Bell & Ross makes exceptional men’s watches. There’s a classic appeal and the timeless face that even the knock offs can never replicate. Stacie Orloff, President of the Americas for Bell & Ross sat down for a quick chat about Bell & Ross’s iconic image, why they’re so good at what they do, and how they stay relevant in a seriously over saturated luxe marketplace.
Alister & Paine: Tell me about the distribution side for the American market.
Stacie Orloff: We’re in the fine luxury retailers both in independent jewelry stores and in the chain stores. We have one Barney’s location but for the most part we’re with the independent private jeweler. We have about 100 points of sale in North America.
Alister & Paine: Is the marketing cohesive globally?
Stacie Orloff: We have a global marketing plan, so it’s all in coordination with our headquarters in Paris. We certainly have different vehicles than Asia, but it’s a global vision. You’ll see the same visual worldwide.
What is the vision of the company?
Stacie Orloff: In terms of why we’re producing watches? It’s a loaded question. The vision of the company is to make luxury timepieces for the professional. We meet extreme conditions for the professional and we make high luxury quality Swiss made watches with a point of view. We have a very strong iconic shape but we make watches that will stand extreme conditions. We make a diving watch that can withstand 1,000 feet, we make a vintage style pilot watch with original style crystal so it’s easy viewing. Our whole mantra is a watch for the professionals.
Alister & Paine: How do you manage to compete?
Stacie Orloff: We have a really strong design perspective and we have a really strong designer that stays true to form. He doesn’t make anything frivolous, just to make it. There’s always a reason. We’re staying very focused on the men’s market. We’re not trying to be everything to everybody we’re staying true to focus on design as the main character and then quality and not saturating the market.
Alister & Paine: What’s your favorite watch?
Stacie Orloff: I’m wearing our BR-S Ceramic with diamonds and I love it because the fit is great, it’s comfortable and it’s a ceramic piece. I love the high tech material.
Our lines are primarily for men but some are unisex so I wear a lot of the BR-03, I’ll travel with our type aviation, or wear an all black piece in the evening.
Alister & Paine: What do you think keeps Bell & Ross unique?
Stacie Orloff: We have a very iconic shape. We took inspiration from the airplane dashboards and made that panel to fit so your vision of a cockpit dashboard is right on your wrist. It’s a shape that is unique to us and very easily identifiable. People appreciate that. You want to be hip and you want everyone to know you have good taste. When you see somebody wearing a Bell & Ross there’s some status to that. That’s been our claim to fame, that we’ve really captured the imagination of the consumer. There are different designs and techniques to keep the spirit along with that. There is no other watch like that.
Alister & Paine: What about copies?
Stacie Orloff: They say that knockoffs and counterfeits are a form of flattery but I don’t agree with that. It’s lazy on somebody else’s part. At Bell & Ross we have basic principle. Our screws, designs, and materials are OURS. When somebody is getting ready to spend in the luxury world, you know what you’re getting. If you’re getting a super good deal it’s probably not the real thing, and that’s the truth with any luxury product.
Alister & Paine: What keeps you relevant?
Stacie Orloff: The spirit of Bell & Ross starts at the headquarters and starts with the owners, and they are very passionate creative guys who work with their team and we support them and they stay true to who they are. Bruno is our only designer, Carlos sets the plan for sales and marketing. Between the two partners they each have a strong role and respect each other and the people who support their message. They stay with their message, stay on their platform and they stay focused. That gives us the ability to grow. You have to have a story and you have to have a message, in this world and especially in the luxury brand. And we’re telling it!