Eternal And Precious, Gold Has Been A Hallmark Element Of Bulgari Since The Art Deco Era, Intricately Woven Into The Fabric Of Its Audacious Horological Narrative.
At LVMH Watch Week 2024, the radiant glow of this exquisite metal elevates the daring classicism of Bulgari Bulgari, reveals the jeweled splendor of Lucea, and infuses the revolutionary elegance of Octo Finissimo with a singular grace.
“The greatest challenge is to give shape to an emotion,” Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, reveals in ‘Bulgari Beyond Time’, “especially when that emotion is measured in time.” In the quest to capture timelessness, is there any substance that surpasses gold – so precious, mystical, and legendary – in its embodiment of eternal elegance? As an allegory of the sun, gold resonates with timeless splendor and warmth, symbolizing both the enduring luminance and the rich legacy of civilizations that have long cherished its radiant allure – an ideal conduit for the horological emotions crafted by the daring Roman Maison.
Bulgari Bulgari, icon of icons
In 1975, a new icon of bold and precious beauty emerged. Its unique alchemy, envisioned by Gianni Bulgari, took form on the sketch pad of legendary designer Gérald Genta. Bulgari Bulgari asserts its distinctiveness, with its name emblazoned on a bezel forged in yellow gold. Both classic and visionary, this wristwatch expresses the Roman soul of the Maison, its avant-garde approach inspired by a deep passion for the arts and architectural riches of Italy.
International acclaim followed swiftly. The confident charisma of Bulgari Bulgari captivated exceptional personalities, elevating it to the status of ‘icon of icons.’ On the cusp of its 50th anniversary, Bulgari Bulgari rekindles its original allure, now pairing yellow gold with a black dial, and rose gold with a silver opaline dial. Its versatile character is expressed in two case sizes: an exquisite 26 mm and an innovative, gender-neutral 38 mm.
Octo Finissimo, the iconoclast
In 2014, Bulgari’s renowned Swiss horological expertise and Roman elegance came together in a feat of minimalist design and exquisite engineering. The Octo Finissimo Tourbillon forever changed the landscape of watchmaking: by 2022, within the first eight years, the Manufacture had set 8 records for slimness, each blending a mechanical revolution with inimitable Italian flair. In 2024, the Octo Finissimo Automatic, a paragon of fine horology, boldly embraced the timeless luster of yellow gold.
Its architectural and ultra-contemporary personality reinterprets the vintage charm of yellow gold, recalling the first Art Deco watches Bulgari designed in the late 1930s. That same year, Bulgari also unveiled the Octo Finissimo Tuscan Copper, distinguished by its mesmerizing sunray dial crafted from the eponymous metal.
Since its inception in 2014, Lucea has exemplified Bulgari’s fresh approach to jeweled watches, solidifying its reputation as the “Roman Jeweler of Time” with a distinctive horological philosophy. “It’s about capturing the best of both worlds, merging substance with style, at the nexus of high watchmaking and high jewelry. Rather than merely adding diamonds to a tourbillon, we craft a jewel and then envision the caliber that would best complement it,” emphasizes Jean-Christophe Babin.
This year, Bulgari celebrates the 10th anniversary of Lucea, as radiant and contemporary as ever. Crafted in steel and gold, its reimagined lines – from the bezel to the V-shaped bracelet links – elegantly encase dials featuring iridescent mother-of-pearl Intarsio or marquetry made of upcycled malachite fragments.
Thus unfolds a new chapter in the continuing story of time, as interpreted by the Roman Maison – a unique fusion of Italian flair and elegance, exceptional watchmaking, and the legendary radiance of gold. Bulgari’s creations are both intricate timepieces and masterpieces of jewelry. In the words of Antoine Pin, Director of Bulgari Watches, they translate “better than any other object, the emotions and meanings from those who create them to those who experience them.”
CHAPTER On Bulgari Bulgari
A charismatic icon
So classic, yet so daring! Bulgari Bulgari effortlessly transcends time and pioneers trends, attracting the most assertive personalities. As the icon’s 50th anniversary approaches, its original beauty shines on, resplendent, a testament to timeless elegance. Precious as ever, crafted in luxurious yellow or rose gold, Bulgari Bulgari captivates anew with an irresistible choice between the vintage charm of a 26 mm diameter and the modern allure of a new, very contemporary size of 38 mm.
BVLGARI BVLGARI, 14 letters engraved on the bezel, as if evoking the names of emperors on ancient coins. A stroke of aesthetic genius with a powerful magnetism, a declaration of character and style, befitting personalities capable of changing the world with their talent and determination. Artists, actors, revolutionary creators, and visionary entrepreneurs. Tina Turner, Susan Sarandon, Carol Alt, Bill Gates, Benicio del Toro, George Michael and Zendaya are among those who have proudly worn Bulgari Bulgari.
Bulgari Bulgari masterfully marries the boldness of its bezel with the minimalism of its dial, drawing magnetic power from the Italian soul of the “Roman Jeweler of Time” and the Swiss precision at its core. Its very name, as author and connoisseur Robin Swithinbank highlights in ‘Bulgari Beyond Time,’ encapsulates “the essence of the Maison’s creative spirit.” Its lines, with their unique twists, “set the tone for Bulgari watches, as collectors know and appreciate them today,” observes John Goldberger, an expert collector himself. On the dawn of the icon’s 50th anniversary, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Product Creation Executive Director, describes it as “simultaneously simple and daring, always in step with the times” – as four exquisite iterations
The Story of an Icon
Bulgari Bulgari has journeyed across nearly five decades, gracing the wrist of iconic personalities, many of whom defined their era. Born as Bulgari Roma in 1975, it has continuously evolved, always preserving its distinct and charismatic aura. This 18-carat gold watch, initially a gift to the Maison’s top clients, featured an innovative digital display, garnering immediate success. After it experienced a renaissance in 2019, Bulgari infused the icon with a new take on elegance and refinement, pairing it with a strikingly modern metal bracelet.
Essential Bulgari Bulgari
“With its pure aesthetic, the original Bulgari Bulgari perfectly embodies our DNA, without any need for further embellishment,” says Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. The Maison, he continues, “revisits the essence of this initial creation, now subtly enhanced with modern technologies.” New iterations in yellow gold – a historical and iconic material of the collection – and in rose gold come in two sizes.
The first has gender-neutral and versatile 38 mm case with a transparent caseback for a full view of the gears and finishes of the self-winding mechanical BVL 191 caliber, crafted by the Bulgari Manufacture in Switzerland. The second, a 26 mm in diameter with a quartz movement, is a mere 6.35 mm thick, giving it an irresistible watch-as-jewelry vibe.
Echoing the piece unveiled in 1975, the yellow gold models feature a striking contrast with a black watch face. Against this backdrop, the gilded condensed Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock, together with the elongated baton indices, stand out. The dial’s understated minimalism further highlights the bold character of the letters stamped on the bezel. Maintaining the original Bulgari Bulgari’s design cues, the geometric lugs of the case extend into a black alligator strap. A second version harmonizes rose gold for the case and silver opaline dial, offering a softer visual appeal.
Bulgari Bulgari, with its charismatic perfection, stands as a testament to Gianni Bulgari’s extraordinary legacy, one that is revered by the greats of this world. Reflecting on its impact, he said, “The true essence of Bulgari Bulgari was its (…) ability to become an ambassador of our Maison around the world (…). It was the legacy I was meant to leave — a timely and fitting achievement. And this legacy will forever be intertwined with the essence of Bulgari.”
CHAPTER On Octo Finissimo
Octo Finissimo Yellow Gold, Octo Finissimo Tuscan Copper
Sleek, elegant, and technically at the cutting edge: Octo Finissimo revolutionizes watchmaking codes and conventions. The icon’s aura, ever timeless and contemporary, gains an unsuspected intensity thanks to the magic of yellow gold, and in a rare steel version with a salmon dial.
As an exceptional watchmaker and virtuoso goldsmith, Bulgari has played a pivotal role in defining the art and history of horology, consistently setting milestones with its own creations. Among these, Octo Finissimo stands as a testament to a mechanical and stylistic vision that is unique to the Maison. Its distinctive character is a revolutionary mix of ultra-slim design and richly passionate, complex Italian chic, animated by Swiss mechanical expertise.
“Octo Finissimo opens a window into a virtually boundless realm of creativity. Its design is both geometrically precise and wonderfully versatile, offering a canvas for diverse expressions and personalities,” says Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Product Creation Executive Director and the originator of this design, in ‘Bulgari Beyond Time.’
This extraordinary octagonal watch has broken new ground in horological slimness and elegance, setting 8 records in as many years. The ‘Ultra’ model marked the apex of this remarkable journey, boasting a mere 1.8 mm thickness. In 2017, Octo Finissimo Automatic won the 3rd accolade in the series, powered by the exceptional automatic mechanical movement BVL 138, just 2.33 mm thick – a marvel of engineering from the Bulgari manufacture in Switzerland.
In 2024, a new facet of the Octo Finissimo‘s iconic character emerges, as the Octo Finissimo Yellow Gold is paired with Bulgari’s signature blue sunray dial. In steel, the Octo Finissimo Tuscan Copper showcases the collection’s deeply Italian DNA with a dial in a metallic copper hue, reminiscent of a Mannerist painting.
In 2023, Octo Finissimo Yellow Gold was pre-launched on the US market with a limited edition of 50 pieces.
The Lavishness of Gold
Yellow gold is fused with Octo Finissimo, casting its timeless aesthetic in a new light. This precious metal not only reflects Bulgari’s historic mastery of goldsmithing, but also evokes the fascinating luster of vintage luxury watches. The sun-like glow of the gold enhances the play of light across the watch’s bold lines and Roman-inspired geometry. The case, with its 58 facets, exhibits exquisite finesse with architectural angles, leading to a satin-finished yellow gold bracelet of exceptional comfort, completed by a triple-blade folding clasp.
The dial, lacquered in deep blue with a sunray finish, completes the gold’s lavishness. Golden, contrasting hands and hour markers ensure outstanding legibility, befitting a chic, sporty timepiece. With a diameter of 40 mm and a slimness of just 6.4 mm, the new Octo Finissimo appeals to both men and women, confirming its versatility along with a remarkable water resistance up to 100 m. The transparent caseback reveals the art of Swiss mechanical excellence: the in-house BVL 138 caliber, extraordinarily slim at just 2.23 mm, is beautifully adorned with hand-finished chamfers, circular graining, and Côtes de Genève stripes.
The Disruptive Power of Art
With the Octo Finissimo Tuscan Copper, Bulgari ventures into new creative realms. A true statement piece, its sunray Tuscan copper dial in a salmon hue stands as a highly coveted rarity among Bulgari connoisseurs. Rhodium-plated hands and indexes create subtle and elegant contrasts on this coppery face, paired with a case and bracelet in 904L stainless steel, the same grade as that used in the aerospace industry. The caliber BVL 138 provides an ample power reserve of 60 hours.
Bulgari’s essence, deeply rooted in its Italian heritage, finds its most exquisite inspirations on the peninsula. The vibrant hue of Tuscan copper perfectly exemplifies this ethos. Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani explains:
“Here, the metallic salmon tone draws its inspiration not from the usual vintage aesthetic prized by collectors, but from the very roots of Italian art, that of the 16th century, and more precisely from a disruptive movement of the time, called Mannerism, which marked my own training as a designer. Hence, my choice for this color symbolizes an experimental and disruptive artistic approach.”
Boldly defying the norm, Mannerist hues strikingly diverged from the subdued tones of the High Renaissance. One of the movement’s protagonists, Jacopo da Pontormo, was known for his vivid, almost metallic color schemes – as echoed by the dial on the Octo Finissimo Tuscan Copper.
Embodying both horological prowess and elegance, the Octo Finissimo Yellow Gold Automatic and Octo Finissimo Tuscan Copper Automatic present bold new interpretations, reimagining the icon’s timeless essence with continuously renewed creativity. “The essence of the watch lies in its creative spirit. Without this, the Finissimo movement is merely an ultra-thin mechanism. The reverse is also true,” Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani reveals in ‘Bulgari Beyond Time’.
CHAPTER On Jewelry Watches
Exquisitely feminine, Lucea not only tames the light, but also captures and holds the gaze. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the watch’s jewelry-inspired lines have been elegantly refined, gently and ever so closely embracing the wrist. Beyond its diamond-set dial, Bulgari unveils new facets of Lucea’s personality through the artistry of mother-of-pearl Intarsio and malachite inlay.
Lucea illuminates up time itself, like a sun. Its precious magnificence, the shimmer of its diamonds, and its exquisite architecture compete in a dazzling display of brilliance and sparkle. A harmonious blend of Italian design and Swiss precision, Lucea pays homage to the grandeur of the Eternal City. “Our roots lie in Rome and in the artistry of jewelry-making,” reminds Jean-Christophe Babin, Director of Bulgari, in ‘Bulgari Beyond Time.’ “Our high jewelry watch collections embody this dual legacy at their very core, showcasing its multiple facets – architectural, cultural, and emotional.”
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Lucea, crafted in either the radiance of steel or the warmth of gold, exudes a gentle glow. Bulgari has meticulously refined its case and reimagined the bracelet’s design, embracing symmetrical curves for an enduring elegance. “Our rich heritage in jewelry craftsmanship and design has been our compass in re-envisioning the Lucea bracelet.
It’s infused with a lightness reminiscent of Bulgari’s classic jewels, a sensuality akin to that exuded by our iconic Serpenti collection, and a flexibility evoking the fluid links of Octo Finissimo,” states Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Product Creation Executive Director. The bracelet’s V-links have been softened and rounded, enhancing their geometry while retaining their distinctive character. Alternating with polished central elements in either rose gold or steel, the bracelet gracefully wraps around the wrist, culminating in a sleek folding clasp.
Rays of Mother-of-Pearl
Crafted in either rose gold, lavishly set with diamonds, or in sleek steel, the elegantly slimmed-down, polished bezel frames a captivating dial, either in mother-of-pearl Intarsia or malachite marquetry. The signature Intarsia technique extols light, showcasing the organic iridescence of mother-of-pearl, a precious treasure of the seas, and adds a refreshing take on the sunray finish of watch dials. Artisans assemble ‘rays’ of finely cut mother-of-pearl – a task demanding the highest precision given the material’s brittleness – to create a sunburst pattern with three-dimensional pleating. In white or green mother-of-pearl, depending on the version, this shimmer born of nature itself enhances Lucea’s radiant allure.
The green malachite marquetry on Lucea’s dial captures the sixties’ fascination with colored stones. This distinct tableau is composed of small pieces of the mineral that might have been overlooked but, here, are transformed into something beautiful through the art of upcycling. Skilled artisans at the Bulgari Manufacture in Switzerland carefully select each fragment for the vibrancy of its hue and the expressiveness of its grain. Meticulously cut and hand-assembled, every piece contributes to this special creation, rendering each Lucea a unique masterpiece.
Twelve brilliant-cut diamonds, claw-set in square, architecturally inspired settings, sparkle as hour markers on these remarkable dials, their angular shape contrasting with the gems’ roundness. Another diamond adorns the V-shaped crown, itself topped with a cabochon-cut synthetic sapphire, mirroring the dial’s design. One subtly opulent iteration of Lucea dazzles with a diamond-set bezel for total of 56 gems and 1.3 carats on the case and dial.
The latest Lucea models showcase the passage of time with a choice of two case diameters. The 33 mm version with a thickness of 9.16 mm is driven by a self-winding mechanical caliber with a 42-hour power reserve. Alternatively, the 28 mm version comes equipped with a quartz movement, allowing for a thickness of just 7.72 mm.
For other versions, the brilliance of the bezel, in whether in steel or rose gold, is harmoniously paired with a metallic bracelet. These entrancing creations, straddling the line between watches and jewelry, “express the essence of our jeweler’s soul,” as Jean-Christophe Babin reflects, “because Bulgari’s heritage is rooted in the art of bringing gold and precious stones together, with extreme precision, to create exceptional pieces.”