It’s inevitable. The Bulgari name always brings to mind Elizabeth Taylor and her well-documented love for the Serpenti (amongst the many other jewels she owned from the brand). In fact, the screen siren was so fond of the reptilian accessory she insisted on wearing it on the set of her movie, Cleopatra. Former lover Richard Burton even revealed once, “The only world Elizabeth knows in Italian is Bulgari.”
While the Italian luxury label has been around since 1884, its first jewellery watch—an elegant platinum creation decked with diamonds—was only produced in 1918. Here are five new ones from this year’s Baselworld fair that we’ve got our eyes on.
Diva Finissima Minute Repeater
The celebratory piece from this year’s collection holds a new world record for its engine - the world’s thinnest minute repeater movement in a ladies’ watch. Apart from chiming the time on demand, this stunning timepiece comes in a slim 18K rose gold case with brilliant cut diamonds on the lugs, bezel and charm that activates the minute repeater. A single diamond adorns the crown while the dial is meticulously crafted from Urushi lacquer and sprinkled with gold dust for a mesmerising effect. Limited to 10 pieces.
Diva’s Dream Phoenix Tourbillon
Inspired by the motifs around the mosaics of the Caracalla thermal baths, the legendary phoenix adorns this Bulgari masterpiece. The gorgeous open-worked dial is completely hand-painted in gradient shades of red, orange, yellow and blue, depicting the phoenix beside a gust of fiery flames. Resting at the feet of the phoenix is the tourbillon in its full glory, seen through the open-worked dial. This breathtaking métiers d’art creation comes in a limited edition of just 50 pieces.
In a first for the collection, the new Lvcea is adorned with the iconic Tubogas bracelet. Available in five different versions, the model is enhanced with the contemporary coiled bracelet using a technique popularised in the 1940s, and then again in the 1970s when the brand incorporated it into watches, bracelets, necklaces and rings. This year, the Lvcea Tubogas comes in either 28mm or 33mm models, in stainless steel, rose gold, or a combination of both.
Another first for the Lvcea is a skeleton model with the in-house automatic BVL 191 calibre. Painstakingly handcrafted at Bulgari’s manufacture, the Lvcea Skeleton is the first skeleton watch to incorporate the letters of its brand name in the design. According to Bulgari, it is also the “only skeletonised watch in the market made expressly for women.” This collection comes in a red alligator strap or steel and 18K rose gold bracelet, perfectly complementing the different variations.
Serpenti Spiga Ceramic
For something a little more understated in the bling department but no less show-stopping, this version of the beloved Serpenti is an ebony-hued beauty. The five-toured black ceramic bracelet will guarantee all eyes are on your forearm, especially when it is accented with 18K rose gold inserts and brilliant-cut diamonds. For a pop of colour, the 18K rose gold crown is set with a cabochon-cut rubellite. While it’s also available in white ceramic, this black stunner is our hands-down pick.
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".