Bulgari Cases and dials under one roof
Bulgari’s new production site in Saignelégier, which was commissioned just a few days ago, brings together all the different branches involved in the manufacture of watch cases.
The village of Saignelégier in the Swiss Jura is synonymous in the minds of most Swiss with the Marché Concours. The Saignelégier Marché Concours, which dates back to 1897, is one of Switzerland’s biggest horse festivals, and a major event for the region. But within this small district of not much more than 2500 inhabitants, watchmaking also plays a major role, as it does in many of the small towns and villages in the Joux Valley, the uplands of Neuchâtel and the Jura. The village is home to Maurice Lacroix, for example, and Bulgari has its casemaking and bracelet workshops there.
It was here that, on 8 November, Bulgari inaugurated its new integrated case and dial factory, at an event attended by senior Bulgari figures including CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, Antoine Pin, director of the watch division, and artistic director Fabrizio Buonamassa.
While the cases and metal bracelets for Bulgari watches were already manufactured here, the dial production unit used to be in La Chaux-de-Fonds. In a push towards “rationalisation and innovation”, Bulgari decided to bring these two activities together under one roof, with a view to “creating an integrated skills centre for the manufacture of watch exteriors”. Speaking at the inauguration, Jean-Christophe Babin emphasised the need for increased agility within the industry to respond to market conditions. Increased responsiveness requires adequate industrial infrastructure to reduce manufacturing and delivery times, and keep stocks low.
Serpenti dials and Octo cases © Bulgari
Two years after the idea for this new unit was first unveiled, in Rome in 2017, the new factory now offers a single production flow with a capacity of up to 90,000 to 100,000 pieces per year. One hundred and twenty-five people now work at the Saignelégier premises, which have been enlarged and completely refurbished to accommodate the new activities, and the employees who were previously based in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Bulgari points out that the move from La Chaux-de-Fonds, around 25 km away, has had minimal effect on jobs. Apart from two or three employees who were unable to move, and who have been given jobs elsewhere in the company, every staff member has now been transferred to the new factory. In total, around twenty specialisations work side by side to produce cases, bracelets and dials for Bulgari watches.
Bulgari is one of the rare watch companies with production facilities to handle the entire watch production process, from movement to bracelet, from case to dial. In addition to the Saignelégier unit, Bulgari Haute Horlogerie has another factory in Le Sentier, in the Joux Valley, where Bulgari watch movements, including the Solotempo and Finissimo ultra-thin calibres, along with complications, are designed and made. The ultra-modern production unit in Neuchâtel handles final assembly, casing-up and quality control.
Bulgari has its own clear definition of excellence, which involves the perfect balance between design, added-value, quality of its products and its worldwide service. In the case of Bulgari watches, it all started with the Bulgari Bulgari watch that led to the creation of Bulgari Time in Switzerland in 1982.Find out more >
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