Bulgari looks to seduce with Serpenti's rich history of style

Bulgari's history of lavish Serpenti watches inspires new creations fit for the most demanding jewellery lovers.


Bulgari continues to develop the Serpenti, its signature watch design, with the arrival this Spring of dazzling new high jewellery watches that emphasis both the mechanical prowess as well as the tradition of highly decorative finishes on these small coiling surfaces.

The Serpenti has been a star of the Roman jeweller since the 1950’s when the house evolved the Tubogas bracelets into the first Serpenti watches with a hidden dial, the perfect canvas for extravagant jewellery creations that often featured precious stones, enamel work and shimmering diamonds.

Serpenti Misteriosi Piccolissimo Secret high jewellery watches

Serpenti Misteriosi Piccolissimo Secret watch by Bulgari
Green lacquer over chased gold creates a dramatic effect in this Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi Piccolissimo Secret high jewellery watch when combined with 396 diamonds. 

The idea has come around full-circle as Bulgari unveils four Serpenti Misteriosi Piccolissimo Secret high jewellery watches. The ‘misteriosi’ and ‘secret’ references allude to the fact that the watch is concealed under the serpent’s head, something the house has been doing for decades. What is new is the ‘piccolissimo’ element that is in fact the smallest mechanical watch movement in the world and the first time in 50 years that the Serpenti is graced with a superior BVL100 mechanical movement, the norm being quartz for jewellery watches. The hand wound movement has shrunk 102 components into a case that is just over 1.2cm wide and a wafer-thin 0.25cm high.

This downsizing follows Bulgari’s phenomenal mechanical prowess with record breaking ultra-thin watches for men, housed in the Octo cases. Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Bulgari Product Creation Executive Director at Bulgari says of the latest incarnation of the iconic Serpenti watch: ‘We are very famous for the ultra-thin execution, and we try to have the same approach on the ladies’ side; it is a different way to talk about the same topic, and Serpenti is the most iconic signature in our history. Bulgari is not only a world record breaking watch creator, but the master of coloured gemstones too, which is why we have the Piccolissimo - the smallest movement that you can find on the market today - in a women’s timepiece.’

This coin-sized watch module is removable and it easily slides out by pushing down on the serpent’s tongue to allow the mechanism to be serviced or if it takes your fancy, to be worn on the other wrist. Buonamassi suggests that this modular watch movement is just the beginning of something new. Speculation could lead us to think that this modular watch can in the future be worn in other jewels such as a necklace or ring as the trend for multi-functional jewels gathers momentum.

Shrinking down a mechanical movement to a tiny disc is a ground breaking move for Bulgari and demonstrates their watchmaking mastery, now housed in four spectacularly bejewelled new Serpenti watches. The first is in yellow and white gold with emerald eyes and 795 diamonds (total 17 carats) set on its head and body. Alluding to the designs of the 1970’s, another version combines turquoise inserts with 724 diamonds (total 18 carats).  Showing the house’s skillful lacquer work, two other versions feature either green or black-lacquered scales rippling around the body of the serpent, the green version of which is interspersed with 396 diamonds.

Serpenti Misteriosi Romani

Serpenti Misteriosi Romani watch by Bulgari
Despite its length and the complexity of the diamond settings on the scales, the Serpenti Misteriosi easily slides onto the wrist thanks to the hidden steel coil that gives the watch its bounce.

Ending the high jewellery watches on a high, the Serpenti Misteriosi Romani is a staggeringly opulent cuff watch in white gold with a 35-carat Sri Lankan sapphire set into its head alongside 60 carats of diamond and a further 35 carats of sapphires adorning its scales that hug the wrist. This one of a kind creation has a quartz movement.

Serpenti Tubogas

Serpenti Tubogas watches by Bulgari
A rose gold and steel bracelet makes this Serpenti Seddutore ideal for everyday wear but always with a touch of Roman glamour. 

The Serpenti watch has a rich and intriguing history that began in the late 1940s when designers at Bulgari’s headquarters in Rome, decided to insert a watch into the fashionable stylized snake bracelets of the Art Deco period resulting in the genesis of this timepiece with a bite. These first versions of the watches were presented on an ergonomic and simple gold Tubogas bracelet. The flexible bracelet simulated the coiling snake’s body and was nicknamed Tubogas because of its similarity to a functional gas hose. Used in jewelry since 1870, Tubogas is testament to the enduring appeal of industrial-inspired designs that took off in the Art Deco period following the First World War, whose horrors catalysed society and brought a new vision of the future and the role of industry in progress.

Still very much a jewellery watch the Serpenti Tubogas is an easy to wear day to day style with two new versions. Both are a single coil and available in either yellow gold and steel or rose gold and steel picking up on this strong trend for mixed metals. The bezels are set with 38 diamonds and the mechanism is a high-precision Bulgari quartz movement. The shape of the coil has evolved to include a gently tapered tail and an oval-shaped head featuring a dial with a sunburst guilloche pattern adding a richness of texture to this watch that exudes an effortless Roman elegance.

Serpenti Seddutori

Serpenti Seddutori watch by Bulgari
The Bulgari Serpenti Seddutore rose gold watch now comes with a black lacquer dial for a sophisticated take on the all-gold bracelet watch. 

Born to be gold, the Serpenti Seddutori oozes glamour with its sleek, fluid lines. It features the same dial in the shape of a stylised serpent head that is found on the Serpenti Tubogas but has a slinky gold bracelet of hexagonal links reminiscent of the reptile’s scales, that drape on the wrist with a seductive ease. This year sees the addition of a steel version with a black lacquer dial as well the same dial on a steel and rose gold bracelet and a more precious all rose gold model. Each one is adorned with 38 diamonds and has a hassle-free quartz movement.

Looking at this year’s new arrivals it is clear that the Serpenti is a watch with attitude, which is something that can be said for most of Bulgari’s jewels.

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