To delicately craft time rather than merely indicate it, to propel it into a dimension where its scope and significance are enhanced by a resolutely artisanal dimension: such is the challenge Bulgari sets itself for each new creation.
The new models marking the beginning of 2022 are all part of this process permeated by excellence and preciousness. Serpenti, a powerful icon, is revisiting its multiple faces and welcoming Piccolissimo, a true jewel of micro technology featuring one of the smallest existing mechanical movements, while the emblematic Lvcea plays with the light rippling across its new pink mother-of-pearl and aventurine dials meticulously sculpted in relief so as to capture it to perfection. Bulgari brings to sparkling life the concept of ‘Time is a Jewel’ with the arrival of a new Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie that powerfully reminds us of the value of each passing moment. And light – or rather transparency – are also the themes of the Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon, a double openworked complication treated in a graphic and very contemporary way. Bulgari is starting the New Year with a bang, and this is just the beginning....
A new mechanical calibre, an absolute icon: the new Serpenti Misteriosi masterpieces by Bulgari embody new feats of miniaturisation associated with the jewellery and decorative excellence of the Rome-based Maison. On the occasion of the LVMH Watch Week, Bulgari is introducing four new Serpenti secret-watches revisiting the iconic design from the 1950s and all equipped with the new Piccolissimo mechanical movement, one of the smallest in the world, entirely conceived and produced within the Bulgari Manufacture in Le Sentier. The BVL100 calibre revives the very small mechanical ‘motors’ that equipped all women's watches until the early 1970s.
New feats of miniaturisation
Measuring 12.30 mm in diameter and 2.50 mm thick, the BVL100 calibre indicating the hours and minutes is housed in the head of the reptile within a dedicated container. The Manufacture leveraged its rich experience in the domain of Finissimo watches to create a very compact movement weighing only 1.30 grams. The extreme miniaturisation of its 102 components is vividly illustrated in the barrel featuring a total diameter of just 5.00 mm for a thickness of 1.47 mm and a spring that is 170 mm long before being wound. Moreover, to ensure the greatest inertia according to the very small size of the movement, the Manufacture opted for a white gold balance wheel.
Pressing the snake’s tongue on the Serpenti Misteriosi opens the head to reveal the watch. A bidirectional crown located on the caseback enables manual winding and time-setting. This dual function operates by means of a system of reversers.
The launch of the Octo Finissimo in 2014 was a defining moment in the history of Bulgari watches. Topping one record after the other for seven consecutive years, the brand has become the master of ultra-thin movements and redefined the aesthetic of the luxury sport watch in a distinctive and contemporary design language.
After exploring the limits of ultra-thin mechanical watchmaking, Bulgari now lays a new milestone in the field of ultra-small with Piccolissimo, the Italian for “very small”. With it, the brand opens new territories of expression for its ladies’ watches and celebrates the brand's first iconic Serpenti secret timepieces which return in radiant splendour, embellished with gold, diamonds, lacquer and hard stones.
Bulgari, perpetuating the legacy bequeathed by the first Serpenti watches – including the one created for Elizabeth Taylor when she played Cleopatra in Rome’s Cinecittà studios in 1962 – has reinvented the emblematic reptile for decades. Rooted in numerous ancient cultures, the snake embodies multiple symbolic values including womanhood, rebirth, luck, seduction, and temptation – all condensed within the new Serpenti Misteriosi.
The Serpenti odyssey
The first Serpenti secret watches were introduced in the late 1950s. Several iterations, in two- or three-colour gold or combined with steel, followed confirming Bulgari’s expertise with daring colour combinations, intricate craftsmanship and unconventional materials. Square, circular, rectangular and octagonal shapes were adopted for the dial, sometimes evoking the snake head. The pieces illustrate the rich vein of creativity that Bulgari has mined with Serpenti: the scales could be reproduced with diamonds, polychrome enamel or gemstones. In other models, the scales were transformed into playful “boules” that were soldered one by one to form an intricate gold mesh. The head of the animal was completely different on each model, and adorned with pave, baguette-, navette-, brilliant- or marquise-cut diamonds to give each style its own distinctive expression.
True to the spirit of the Maison, the new Serpenti Misteriosi timepieces are opulent and colourful, with a strong emphasis on the mastery of decorative arts and jewellery virtuosity.
Masterpieces of goldsmithing, their many constituent parts are individually shaped before being decorated, gem-set and assembled. Particular attention has been paid to the overall design of the precious metal structure forming the bracelet and the head to ensure that it is comfortable and light to wear.
In the extremely elegant lacquered versions, the semi-transparent lacquer is hand-applied and dried, multiple times, crystallising as it dries. The metal of the scales features a hand-made striped pattern, which gleamingly enhances the brilliance of the special décor.
The perfect union of Haute Horlogerie and High Jewellery is magnificently celebrated through a bewitching interpretation in yellow and white gold: the snake wraps itself around the wrist with a double-tour yellow gold bracelet entirely adorned with brilliant-cut diamonds on the white gold head and tail. The animal’s head is graced with a flower set with round-cut diamonds, becoming the incredible focal point of the hypnotic timepiece.
Staring at the world with rubellite, emerald and diamond eyes, Serpenti Misteriosi timepieces give a new highly contemporary meaning to the precious nature of time.
In the pure tradition of the Serpenti first introduced during the 1950s, each new creation captures the quintessence of The Roman Jeweller of Time in their impeccable craftsmanship and Swiss watchmaking expertise. Echoing the inspiring models, each timepiece is designed to be worn on either wrist: the container hidden within the snake’s head - housing the diamond-encrusted dial and the underlying movement - can be easily removed and turned in the other direction so as to be easily visible on the left or right arm.
As an enduring icon, Serpenti inspires endless reinvention. The Serpenti Misteriosi Romani High Jewellery secret watch represents another ultra-luxurious chapter for the motif.
Inspired by classical Rome and in a nod to the gold bracelets worn by upper-class society, the creation is one of the most expensive high-end timepieces ever made by Bulgari.
Honoured by the Jury of the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) with the Jewellery Watch Prize in 2019, this truly spectacular one-of-a-kind creation comprises a massive number of precious stones. The snake’s head is crowned with a 10-carat Sri Lankan sapphire and a total of more than 60 carats of diamonds, while 35 carats of sapphires form the serpent’s body and scales. The magnificent piece echoes Bulgari’s Roman roots, emblematic of ancient gladiators and antique jewels. As sensuous as its inspiration, the cuff bracelet features a snake sinuously coiled around it. To reinforce the theme, the cuff is embellished with baguette-cut diamond scales, so that the wrist inhabits the design and becomes part of the snake itself.
Bulgari’s inimitable aesthetic is beautifully brought to life in the Serpenti Seduttori collection. Born to be gold, the Seduttori timepieces evoke the precious moments of a woman’s daily life. Three new models complete the line, making for a confident collection that sets a new standard of contemporary glamour. New Tubogas styles are enriching the LVMH Watch Week selection, linked by their excellence and the uncommon values that underpin each creation.
Born in 2019, the Seduttori line has retained the snake's head. While Serpenti first became known for its Tubogas bracelet, Bulgari has chosen to broaden the reptile's impact by adding a new bracelet.
Its construction is based on an architecture composed of hexagonal motifs, a stylistic element used by Bulgari since the creation of the first Serpenti watches. Characterised by absolute fluidity, it flows over the wrist to fit like a barely perceptible second skin.
It forms one with the case, which represents the head of the snake, as part of a very well-balanced momentum. Whether made of steel, rose gold and steel or full rose gold, this new configuration expresses the perfectly proportioned and flawless elegance that befits accomplished creations.
Bulgari is presenting its three most iconic variations graced with a new dramatic black lacquer dial, framed by a steel, steel and rose gold or full rose gold case. Steel or rose gold hour-markers; diamonds set around the edge of the bezel forming two arcs of a circle to recall the jewellery ancestry of the creations; as well as the characteristic cabochon-cut rubellite: multiple features contribute to enhancing the sparkle and luminosity of these models. These precious elements leave no doubt as to the signature of these watches dreamed up by the Roman brand, proudly flaunting their unmistakable nature as contemporary, everyday-wear timepieces.
Tubogas: the return of yellow gold
Nonetheless, Serpenti as a symbol of eternal renewal does not forget that it has become an absolute signature of the Rome-based Maison when its head is prolonged by the famous Tubogas bracelet. This formal, emblematic attribute is unique to Bulgari, which has drawn from the roots of industrial design. The single-tour Serpenti Tubogas wristwatch is now available in a bimetallic combination of yellow gold and steel, or exclusively in yellow gold set with diamonds on either side of the reptile's head, embellished with a white opaline guilloché dial. Undeniably unique in the way it adorns the female wrist, while undeniably Bulgari.
Christened Tubogas because of its similarity to a lowly woven-metal gas pipe, the technique has been used in jewellery making since the late 1940s. An eloquent example of industrial-inspired design, it was popularised in the Art Deco period when the challenge of miniaturising large engineered objects, and using them for novel purposes, took off. In the 1940s, Bulgari inserted a watch dial into a Tubogas bracelet to create a highly stylised serpent watch. The design was revived in the 1970s when Bulgari introduced it into watches, bracelets, necklaces and rings. The effect of a stark, engineered coil combined with coins and richly coloured precious gems created a fascinating contrast that marked Bulgari’s style of jewels, intended to be worn and enjoyed every day.
Complicated to produce, the Tubogas is formed by long bands of gold or steel that are wrapped around a steel core. As they are coiled, the rounded contours of the bands interlock to conceal completely the inner structure. The specialist goldsmiths use no soldering. The flexibility of the coiled bands alone is what gives the Tubogas its characteristic bounce.
Crafted with a jeweller’s sensibility, the result is a watch that is proudly Italian, unapologetically glamorous and forever stylish.
Shifting the paradigm of modern-day watchmaking, Bulgari has established itself as the Master of the Estetica della Meccanica, balancing superior savoir faire and the innovative aesthetics of ultra-thin watches to create groundbreaking timepieces. This expression of the unique fusion between cutting-edge design and the technical expertise of Swiss watchmaking is an exercise of the utmost complexity which can be seen in Bulgari’s mastery of highly complicated watches, including the whole typology of chiming timepieces: 2, 3 and 4 hammers, from the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater to the Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie.
Thanks to its unrivalled expertise in this field, now the brand explores new facets of its Estetica della Meccanica inspiration, creating new Sinfonia della Meccanica masterpieces with the one-of-a-kind Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie and the Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon blue edition.
Bulgari beautifies time by making it chime through the bejewelled embodiment of the brand’s irrepressible Italian style and elegance mingled with Swiss watchmaking expertise and the highest creative skills. More than ever, the Jeweller of Time demonstrates its ability to merge and magnify the arts of jewellery, fine watchmaking and artistic expressions into striking creations that boldly proclaim their difference.
The Maison has uncompromisingly committed to an innovation-driven attitude in all its watches, however complex or rare. This philosophy is expressed in the Estetica della Meccanica approach, making even the most extreme and archaic complications relevant and desirable to a new age of cognoscenti and collectors. As the pioneer of contemporary Haute Horlogerie, Bulgari propels heritage and exquisite savoir faire into the future with this design-driven approach that transforms traditional constraints into exciting opportunities.
As a chiming watch, the new bejewelled Grande Sonnerie joins the orchestra of the Sinfonia della Meccanica, along with other masterpieces that allows the wearer to experience the wonder of the mechanical heart of the watch through the pure and primordial emotion of sound.
A contemporary heritage
The Grande Sonnerie with four hammers and gongs is considered the queen of complications and is Bulgari’s most complex timepiece to date. The Maison is amongst only a handful of Swiss watchmakers capable of producing a Grande Sonnerie mechanism that sounds the hours, quarters and minutes. The watch has a harmonious Westminster chime that can be silenced or activated on demand by the side buttons. The creation is powered by the superlative BVL 703 automatic winding, tourbillon-regulated calibre that is composed of 732 individual components diligently assembled over nine months by one master watchmaker, who also carries out any later adjustments or services.
A jeweller at heart, Bulgari’s Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie follows on from the all-diamond version and is set with 446 baguette-cut Zambian emeralds and diamonds totalling over 30 carats. Crafted in white gold with a sapphire crystal case-back, this outstanding creation reveals a graphic, architectural look featuring a pattern of jointed elements that harmoniously conveys a sense of dynamic lightness and eternal beauty. Presented on a vibrant green alligator strap to match the emerald-set bezel, the watch is a one-of-a-kind creation and its arrival confirms Bulgari’s prowess both as the most revolutionary and exciting watchmaker as well as a refined jeweller to gentlemen.
Horological complications have for decades followed principles involving narrow codification and extreme classicism. Bulgari has always ignored these terms. Witness the new Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon, in which the two traditional complications of the tourbillon and the striking mechanism speak a resolutely modern language.
Contemporary interpretation is an integral part of the creative acts of the Maison, which applies it daily to its watchmaking developments. Such is the case with the new Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon which, while combining two essentially classic complications, redefines watchmaking tradition in a resolutely modernist approach. This watch features a highly graphic skeletonised movement with blue bridges. The platinum case is encircled by a blued titanium caseband.
It has been designed to amplify the sound rendition and clarity, which is the primary parameter governing the construction of a striking watch. The Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon movement with three hammers, hand-wound calibre BVL428, measures 35 mm in diameter, 8.35 mm thick and comprises a total of 432 components. It is entirely manufactured in-house.
The generous proportions of the case are designed to maximise sound propagation, enabling increased torque from the three-tone construction and greater sound power production. In particular, the caseband is designed to maximise sound and allow it to spread as much as possible. It has cavities inside the design to reduce the amount of metal between the inside and outside, and three openings on the caseband that correspond to the three gongs, thus allowing the sound to exit the chamber.
The gongs are attached directly to the body of the case for the most efficient sound transmission and the middle-case is made of titanium to ensure the clearest possible sound diffusion. The back is also hollowed out and redesigned with a titanium grid that protects this resonant area and enables outward transmission of the sound.
The gongs on the watch are hand-crafted in several stages. They are bent and formed by hand before being annealed, or hardened, at a temperature of 900 degrees Celsius, then cleaned before being reheated in a 500-degree kiln, a process that endows the metal with its crystal-clear resonance. Like some components of the striking mechanism, they are drawn out with a file, in order to refine the chords of the chime. The melodic sequence of this chime with three hammers striking three tones plays the note C for the hours, the notes E D C for the quarters and the note E for the minutes. The mechanism is activated by a pusher on the left side of the caseband.
The movement is equipped with one classical barrel ensuring the power reserve of at least 75 hours for the movement at full charge, meanwhile the functioning of the sound mechanism is ensured by a spring which is contained in a barrel-shaped container drilled directly in the bridge.
The architecture of the BVL428 calibre, the cut-out of the bridges and the positioning of the various components are original, contemporary and contrasted in order to reveal the beauty of the mechanism. The hammers, gongs, tourbillon cage and perforated surfaces are made of alternating polished steels, while the finely worked mainplate and bridges feature an ALD treatment. The high-tech carbon-based vacuum-deposition coating is an elegant deep blue.
Available in a 30-piece limited edition the watch has a transparent sapphire crystal caseback, is water-resistant to three atmospheres, and comes with a blue alligator leather strap secured by a platinum triple-blade folding clasp.
The Lvcea timepieces round out the LVMH Watch Week selection, speaking the language of light. Conceived and designed around this eternal theme, the new Lvcea Intarsio iterations are meant to translate, retransmit and enhance the characteristic luminescence of the distinctive Roman sky in its blue and pink pearlescence.
Since its introduction, the Maison’s signature daily round watch pays homage to the sundials of ancient Rome that captured light to signal the passage of time. The new 2022 models add new colours to the palette, with their three-dimensional architectural dials crafted in materials that capture and enhance the light. Pink mother-of-pearl and aventurine compose the two new Lvcea shades ensuring maximum chromatic effect and infusing the collection with an additional jewellery touch.
Furthering a classic métiers d’art technique applied to the mother-of-pearl, each of the dials is assembled using the marquetry technique in a pattern called Intarsio. In both cases, each of the 37 mother-of-pearl and blue aventurine micro-elements are cut and then faceted by hand before being assembled according to a precise and regular geometry to form the three-dimensional surface of the dial.
This complex and refined handcrafted construction captures all the variations in light, like the skies of the Eternal City, to reproduce its full brilliance, as seen through the diamond hour-markers dotting the rims of these sophisticated dials.
Ever since the house was established in 1837, Hermès has always sought to preserve the artisanal dimension of its manufacturing, which is a source of durability, creativity, agility and innovation.
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