Bulgari has really gone to town this year and offers a wide array of especially precious watches brimming with Italian style and the vivacious shapes, big volumes and rich colors of its jewels. Thanks to the talented Roman design team, the glamour of diamonds, opulently colored gemstones and sculptural gold forms meet Swiss watchmaking rigor.
This renaissance of the art of watchmaking at Bulgari has not gone unnoticed and five out of the house’s six new watches are shortlisted for the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genéve, the Oscars of watchmaking world. And what’s more, two of them are Bulgari ladies’ watches.
And of course the Serpent figures largely, from sleek almost abstract interpretations of this reptile to lifelike coils of gold draped around the wrist. Perhaps most magnificent is the Serpenti Misteriosi My Handcuff watch (above) that sits in the Wild Pop high jewelery collection launched this summer. An entirely diamond-set lethal predator with deep-red rubellite eyes and markings is frozen forever in his tracks as he slithers over vibrant, jungle-green plaques of malachite.
Following closely on his tail is the Serpenti Misteriosi Pallini (above). Pallini, the Italian for dots, refers to the hundreds of mobile small gold balls that bristle out from the coils of the Tubogas bracelet. The flexible Tubogas bracelet that springs back to shape without the aid of any articulations is complex to make, so adding a large number of gold balls to the surface must have the kept the goldsmiths up at night. But the result is so appealing and tactile that it was worth the effort and with each move of the wrist the balls gently move.
The Serpenti Seduttori has changed its skin yet again and now comes in the shape of two bracelet watches (above). The serpent’s rose gold body is decorated with either glossy black lacquer scales or a pavé of diamonds in a bold geometric pattern. Beneath the amethyst or pink sapphire eyes, the head flips open to reveal a little watch dial.
A stylised snake encircles the dial of the two new Serpenti Incantati watches (above). My favorite is the green malachite version that uses the beauty of this hard stone to stunning effect in both the snake and the dial. For lovers of the color red, the second version features a diamond and creamy mother of pearl snake on a deep red strap. Not a fan of red? No problem, the strap can be changed to create a totally different look.
But Bulgari is not just about the Serpenti. Diva’s Dream Roman Nights (below) makes a grand entrance with a ‘mystery’ dial powered by an in-house made automatic movement. Offering women a complication of their own, there are no hands but time is read on two rotating blue aventurine discs. Aventurine glass is made in Murano, Italy and flecked with copper to create the effect of a shimmering night sky.
The round diamond marks the hours, while the pear-shape tracks the passing minutes. The sapphires and diamonds in the bezel and inner ring offer a little help in getting an approximate time reading though this watch was not designed for precision timekeeping. What it does do, which in my view, is far more interesting is to display in diamonds the stars in the sky above Rome. The watch is available in either rose or white gold.
So if you like a dash of Roman flair with your horology, there is nowhere else to head than Bulgari where serpents weave their way around the wrist and divas dream of diamond-studded night skies.
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