INTRODUCING: The Bulgari High-End Watch 2020 Novelties show the “jeweller of time” in absolutely top formZach Blass
It cannot be refuted how much Switzerland has influenced horology and the luxury watch industry at large. As a result, designs across brands can seem familiar when they all draw from the same well of inspiration and technique. Bulgari, however, continues to stand out from the pack, blending its Swiss watchmaking know-how with its Italian mastery of design. The Bulgari High-End Watch 2020 Novelties are clear examples of the fact that “high-jewellery” and “high-watchmaking” artisans can work in tandem to create pure magic for the wrist. All of these watches are true works of art from the Roman Jeweller of Time.
The Octo Roma Arabesque ref. 103403
The Octo Roma Arabesque ref. 103403 is a gorgeous museum piece of a watch. Its 40mm 18k pink gold case is adorned with a baroque embroidery of pink sapphires, tourmalines, emeralds and diamonds. According to Bulgari, “The Arabesque shape is a key figure in baroque architecture, a touchstone of the romantic eclecticism that defined the era’s churches and palazzi.” You would think the dial cover would make the watch quite thick, but this is not the case (see what I did there?).
Powered by the manufacture caliber BVL 268 — the thinnest tourbillon on the market — the insides of the watch are no less impressive than its externals and it creates an interesting juxtaposition of minimalism and maximalism that can only be achieved with a high degree of technical expertise — all of which can easily slide under a shirt cuff.
The Lady Arabesque Secret Watch ref. 103375
The Lady Arabesque Secret Watch ref. 103375 is a more feminine approach to the arabesque concept.
Instead of a secret watch hidden under a cover, the dial in the Lady Arabesque Secret Watch is blended into the arabesque pattern in the middle (slightly off-centre) of the bracelet-style watch.
It is crafted in pink gold with a single round rubellite measuring just under 12 carats, nearly 30 carats of pink sapphires, Paraiba tourmalines, emeralds, and some 13 carats of variously cut and pavé-set diamonds.
The Serpenti Misteriosi Baroque Pearls Secret Watch ref. 103374
The Serpenti Misteriosi Baroque Pearls Secret Watch ref. 103374 is a one-of-a-kind creation set with emeralds, Akoya pearls, and diamonds. This watch pays homage to the “Perla Scaramazza”. The use of this irregular natural pearl is a nod to jewellery made during the Baroque Period (XVI – XVII) and would later be known as the “Baroque pearl”.
Only technical experts such as Bulgari can tame “Perla Scaramazza”, which is all the more spectacular due to its uniqueness and imperfect shape. It is an incredible feat of artistry and watchmaking. This complex creation required 2300 hours (almost 96 days) to complete. According to Bulgari, the diamond pavé swirls channel the Baroque inspiration, as do more than 220 pearls that embellish the incredibly supple bracelet.
Chosen and matched for consistent colour and size, the pearls alternate with diamond-set rings to demarcate the piece and align with the iconic Serpenti aesthetic. A rare cabochon-cut emerald of more than 12 carats hides the snow-set diamond dial.
The Serpenti Misteriosi Intrecciati Sapphires ref. 103344
The Serpenti Misteriosi Intrecciati Sapphires ref. 103344 is the latest entry in the Serpenti Misteriosi Intrecciati lineup. First launched in 2019, the designs were inspired by High Jewellery pieces found within the Maison’s archives. Featuring a distinctive and original Bulgari design, it combines a double-headed snake with a beaded bracelet, creating a comfortable yet luxurious design that wraps around the wrist beautifully.
The beads work together to really drive home the serpent aesthetic and simulates its fluid movement on the wrist. Crafted in 18k rose gold, the watch features two linked Serpenti snakeheads, one of which houses the watch dial and mechanism inside its mouth. Set on a bracelet made with 426 sapphire beads totalling more than 100 carats, the new Serpenti model is embellished with sapphires and diamonds of various shapes.
The Octo Roma Tourbillon Sapphire Malachite ref. 103231
The Octo Roma Tourbillon Sapphire Malachite ref. 103231 is a horologically handsome creation that blends some of the best jewellery and horology craftsmanship in the world. The 44mm watch is encased in a platinum case set with baguette-cut diamonds. Its middle case, or caseband, is fashioned in malachite, providing a satin yet glossy green aesthetic only the coveted green stone can provide. On full display via its skeletonised aesthetic, the watch is powered by the in-house manufacture BVL 206 caliber with manual winding and a flying tourbillon. What truly blows my mind about this movement is not just its sleek tourbillon, but the fact the caliber is made of 18k white gold!
To make the skeleton design more legible to the wearer, the indexes are decorated with malachite — matching its green hours and minutes hands. The crown matches the movement material and is also fabricated in 18k white gold. Adding more green into the mix, the strap is made of green alligator leather with an 18k white gold folding clasp set with baguette-cut diamonds. Typically, Bulgari has reserved its stone-based creations for its women’s designs, but Bulgari has done a superb job of reminding the world why malachite was known as “the stone of kings”. This is a limited edition of 30 pieces.
The Bulgari High-End Watch 2020 Novelties really drive home how beneficial it is to have a diverse portfolio of skillsets within a Maison. We continually discuss the benefits of in-house capabilities (especially when it comes to movement manufacture), and yet we seem to forget how powerful it can be to have true jewellery know-how in-house — ready to be leveraged and, in turn, create some extraordinary pieces that push the boundaries of what we believe a watch should look like. While not everyone will be able to afford such high-end creations, we can all appreciate the craftsmanship at play here and acknowledge the incredible imagination and execution of these Bulgari designs. To enquire about any of these extraordinary works of art, please contact [email protected]