Bruno Belamich and Carlos Rosillo met when they were 14 years old and ‘have been together ever since’. Before setting up watch house Bell & Ross (a riff on the first three letters of each surname) in Paris, they were, effectively, family. ‘When Bruno’s family left their Burgundy home to come to Paris, he didn’t love it,’ says Rosillo. ‘We met at school and I was introduced to Bruno’s family. They were very welcoming. His grandmother even made bread for us.’

As teenagers, Belamich and Rosillo shared a passion for technology and watches, which led Belamich to a design position with German watch brand Sinn. Rosillo, meanwhile, studied finance. In 1992, they joined forces to realise their vision for a design-driven brand, creating functional watches for professionals, and started dragging prototypes to watch fairs. A few years later, Chanel chairman Alain Wertheimer offered them investment, and remains a shareholder.

We talk over lunch at their favourite restaurant, Oxté, in Paris’ 17th arrondissement. As soon as we are seated, Mexican owner and chef, Michelin-starred Enrique Casarrubias, steps out of his visibly busy kitchen, presided over by a Bell & Ross wall clock, to greet us, adding to the bonhomie. ‘We are always at home in a family environment,’ says Rosillo.

Between courses, we speak about their likes and loves: cigars, their wives and children, Velázquez, yoga, tai chi, 1970s Japanese watch design and their last big release, the ‘BR 05’ watch line. A mash-up of key Bell & Ross designs, and a more commercial offering than the defining slim, square-dial cockpit instruments for the wrist that made the Bell & Ross name, the steel ‘BR 05’ is a handsome, everyday timepiece that has been enthusiastically received across the globe.

Occasional turbulence is, of course, a factor in any relationship, but the pair are in it for the long haul. ‘It’s easier to manage a business when there are two of you – it gives you balance, a better perspective. It’s about trust,’ says Belamich. ‘We have common values and life philosophies,’ concurs Rosillo. §