Bvlgari Is Having A Year Of Gold, Black, And Creative Juices From Japan
The tsunami of new watches may have just hit us barely a month ago at Geneva Watch Days 2022. The toll, however, is already subsiding and turning into a distant memory. Now that we have regained some composure, certain pieces seem to have gradually surfaced to salience. When it came to Bvlgari, it took me some time to recognize how concise and comprehensive the launch presentation was. And that alone is no mean feat for any brand to accomplish. Between Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie, from top-of-the-scale to entry-level mechanical timepieces, the luxury house has it all covered masterfully.
The golden celebrations
Unsurprisingly, the spotlight is on the Octo Finissimo novelties. Dominating the headlines has become normal for this range with its string of accolades and world records. Subsequently, every launch has turned into a highly anticipated event. This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Octo family, Bvlgari is in the spirit to make things shine. For the first time, the brand has greeted us with a strong presence of gold watches in the Octo lineup. Newly suited and booted are the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic in rose gold and two Octo Finissimo Automatic in rose gold and yellow gold versions, which we have covered here.
Before we have time to grasp for a breath, the star of the show sashays in. Turning our heads is the GPHG-nominated Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days boasting an impressive brand-new in-house caliber BVL 199 SK. Thanks to this wafer-thin movement engineered to run for 192 hours on a full wind, the masterpiece, which we have covered here, has a power reserve of eight days. It dwells within a 40mm satin-polished rose gold case that measures just 5.95mm thick. The meticulously skeletonized structure affords you a view into the intricate inner workings.
The Japanese-designed dials
Joining the celebrations are two limited editions touting creative input from Japan. The Octo Finissimo Sejima Edition is the fruit of a collaboration with award-winning architect Kazuyo Sejima. Sejima was the second woman ever to win the Pritzker Prize (known as “the Nobel prize for architecture”). Renowned for her clean and modern aesthetic, her work favors the use of glass or slick surfaces. This is more than evident in the Octo Finissimo Sejima Edition.
The 6.4mm-thick Sejima Edition is the archetype of Japanese minimalism. The metalized dot pattern on the sapphire crystal is meticulously produced to play with transparency and reflections. The 40mm Octo Finissimo Sejima Edition houses the manufacture BVL 138 caliber. It is visible through the sapphire display case back that also displays Sejima’s signature. This special edition, which Andreas covered here, is limited to only 360 pieces.
Three travel styles
In that same article, you can also see the Bvlgari Aluminium Sorayama Edition with a dial that comes from the hands of Japanese hyper-realism artist Hajime Sorayama. The circular graining pattern of the dial mimics the metal bodywork surface of the plane Spirit of St. Louis, which performed the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927. The Aluminium Sorayama is accompanied by two other new Bvlgari Aluminum models, the Chronograph Ducati and the Amerigo Vespucci, each limited to 1,000 pieces. This trio of special editions represents three modes of travel thrills — air, land, and sea.
The Bvlgari Aluminum trio
On one hand, the Aluminum Chronograph Ducati Edition with its tri-register red dial aims to evoke the adrenaline from riding the namesake Italian motorbike racing machines. On the other, the Aluminum Amerigo Vespucci Edition with a GMT complication is a nod to the majestic Italian sailing ship of the same name. The color scheme for the watch in black, white, and yellow gold is emblematic of the vessel that honors the famous Florentine sea explorer. And we have delved deeper into the watch in this article here.
As new additions to the Bvlgari Aluminum range — an entry-level collection launched in 1998 — all three limited editions come in the signature aluminum-rubber pairing. The 40mm aluminum case with a “BVLGARI BVLGARI” stamped black rubber bezel, the black DLC titanium case back, and the black rubber strap with aluminum links are all hallmarks of the collection. And since the movement upgrades in 2020, beating inside the non-chronograph Bvlgari Aluminum models is the automatic BVL 192 caliber, a modified Sellita SW-330. The Ducati Edition houses the automatic BVL 130, a chronograph based on the ETA 2894-2.
The black Bvlgari Bvlgari
Another novelty one price level up is the Bvlgari Bvlgari in full-black armor, which we covered here. The 41mm watch features a black lacquered dial with hand-applied indexes and a date at 3 o’clock. It is fitted with a “BVLGARI BVLGARI” engraved steel bezel and a black DLC bracelet with satin-polished contrasting finishes. At the heart of the all-black Bvlgari Bvlgari is the high-grade automatic BVL 191 (aka the Solotempo caliber), which is entirely developed and produced in-house. A transparent case back offers a view into the beautifully finished movement.
The black Serpenti trio
Apart from gold, black is also an unmistakably strong theme for Bvlgari this year. Three new women’s quartz watches in the Serpenti collection are all clad in black. Since the 1940s, the Serpenti (“snakes” in Italian) has been an iconic staple for the Roman jeweler. In 2019, Bvlgari introduced the Serpenti Seduttori, a slimmer design with a bracelet formed by interlinking hexagonal scales. The two new Serpenti Seddutori models come in a 33mm black DLC steel case with a bracelet in the same finish and with a black lacquered dial. The rose gold bezel is plain for one version and set with 38 round brilliant-cut diamonds for the other.
One more black offering is the 35mm Serpenti Spiga Ceramic, a limited edition of 340 pieces. The Spiga line joined the Serpenti family in 2014, and this double-spiral bracelet-watch is crafted in black ceramic employing the Tubogas technique (as we discussed here) of metal jewelry craftsmanship popularized by Bvlgari. The rose gold bracelet links are adorned with 152 diamonds (1ct in total) and the rose gold bezel with 38 diamonds (~ 0.29ct).
Closing the show with a bang, Bvlgari is upping the game for women’s watches in high-mechanical fine jewelry. Thus enters the equally impressive showstopper, the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon. Don’t let the looks fool you. This dazzling devil is as much of a masterpiece as an Octo Finissimo at the top of the scale.
This novelty boasts a miniature tourbillon in a 34mm white gold case encrusted with diamonds and black spinels. The diminutive yet powerful engine is the result of two years’ in-house development of the manual-winding caliber BVL 150, measuring only 3.65mm in thickness with a tourbillon cage 10.88mm in diameter.
The legend continues
The Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon is the latest in the luxury house’s Haute Horlogerie impetus for jewelry watches in recent years, which we discussed here earlier this week. Combining its Haute Joaillerie expertise with its outstanding manufacturing capability, Bvlgari is primed to push the limits of horological art in its truest sense.
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