Make way for the Diva: Bulgari's watchmaking renaissance

Roman opulence and rigorous Swiss watchmaking herald Bulgari's brave and very beautiful new way of keeping time. 

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Bulgari DIVAS DREAM  PEACOCK rose gold watch

There are women’s luxury watches and there are Buglari’s that are increasingly making their mark with a seductively self-assured style. While the men’s Octo has become a pillar of elegance, women have been spoilt with a selection of watches that look like no others and are coveted like few others. A preview of the 2019 launches confirms that a watchmaking renaissance is well underway at this Italian jewellery and watch house. 

This is not a case of diamond sprinkles on a watch, Bulgari, has introduced a whole new way of looking at women’s watches.  Firstly and foremost a jeweller, and one with a very singular style, the bold and opulent bravura we see in the sinuous outsized jewels bursting with glossy colourful cabochons is translated into watchmaking. A Bulgari woman’s watch is as beautiful in concept and execution as a jewel, walking the fine line between Ancient Roman roots but with an eye set on the future.

And its not just about style, substance is very much present and few jewellers have harnessed Swiss horological rigour with such attractive results.  Take the Divas’ Dream Peacock watch (above), a vibrant peacock’s feather adorns the dial of this rose gold watch. The restrained elegance of the smooth gold case lets the natural beauty of the iridescent feather sing out. A simple idea, executed with the confidence of a master of design.  What’s more, a mechanical self-winding movement powers the watch, showing respect for women’s appreciation of both aesthetics and uncompromising quality. 

Not only is this Bulgari Divas’s Dream Finissima a beautiful jewel-like object but it also happens to be the world’s thinnest minute repeater thanks to the sophisticated and ultra-slender BVL 362 caliber that chimes the minutes on sliding up the diamond-set petal-shape charm on the side of the watch.

The Divas’s Dream Finissima minute repeater (above) is at the pinnacle of this horological re-birth. This timepiece is not just a jaw-droppingly beautiful watch it also the world’s thinnest minute repeater thanks to the sophisticated and ultra-slender BVL 362 caliber that chimes the minutes on sliding up the diamond-set petal on the side of the watch. This achievement alone would be enough to earn the watch a place in the high watchmaking achievements of Bulgari. But never subjugating style to mechanics, Bulgari’s designers create a sublime case of white gold with flared diamond-set lugs combined with a majestic Aventurine dial reminiscent of a star-studded night sky. A true diva, this watch wears its mechanical pedigree with effortless glamour.

Sapphires and diamonds meet high horology in the white gold Bulgari Lucea Skeleton watch with sapphires surrounding the open-work or skeletonised automatic winding movement.

Ever looking for new ways to make traditional watchmaking relevant and appealing, the Lucea Skeleton (above)  breathes charm and charisma into a somewhat stale Swiss speciality. The art of skeletonising a movement, considered one of the watchmaking ‘complications’ consists of removing from the movement and bridges all but the vital amount of metal and foregoing the dial. This complex process is reserved for mechanical watches with their more sophisticated innards and the result is a view into the secret workings and the very beating heart of the watch. Geeky? Perhaps, but not when Bulgari’s crack design team take over. The eye-popping architecture of the hundreds of moving parts of the watch are a backdrop to a playful dance of diamond-set letters that spell out B U L G A R I. ‘I’m cute but smart too,’ is the message this watch sends out. The Lucea Skeleton is available on either a leather strap or a Tubogas bracelet.

A house favourite for decades, the Serpenti is able to shed its skin and present new versions such as this rose gold and steel version with a shimmering diamond-pavé dial or a double twist with a guilloche dial. The single-spiral steel and rose gold bracelet twists around the wrist with ease.

And no Bulgari watch unveiling is complete without the presence of the iconic Serpenti. Winding its way through Bulgari’s history since the 1950’s the new Serpenti Tubogas (above) watch is on a rose gold and steel bracelet made up of a single spiral. The bracelet, that opens to slip over the wrist like a spring, is made from two long bands of gold and steel, twisted together without any articulations or soldering to create the perfect tension. Pushing the boundaries not only of design and mechanics, the Serpenti Spiga (below)  is ambassador for Bulgari’s tenacious exploration into new materials. Previous versions of the Spiga have dazzled in white or black high-tech ceramic but the latest rendition is a warm chocolate brown hue. The cool-to-the-touch yet highly resistant and scratch-proof ceramic is treated to a metallised finish and the ceramic links are interspersed with rose gold. The effect is futuristic with ancient symbolism.

Meet a new chocolate-brown version of the Bulgari Serpenti Spiga watch with brown ceramic links with a metallic finish interspersed with rose gold ones that seamlessly merge into the stylised Serpent’s head dial that shimmers with a row of diamonds.  

And this is just the warm-up for the main event as Bulgari is holding back its big surprises for the March Baselworld watch and jewellery show. We will keep you posted, but in the meantime enjoy these Latin beauties with a Swiss heart.  

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