, elegant styling, precision craftsmanship, and precious materials in their production.