Bulgari “Beauty and Purity of Shape is Eternal”
Spirited conversation with Fabrizio Buonamassa, Product Creation Executive Director for Bulgari
Bulgari’s new jewellery watches, unveiled last week in Singapore at the LVMH Watch Week, are now back in Rome, the place of their original inspiration. WorldTempus went to find out more.
Bulgari is spotlighting its Roman origins. How would you define the famous “Italian style” that is so intrinsic to your creations?
Italians are extremely sensitive to beauty and, if you look at Rome, it’s an open-air museum. But for us, beauty is more than simply a philosophical concept. It’s something we need to touch, to feel – and that translates into the way we do things. Italian style is the scent of freshly brewed coffee; it’s the Florentine landscape glimpsed through a window; it’s a Pavarotti aria coming from the radio, while you prepare fettuccine in the kitchen. Above all, it’s the physical experience of the simple things in life, done well. “Bello e ben fato.” It’s a way of living well, and that’s what we inject into our creations.
How does that manifest itself in practice?
In jewellery, for example, Bulgari decided to take a very different path from that of French jewellery, which is the historical standard – particularly in terms of our use of coloured gemstones and cabochon cuts. From the outset, we succeeded in creating a powerful and radically different aesthetic built on complex craftsmanship concealed beneath a deceptively simple exterior. If you look at our jewellery pieces, they take geometric elements from history that require an astonishing level of skill. The same goes for our finishes. In watchmaking, the design of our ultra-thin watches is both minimalistic and highly complex, on multiple levels. For Bulgari, the most important thing is to find the right balance between our artistic approach and the technical elements that reflect our watchmaking expertise.
What are your biggest sources of inspiration?
I was born in Naples and grew up in Rome, where I have spent more than 30 years of my life. It’s a city that seems to be frozen in time, and Romans are very attached to the past. That’s why its nickname is the Eternal City! One of Bulgari’s most important influences is the Italian rationalism movement of the 1920s and 1930s. This architectural style focuses on function, with no additional decorative elements. Any decorative element is destined to age and become obsolete. Beauty and purity of shape is eternal. At Bulgari, we are drawn to geometric shapes that, through their simplicity, grant the object a certain sensuality. The Tubogas bracelet is a perfect example.
Serpenti Tubogas Infinity © Bulgari
The Tubogas was one of the items you present at LVMH Watch Week, in fact.
Yes! This story began almost 70 years ago. This year, for the first time, we have found a way of setting a Tubogas with precious stones. The construction is very different from the original Tubogas, with its two gold elements that enclose the wrist with a coiled spring. Today, it’s more similar to a traditional watch bracelet, with a separation between each link. This gives us a versatility that would have been completely impossible back then. We can change the stones, the colours, the clasps of the Serpenti Tubogas Infinity, which opens up an infinite range of possibilities.
What else is new this year?
The inspiration for the Divas' Dream clearly comes from jewellery. The petals of precious stones that cluster around the watch dial embody the brand’s uniqueness. Our strength, and our distinctiveness, come from our ability to combine Swiss expertise with Italian jewellery savoir-faire. And the coloured stones are part of our DNA. Bulgari used them from the very beginning, alongside the cabochon stones that can be found on the new Allegra watches. Tourmalines, topazes, tanzanites, amethysts – the versatility of this watch is also very important, because it provides an opportunity to play with coloured gems and semi-precious stones. It has been a great success so far.
Divas' Dream © Bulgari
Are your jewellery watch clients interested in the mechanical aspect?
Today, yes. Many of our clients are looking for a mechanical movement in their jewellery watch. That’s why we developed the Piccolissimo calibre. The mechanics are all the more important on jewellery watches that aren’t worn everyday. You simply have to wind the movement and it works. That’s not always the case with a quartz movement. If you don’t wear your watch for two years, you have to change the battery.
Allegra © Bulgari
Will be be seeing more of the Piccolissimo in your collections?
It’s widely used in our high-end collections. But the Piccolissimo, which is the world’s smallest tourbillon, has a round shape that’s not suitable for all our collections. If you put a round movement in the Serpenti Seduttori, for example, you’d have to deform the case, which is very narrow at the 12 o’clock position. This calibre is nevertheless an incredible driver for development, and we’re working hard to be able to use it more widely in our jewellery watches and haute joaillerie ranges. It’s produced in-house, and we should find more opportunities to produce it.
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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