Bulgari reveals its bold and golden outlook for 2024
With the warm glow of precious metals featuring heavily among its first dozen releases for 2024, time is indeed gold at Bulgari.
As a jeweller and watchmaker that has close affinity with the LVMH Group’s haute couture labels, such as Fendi, Bulgari is joining their revival of ’80s and ’90s style trends with its first novelties of this year. Of course, the ’80s are also well-remembered for Italian cinema, fashion, design, and the market’s important role in reviving mechanical watch retail. It was an era of audacious design with creations such as the Bulgari Bulgari, a watch created by Gianni Bulgari and Gérald Genta, based on the 1975 Roma watch and ancient Roman coinage.
The Bulgari Bulgari
The Roma watch is about to hit 50 next year. To prep for the occasion, the brand brings back the Bulgari Bulgari in true Italian style, with yellow or rose gold cases that are unabashedly bold like its jewellery. The time-and-date models are simple and elegant but also complement the maximalist aesthetic that’s fashionable today. With a flat, coin-like design, straight lugs, and two dial options – matte silver opaline or matte black with a speckled texture – the new Bulgari Bulgari come in a petite 26mm or a well-balanced 38mm size.
The watch dials exemplify the idea of ‘less is better’. They are empty, save for narrow bar indexes in gold with two equally narrow Arabic numerals at ‘6’ and ‘12’ and a tiny date window at 3 o’clock that’s galvanised to match the dial. The polished case, hands, and indexes make a striking contrast against the matte dials. The 38mm models are powered by Bulgari’s BVL 191 Solotempo movement, which first appeared in the Sotirio Bulgari Solotempo watch that was also a tribute to this design. They are just 8.75mm thick, retaining the original spirit of this watch, and the 26mm watches are even slimmer at 6.35mm with a high-precision quartz movement within. Our favourite in this series is definitely the black-and-yellow-gold Ref. 103967.
The Octo Finissimo
The Octo Finissimo has been Bulgari’s platform for highly technical and ultra-thin watchmaking. Since its first release eight years ago, it has set impressive, thoroughly mind-blowing records against the traditional leaders in this space. For now, Bulgari is enjoying a breather on breaking new records. Instead, it’s adding two new models in the best way Italians know how to, with a generous dose of colour.
The first is the Octo Finissimo Yellow Gold, which brings the warm glow of this precious metal to the 58-faceted case with sharp chamfers and strong geometry. The case is paired with an equally slim bracelet and a jewellery-inspired triple-blade folding clasp designed by Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani himself. The 40mm case houses a deep blue lacquered display with matching yellow gold hands and markers. At just 6.4mm thick, the watch is powered by the BVL 138 movement, which has a power reserve of 60 hours, and is water resistant to 100m, making this a luxury sports watch to have.
The second Octo Finissimo comes in brushed 904L steel, coupled with a metallic salmon dial that Stigliani calls Tuscan Copper. Inspired by the Mannerist artists and their embrace of striking colours, the sunray-brushed dial stands out in natural light, going from light blush to deep pink at different angles. The polished facets and brushed flat surfaces of the case further enhance the dial’s hue, paired with rhodium-plated hands and indexes on the dial.
Lucea is all about keeping watchmaking fuss-free and giving it a playful visual identity. With the collection turning 10 this year, Bulgari has also given it a softened and gentler image with rounded V-links. Past dial designs have included skeletonised movements with Bulgari letters on its bridges and mother-of-pearl marquetry or other precious stones. This year, it adds mother-of-pearl Intarsio and malachite inlay to its repertoire, with spectacular jewellery techniques applied on the dials. The Intarsia mother-of-pearl dial features ‘rays’ made of finely cut mother-of-pearl shaped into a three-dimensional pleated display, while the latter uses tiny pieces of intense-coloured malachite to create a dial pieced together marquetry-style, with a particular tableau.
The two new Lucea designs come in two case sizes: 28mm with a quartz movement and 33mm with a self-winding movement and 42 hours of autonomy. They are available with diamonds on the crown, hour indexes, and either a bezel set with brilliant-cut diamonds or a plain gold model. The watches will be available in Bulgari’s boutiques and authorised retailers after this week; head to a store near you to discover how time is precious to the watchmaker.
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