Beyond Time: The Eternal Radiance of Bulgari

The Roman jeweller enchants watch and jewellery connoisseurs with a captivating fusion of artistry, heritage, and innovation, all wrapped in the timeless allure of gold

By Debbie Hathway

In the fabric of Bulgari’s horological saga and the latest releases at LVMH 2024, gold emerges as a radiant thread, lending its luminous touch to iconic timepieces and imbuing them with an eternal allure.

Bulgari Bulgari
Bulgari Bulgari

Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, muses on the challenge of encapsulating emotions in time, declaring, “The greatest challenge is to give shape to an emotion, especially when that emotion is measured in time.” This sentiment echoes through the halls of history, where gold reigns as the ultimate symbol of timeless splendour and legacy.

Since its inception in 1975, Bulgari Bulgari has epitomised bold beauty, merging classic allure with visionary flair. Gianni Bulgari’s vision, brought to life by legendary designer Gérald Genta, captured the essence of the Roman soul and avant-garde spirit. 

Bulgari Bulgari

Icons of the era, from Tina Turner to Bill Gates, have proudly worn Bulgari Bulgari, drawn to its magnetic charisma and timeless appeal. With its striking bezel and minimalist dial, the watch embodies the essence of Bulgari’s creative spirit, setting the tone for generations of collectors.

As the collection approaches its 50th anniversary, it shines anew in yellow gold with a black dial and rose gold with a silver opaline dial, offering a choice between vintage charm and contemporary appeal.

The cases are 26mm and 38mm in diameter. The latter has a transparent caseback that allows a full view of the self-winding mechanical BVL 191 calibre, crafted by the Bulgari Manufacture in Switzerland. The 26mm model has a quartz movement that is 6.35mm thick, interpreting the watch as a jewel.

Meanwhile, the Octo Finissimo celebrates a decade of astonishing achievements this year. Breaking records for slimness, the collection marries ultra-contemporary design with the ageless attraction of yellow gold. The metal’s lavishness accentuates the watch’s bold lines and geometric angles. “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’.

The Octo Finissimo Yellow Gold unveiled in 2024 gleams with the sun-like glow of its namesake metal, referencing the brand’s first Art Deco watches from the late 1930s. The Tuscan Copper edition pays homage to Italy’s artistic legacy. Its sunray dial in a salmon hue is a statement piece and a highly coveted rarity among Bulgari connoisseurs.  Stigliani says the metallic salmon tone draws inspiration from the roots of 16th-century Italian art and Mannerism, the disruptive movement of the time that marked his training as a designer. Therefore, his colour choice symbolises an experimental and disruptive artistic approach.

“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,” Stigliani reveals in ‘Bulgari Beyond Time’.

Next to launch was Lucea, with new interpretations bound to captivate hearts for another decade with its feminine grace and jewelled brilliance. “It’s about capturing the best of both worlds, merging substance with style at the nexus of high watchmaking and high jewellery. Rather than merely adding diamonds to a tourbillon, we craft a jewel and then envision the calibre that would best complement it,” says Babin. 

Bulgari Lucea

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the watch dazzles with diamond-set dials and iridescent mother-of-pearl, embodying the grandeur of Rome and Bulgari’s artistry. Every detail, from its refined case to its symmetrical bracelet, exudes an enduring elegance reminiscent of Bulgari’s incredible jewellery.

“Our roots lie in Rome and the artistry of jewellery-making,” states Babin in ‘Bulgari Beyond Time’. “Our high-jewellery watch collections embody this dual legacy at their very core, showcasing its multiple facets – architectural, cultural, and emotional.”

Crafted meticulously, Lucea’s mother-of-pearl Intarsio and malachite inlay made of upcycled stone fragments pay homage to nature’s splendour and capture the sixties’ fascination with coloured stones. Diamond accents add a touch of opulence. As a testament to Bulgari’s heritage, each watch is a masterpiece, blurring the line between timepiece and jewel.

“Our rich heritage in jewellery 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,” adds Stigliani.

In Bulgari’s realm, time transcends mere seconds and minutes, becoming a journey through elegance and emotion. From the ‘icon of icons’ Bulgari Bulgari to the revolutionary Octo Finissimo and the luminous Lucea, each timepiece is a testament to the enduring allure of gold and Bulgari’s legacy. Antoine Pin, Director of Bulgari Watches, says they translate “better than any other object, the emotions and meanings from those who create them to those who experience them.”

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