If you take the term ‘game changer’ at its most literal, it is a development, a breakthrough that changes the game. No matter how you interpret the term, it’s a big call. And the watch world in particular is a big game to have any meaningful impact on, given the vastness of its history and the giants in its immediate and distant past.
At a recent event in Shanghai, Bulgari unveiled their most complicated watch ever, the Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar, which combines grand strike and perpetual complications – no mean feat, and an achievement appreciated by an Asian collector who bought it within a month of its first release in Rome in July at a price that we cannot disclose (but was more than $1 million AUD).
But this new pinnacle for Bulgari is not the subject of today’s interview. It is a forthright challenge to the Bulgari Managing Director Guido Terreni about the ongoing — some might argue increasing — association of the term ‘game changer’ with the Octo Finissimo collection. I asked him for three reasons it’s justified.
1. Because it makes ultra-thin watches contemporary
“To me, Finissimo is a game changer because it takes the tradition of ultra-thin watches and makes it a contemporary object,” Terreni says. “You are no longer wearing an ultra-thin watch of another generation of people. We are providing to a gentleman of today a contemporary feeling of a watch.”
2. It changes the physical sensation and the perception of what a luxury watch should be
“[The Finissimo] has a very light weight, which in watchmaking is usually seen as cheaper,” Terreni says. “But this is not the case. In fact, when you take out the weight you get to a point of an ultralight watch – this becomes extremely precious and extremely interesting. By breaking the rules of conventional watchmaking, you’re managing to give an emotional feeling, a sensational feeling that you haven’t experienced before. When you take your Finissimo off the wrist after a month, and you try to put something on again, you will find your previous collection heavier, less comfortable, more bulky. With all due respect, it’s a different sensation, and for me it becomes addictive. From a visual perspective, the ultralight sensation is reinforced by a bi-dimensional effect. You don’t have a 3D effect on your wrist.”
3. Because a true game changer only comes every 20 years or so and it’s time
“To me, a watch like the Octo Finissimo comes along in the industry every 20 years,” Terreni says. “It’s very rare to have a game changer in your career. I think we had two at Bulgari, because on the men’s side, the Octo Finissimo is obviously clearly understandable. On the other side is the Serpenti. The Serpenti is the most sexy watch you can provide a woman with and it’s extremely sensual. It’s not a downsizing of a man’s watch. It’s something specifically designed for ladies and it folds around the wrist. You embrace the wrist of a woman, and it’s extremely sexy … Women start fiddling with it, they play with it. It’s another experience in another way, like the Octo Finissimo. These two, that are, by the way, the best-selling lines and the most authentic lines of Bulgari. These are the two game changers.”