Meet Carlos-Antonio Rosillo, Co-Founder and CEO of Bell & Ross

Lindsay Judge   |   05-12-2021

Carlos-Antonio Rosillo, Co-Founder and CEO of Bell & Ross discusses the brand’s future in the Middle East and an exclusive launch in honour of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.


Since Founding Bell & Ross in 1993 with his partner and friend Bruno Belamich, Carlos-Antonio Rosillo had a vision of changing the way consumers look at watches. As high school classmates from very different backgrounds, this duo found common ground in their passion for horology. As an avid watch collector, Rosillo struggled to find watches that truly gave him the emotion he was looking for and he decided the only way to find this was to create a brand that would combine luxurious materials with the most sophisticated technology and innovation. In just a few years, Bell & Ross grew into an international company thanks to its instantly recognisable designs and its modern approach to watchmaking. In 2019 Bell & Ross introduced the BR 05, its most ground-breaking watch yet. It was an immediate success and set a new standard for the brand. Earlier this year Bell & Ross introduced the BR 05-GMT that opened this icon to a new sector of urban living.


Now, to continue this momentum Bell & Ross further develops the BR 05 line with the BR 05 Chrono White Hawk. This new timepiece which debuted at Dubai Watch Week features a bird that embodies power and strength. This precious measuring instrument combines Bell & Ross’s masculine aesthetic codes with the technical refinement of its high-end watchmaking. Available with a 42mm diameter case, this watch combines round and square shapes and a satin-polished steel bracelet for an elegant look, or a black rubber strap for a sporty-chic touch. Its white dial with red hands is instantly recognisable and is for the watch lover who wants to stand out.


Also at Dubai Watch Week Bell & Ross debuted an exclusive design that honours the 50th anniversary of the UAE. The BR 03-92 UAE 50th Anniversary edition was created in partnership with Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons and features the colours of the UAE flag.


Here we find out more about the latest designs and the future of the brand in the Middle East.


BR05 White Hawk


What is Bell & Ross is showcasing this year at Dubai Watch Week?

We wanted to show who we are as a brand so we are showcasing our iconic BR 03 collection. It is a collection that’s inspired by the dashboard of a plane. We also presented the BR 05 models including the latest BR 05 GMT. This is an evolution of the iconic watch but made for city living. We have softened the case and added an integrated bracelet so it looks more elegant. Now we have a watch for the countryside and we have a watch for the city. And we are also showcasing some high-end products. 



What can you tell us about the UAE exclusive watch you are launching today and why did you feel the need to create this watch and what does it say about the brand’s connection to the region?

We have introduced BR 05 GMT with a new dimension of 41mm and we are also launching a Limited Edition BR 03 that was imagined by Mr Abdul Hamied Ahmed Seddiqi, himself and executed by us. It has a very bright dial and is a limited edition piece for the 50th Anniversary of the UAE. We appreciate the region very much and that is why we decided to create this watch. 



BR05 White Hawk


Earlier this year, Bell & Ross presented a new addition to its BR 05 collection. Can you tell us how the watch is performing in the region? 

The BR 05 has been a huge success since its introduction and so we decided to introduce different models in the collection. The latest being the GMT. The BR 05 GMT is a new icon for us and it’s highly appreciated as people see it as an evolution of who we are. It’s more adapted to city life and I think this is the reason why it is has been so successful, especially in the Middle East. 



As a former watch collector, what do you look for in a watch? 

I always look for something that’s different, unique, something spectacular. I look for a product that doesn’t just tell the time but gives you the time with an emotion because of its technicity. I look for a watch whose design makes you look at time differently. 



What are your thoughts on the watch industry in the UAE today? 

I think the market is getting more sophisticated. There are a lot more collectors who are more knowledgeable, which is very good for the market and for the interaction with the watchmakers. I think watchmakers are producing watches that are more sophisticated and you see that with Dubai Watch Week. What’s very interesting is that DWW has become one of the international meeting points, people are coming from all over the world and it has really gained international momentum. 



You were one of the first watch brands to have an online presence. How has e-commerce helped the brand and how are you dealing with the accelerating e-commerce demand post-pandemic? 

Yes, we were the very first in 2009 to have an e-boutique. And I think during the COVID pandemic it was fantastic because at one stage, when all the stores were closed, the e-boutique was the only way for people to buy watches. Today, as consumers, we receive all the information we need through our smartphones, or other digital modes so I think online presence now is the key. When we started we were the first ones but today I think every watch brand needs to have a digital presence. 



What are some of the major changes you have noticed since the beginning of the pandemic that you believe will stay moving forward?

The pandemic allowed us to understand that as a business you need flexibility and adaptation. You need to have a team that’s united because we have been working from home and so if the team is not working together and adaptable to changes then it becomes a problem. You need to have a common spirit to join together the forces of all the individuals. 



Bell & Ross has always managed to stay unique. How do you always keep yourself ahead of the curve?  

We need to be consistent and different at the same time. We need to be to keep surprising our consumers with what we create, but at the same time, stay true to who we are. 



What is something you would still like to do at Bell & Ross?

I would like Bell & Ross to be a real international brand. I think we are in a good state to achieve this but there are some markets where we are really advanced, like France for example, and there are some markets, like The Middle East, where the potential for us to grow is huge, but for now, we are still at an early stage. I would like to see the brand develop within all the countries.  



What is the biggest challenge you are facing now as a brand and how do you plan to overcome it? 

The biggest challenge is to take full advantage of the digital world and not to be scared by it. Digital is full of options but in terms of philosophy it might be very different from who we are and we need to need to manage it in the right way. I was at Expo 2020 Dubai yesterday, it was a very beautiful exhibition. Of course, I couldn’t visit all the pavilions as there were too many, but what I learnt is how to beautifully combine tradition and modernity and bring it together to live in a world full of potential and enjoy this combination of old and new. It’s about creating a good balance. For example, at Bell & Ross, we use the digital world but we don’t create digital watches so it is about finding the right balance that keeps true to the roots but moves with the times. 



What is in the pipeline for Bell & Ross in 2022? 

The manufacturing side of the business will be developed. We are working with more sophisticated techniques which reinforces the technicity of the brand. Every year we have exciting new launches but you will have to be patient to see them! 



What is a message you would send to your customers and fans in the region?

That we appreciate their knowledge and we enjoy their interest in Bell & Ross and we want to nurture them and keep surprising them with our creations. And to offer them beautiful emotions.