Hot Take: Geneva Watch Days — Bvlgari Flexes Its Muscles
Given the central role Bvlgari played in the organization of Geneva Watch Days, it may not be fair to attempt to summarize the brand’s efforts in such a short post, but given that we’ll be dedicating separate posts to the major releases in due course it’s worth outlining our immediate takeaways of what was a really fantastic event.
Jean-Christophe Babin is a force of nature. That’s a description often (correctly) used to describe the other JCB, but it is just as appropriate for Bvlgari’s energetic CEO. I had the opportunity to sit down with him for the best part of an hour. We talked about Geneva Watch Days and Bvlgari’s new releases. As you will see from the video interview we have on the way, I spent most of our conversation listening. And why not? This is a man who is fizzing with enthusiasm. If anyone ever wonders what the job of a major watch brand CEO is, this is it. You have to be endlessly on. I know understand how Red Bull stays in business…
Babin spent much of the event talking to journalists and his esteemed colleagues. How he was still in full voice by the time Friday afternoon and the time of our interview rolled around, I do not know. If you have your eye on becoming a CEO one day, make sure you list superhuman vocal cords on your LinkedIn profile. It is astounding that at no point did he seem tired of the message he, and the event he was instrumental in putting together, was intent on delivering. Honestly, it’s hard not to be excited when in the presence of such conviction. I thanked him for the interview at the time. I feel compelled to thank him again, here, for sharing that vision in such an engaging, almost hypnotic fashion. Bvlgari can be very glad he’s on its side during Geneva Watch Days.
Aside from the event itself, the big news out of Bvlgari was the return of aluminum to the collection. RJ recently picked up one of the new aluminum chronographs, which he kindly loaned me for a couple of days. While I personally prefer the three-hander with the black dial (because I lament the absence of the circular red counterpoise on the chronograph), I was impressed by the build quality, lightness, comfort, and, especially, the rubber strap (or should that be bracelet?).
The (truly) iconic Bvlgari Octo Finissimo series continued to set records for what feels like the umpteenth event in a row. But the limelight was firmly fixed on the aluminum watches (which come in some very tasty aluminum boxes). Perhaps the news that piqued my interest more than anything was the release of a Frecce Tricolori limited edition with blue rubber elements.
…a vibrant and diverse collection perfectly suited to summer …
I didn’t lay eyes on this piece. It is reputedly sold out already having been offered to the Italian market before being widely announced. It started my mind whirring with the vast possibilities of the aluminum collection when it comes to customization. There is always the option to anodize the cases and change the color of the rubber components relatively easily. Consequently, this could become a vibrant and diverse collection perfectly suited to summer for many years to come. They may be made of aluminum, but Bvlgari might have struck gold here…
Hot take: Bvlgari is firing on all cylinders. The brand is propelled through difficult times by a CEO that refuses to lay down to any of 2020’s challenges. The aluminum collection has a huge amount of potential but I couldn’t stop thinking about one of my all-time favorite Bvlgari watches that I want to see updated — the Scuba. If the brand revitalizes that classic diver — in aluminum, also, perhaps — and delivers it on that exquisite rubber strap/bracelet it can take my money immediately. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Scuba’s rebirth will come soon.
The Gerald Genta brand (which operates under the Bvlgari umbrella) made a sterling return to form with the above piece. You’ll be hearing more about that model soon…
In-depth reviews of the pieces seen during Geneva Watch Days will follow. Feel free to comment below with your initial takeaways of new releases, the event format, and anything you’d like us to focus on or explore further.
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