From the Octo Finissimo to the Bulgari Bulgari, the luxury house’s biggest horological icons radiate forthright opulence
Contrary to popular belief, gold—not black—is the shade that never fades. The house of Bulgari attests to this with spectacular timepieces emanating the regal hue at LVMH Watch Week 2024. The fourth edition of the showcase from the luxury conglomerate, LVMH Watch Week has become a curtain raiser for the new horological year, with Bulgari radiating alluring charms for 2024.
Just as it was traded as currency in ancient Greece, and used to craft the most treasured of luxury accoutrements throughout centuries, the world’s most coveted metal has never lost its lustre since it was first mined in the Transylvanian Alps in the 4000 B.C. Gold’s rarity, of course, contributes to its desirability. But there is also its unmistakable sheen; the unmistakable buttery glow that, depending on its alchemy, can evoke a sunrise or sunset in all its glorious spectrum.
And it is in this spirit of enduring desirability that Bulgari has clothed its latest creations. Whether employed in a starring role in the Bulgari Bulgari and Octo Finissimo watches, or supporting a cast of extravagant stones in the Lucea collection, the presence of gold lends gravitas to the new watches.
The Bulgari Bulgari collection, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, flaunts its age with neither fear nor bashfulness, thanks to its simple yet effective combination of stark colours.
Famed for the brand name that is writ large twice on the bezel, the line’s unabashed showiness is best demonstrated by the version sporting an 18k yellow gold case with a simple black dial and alligator strap. Offered in 38mm automatic and 26mm quartz models, the look on these creations is resolutely old-school, and they work a treat for those looking for a classic dress watch with presence.
Besides those classic iterations, the marque also enlists K-pop artist Lisa of Blackpink fame for an exclusive Bulgari Bulgari roll-out. Limited to 1,100 pieces for the 33mm version, and 400 pieces for the 23mm option, the Bulgari Bulgari x Lisa editions are dainty in size but exuberant in spirit. Housed in gold and steel, the watches brandish white mother-of-pearl mosaic dials crafted from over 400 squares of the material, and an image of Lisa’s favourite flower, the edelweiss, on the caseback.
In a similar vein, the new yellow gold-clad Octo Finissimo exudes mature refinement and sobriety. The watch’s signature slimness—it measures just 6.4mm in height—is endowed with weighty refinement, courtesy of the full-gold case and bracelet. A sleek royal blue dial with sunray finish elevates the watch’s sophistication, while the artful combination of angular facets and lines on the case and bracelet allow the material to shine with an interplay of shadow and light.
For its feminine offerings in the Lucea collection, Bulgari’s designers take a light touch, judiciously using the precious metal to accentuate the watches’ stunning gem-setting and dials crafted with mother-of-pearl and malachite.
There are steel variants of the new Lucea watches, but it is the bi-metal rose gold and steel models with automatic movements that really captivate. Against the two-tone backdrop, the watches’ bejewelled artistry takes on greater vibrancy.
The model featuring the mother-of-pearl dial gleams with the material’s characteristic iridescence, thanks to the Intarsia technique of cutting and assembling the pieces of mother-of-pearl in ray-like patterns with three-dimensional pleating. The version that features a green malachite marquetry dial is equally gorgeous, crafted by way of marquetry technique using upcycled pieces of the mineral that were carefully selected, cut and hand assembled. On both versions, the watches are accentuated by a sprinkling of stones—bezel set with round brilliant-cut diamonds, hour markers set with 12 diamonds, and rose gold crown set with a cabochon-cut synthetic sapphire and diamond.
“(These watches) express the essence of our jeweller’s soul,” says Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, “because Bulgari’s heritage is rooted in the art of bringing gold and precious stones together, with extreme precision, to create exceptional pieces.”