Bulgari’s watchmaking division is well on is way to establishing the Bulgari brand as a maker of timepieces that are as iconic and well crafted as its famous jewelry. This year, the company introduced new mechanisms and continued to consolidate its reputation as a manufacture, with many of its watches now containing in-house movements, a mark of distinction.
The piece that has everyone talking this year is the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, which is being touted as the world’s thinnest tourbillon, at just 5.00mm thick. It contains a manual wound caliber that measures just 1.95mm thick. This feat is achieved by several technical innovations, including the absence of an upper bridge, a redesigned barrel cage and caseback screws that were redesigned to be shorter. The case is platinum, as befits a timepiece that constitutes an important introduction.
Also new in the Octo line is a new chronograph movement, the Velocissimo, a high-frequency automatic caliber (36,000 VpH), equipped with a column wheel and silicon escapement, with a 50-hour power reserve. The movement is cased in either 18k pink gold or steel, with a rich, black lacquered dial.
Bulgari is becoming known for its chiming watches, and collectors will take note this year of the Ammiraglio del Tempo (Admiral of Time), a Westminster chime minute repeater with four hammers and four gongs. An homage to marine chronometers, the movement is distinguished by a detent escapement designed for high accuracy, including a constant-force device to regulate the energy supplied by the barrel to the balance. An intriguing feature of this high complication is that one of the lugs serves as the activating slide for the minute repeater, a first in watchmaking.
Bulgari also demonstrates its expertise in the decorative arts or metiers of watchmaking this year with the Giardino Marino, a tourbillon (Caliber BVL 263). The remarkable dial features inset mother-of-pearl, coral, turquoise and diamonds against a background of dark blue lacquer. The bezel is set with 36 diamonds totaling 2.88 carats. The watch is platinum, with a 22k gold rotor, and will be produced in a limited edition of 50 pieces.
Another tourbillon, this one designed exclusively for ladies, is the Berries Tourbillon Emeralds, with a flourish of seven emeralds set within nearly three carats of diamonds in a swirl that surrounds the tourbillon cage. The rest of the dial is composed of mother-of-pearl marquetry. The crown is also set with an emerald. There is also a ruby version of this watch, which contains a Bulgari-manufactured hand wound movement.
The new star of Bulgari’s full ladies’ collections is the Lucea, a tribute to the sundial. Light (or luce in Italian) is the essence of the sundial, and is represented here by the light return from 12 diamonds on the dial and, on the model shown here by the luminous glow of mother-of-pearl. The architectural bracelet is made with hinged links for a coiled effect reminiscent of the brand’s famous Serpenti line. The crown is a cabochon cut gem, centered by a diamond. This is a full collection, with several dial, metal and gem options, containing the self-winding Caliber B77.
Rounding out the impressive offering of ladies’ watches this year is a new version of the Catene, introduced last year, with a vibrant carnelian dial. These ladies’ watches represent the brand’s heritage as a jeweler, with gems, enameling and craftsmanship that attest to its legacy as a maker of some of the world’s most famous jewels.
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