The Bulgari debuts an extravagant, megawatt collection of high jewelry watches. A secret watch set with over 4,800 stones, a necklace set with a 218.53-carat Colombian emerald, and an Octo Roma wristwatch adorned with a cameo of the Roman emperor Augustus encircled in diamonds—these are just a few of the opulent pieces to debut in Bulgari's new high jewelryand watch collection, presented to press and clients at a star star-studded event in Venice, Italy attended by Zendaya, Anne Hathaway, and Priyanka Chopra.
Jewelers are now going above and beyond to delight their VIP clients in exotic settings with once-in-a-lifetime experiences. This event included a dinner at the Palazzo Ducale (the home of the Doge—or leader—of the city and the seat of Venetian authority), a magnificently ornate setting never before open to a corporate event.
The jewels were then paraded down a runway created by Venetian glass artists.
The jeweled timepieces, on the other hand, were perhaps the stars of the house's new line. They also suggested a new path for the house, indicating that it intends to further combine its high jewelry skills with watchmaking. Antoine Pin, managing director of Bulgari's watch division, said:
I would say it’s common sense. You want to work hand-in-hand to join forces and be better at everything you do and, frankly, it’s helping us massively. We’re exploring new techniques, we’re buying our stones together [the watch teams now go on the stone buying trips]. It’s about engineering but also purchasing power. When we are buying our stones all together we have more access to dealers and more stones.- Antoine Pin
The elaborate Giardino Marino Grande secret watch, a smorgasbord of gem-set fish, seashells, coral, starfish, and trembling anemone that took 3,900 hours to manufacture, was the focus of the exhibition that highlighted the strategy.
(Brand reps say it took between 4,000 and 6,000 hours of work.) Recollections differ, but suffice it to say that this is a masterwork that necessitated all of Bulgari's high-level competence.
The watch incorporates the company's Piccolissimo movement, one of the world's tiniest calibers, which was unveiled last year. As previously said, it is surrounded by 4,800 stones and has a few surprises.
Another sapphire and diamond-encrusted shell reveals a pearl. Bulgari's product creation executive director, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, told Robb Report:
It was a very long process to find and even cut the stones because it’s not that easy to find the different shades of the stones and the Paraiba for the big fish. The backbone of these two pieces is like coral, so all of the elements were designed with very, very small details.- Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani
In the Giardino Marino Piccolo, there was also a companion piece in blue and green, embellished with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, Paraiba tourmalines, tanzanite, green tourmalines, tsavorites, topaz, and peridot to create its garden of the sea. Its watch, which also has a Piccolissimo movement, is set beneath a transparent pear-shaped topazstone.
The seven-figure-plus, one-of-a-kind pieces were sold to one client—and while the bracelets' magnificent landscapes were too large for her wrist, it was hardly a deterrent: she planned to display them as works of art in a showcase in her house.
These intricate constructions are marvels worthy of their own museum. The Giardino Marino Grande, according to Buonamassa Stigliani, is the most difficult high jewelry watch the house has ever created. When asked if he wanted to top his work next year, he said emphatically "Yes" and added, laughing, "I’ll be honest with you, the jewelers are starting to say to me, ‘Maybe you need a few months’ vacations.'"
Inside the Bulgari Mediterranea High Jewelry Showroom | Bulgari Mediterranea High Jewelry collection
While these two clocks were the pinnacle of the high jewelry timepieces, they were far from the only ones in the collection that were incredibly imaginative and elaborate.
There was also an aquarium for the wrist in a Diva's Dream design with a dial of degraded Paraiba tourmalines, sapphires, and diamonds and two moving fish that look to swim and come decorated in rubies and rubellites, respectively, and Paraiba tourmalines and sapphires.
They are surrounded by corals, shells, and stones that appear to float beneath the domed sapphire crystal glass of the watch. Bulgari is using this structure for the second time; it originally appeared in the house's cooperation with avant-garde watchmaker MB&F in 2021.
Consider this diamond, rubellite, and emerald peacock bracelet watch, which wraps around the wrist in the same way that the company's Serpenti and Tubogas bracelets coil and uncoil around the arm rather than employing a hinge system.
The mix of ease of wear and high-impact glitz is a particularly enticing prospect for modern women.
But Bulgari didn't forget about the gentlemen. In fact, the brand went all-in on high jewelry watchmaking for them as well. The Octo Roma Mediterranea is a secret watch for men that has a diamond octopus with swirling tendrils gripping Paraiba tourmalines and sapphires.
The image unfolds to reveal a watch powered by an ultra-thin manual BVL 268 SK caliber with a flying tourbillon. Buonomassa Stigliani of the collection said:
We are looking for perfection, in terms of beauty. We are looking for something each time that adds value to the brand and talk about a new story with our clients and new clients. That’s why it’s not just an obsession to make things more difficult than the previous year, it’s just because we loveto make beautiful things. And these elements—the fishes and the shells—come from the Bulgari archive. Often the inspiration is the brand itself, but our idea is to make an evolution of the brand.- Buonomassa Stigliani