Editor's Pick, Time

Bvlgari’s latest creations celebrate watchmaking with resplendence of gold

Bvlgari’s latest creations celebrate watchmaking with resplendence of gold

Bvlgari’s showing at LVMH Watch Week 2023 was a memorable affair, as not a single men’s watch was released. Instead, Bvlgari’s high jewellery technicity was on full display following the “Time Is a Jewel” thematic release. Of course, a headlining men’s piece was revealed later that year in none other than the now-iconic Bvlgari Octo Finissimo family. Carbon and gold — two distinctly polarising materials — came together as a demonstration of Bvlgari’s aesthetic and watchmaking vision. While naysayers might be quick to criticise the timepiece for a lack of imagination, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani — product creation executive director — pointed out in an interview with Men’s Folio that the entire blueprint of the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo was changed to accommodate the carbon material. With the start of a brand new year, Jean Christophe Babin — CEO of Bvlgari — contemplated the romances of time. “The greatest challenge is to give shape to an emotion, especially when that emotion is measured in time,” remarked Babin. In doing so, Bvlgari enters 2024 with the ode — Beyond Time: Time is Gold.

For long, gold has been the commodity of luxury. Its preciousness has defied time from ancient civilisations, lasting till modern-day society. Aesthetically, it was representative of the sun, radiating an innate and natural warmth and luminance that no other metals ever could. A combination of these two pillars became the ideal conduit for Bvlgari to start a brand new year with the resplendence and warmth of a new dawn.

On the cusp of its 50th anniversary, Bvlgari unveils a new interpretation of the cult favourite Bvlgari Bvlgari. Before its widespread influence amongst A-listers, the Bvlgari Bvlgari existed as the mythical Bvlgari Roma, a gold digital watch created in 1975 as a Christmas gift for Bvlgari’s top clients. Only 100 pieces were ever created, and its surging lore prompted Bvlgari to release an analogue version later that year. It was not until 1977 that the Bvlgari Bvlgari came into existence. Given the maison’s Roman roots, the watch’s aesthetics mirrored that of gold coins dating back to the Roman Empire. The astronomical success of the Bvlgari Bvlgari saw numerous iterations released in the coming years, but more importantly, it marked the birth of Bvlgari’s watchmaking division headquartered in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

“With its pure aesthetic, the original Bvlgari Bvlgari perfectly embodies our DNA, without any need for further embellishment,” says Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. The maison, he continues, “revisits the essence of this initial creation, now subtly enhanced with modern technologies.”

This year’s release draws on the same spirit of the original Bvlgari Bvlgari. Encased within a yellow gold case, the bold BVLGARI BVLGARI engravings on the yellow gold bezel naturally take centre stage. A minimal matte black dial serves as the perfect foil for the precious metal to shine. The watch’s dimensions have been altered slightly to be in line with modern-day tastes, coming in at a gender-neutral 38mm case. Flipping the watch over reveals the automatic BVL 191 calibre visible through the open case back. Those who prefer a daintier piece will be pleased to see a 26mm version that uses quartz movement instead. The same two sizes are available in rose gold as well.

Bvlgari’s ultra-thin watchmaking saga continues with two new introductions to the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic line. The collection debuted in 2014 to great success as an exquisite blend of aesthetics and engineering gave ultra-slim watches a new dimension. As more complications such as the tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar were introduced to the collection, eight world records for slimness were smashed in the span of eight years.

The star of this year’s release is clad entirely in yellow gold. Here, the timeless lustre of yellow gold embraces the numerous facets of the Octo Finissimo. Its architectural and ultra-contemporary personality reinterprets the vintage charm of yellow gold, recalling the first Art Deco watches Bvlgari designed in the late 1930s. Instead of tampering with the gold case and bracelet’s lavishness, Bvlgari chose to accentuate it by complementing it with a sunray finish, deep blue lacquered dial with gold hour indices, and watch hands. Through the open case back lies the calibre BVL 138 — which measures just 2.23mm — demonstrating Bvlgari’s dominance in ultra-slim watchmaking.