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Bulgari - Light and Shadow

Bulgari Light and Shadow

The New Launches of Bulgari at Geneva Watch Days Bring the Brand’s Expertise in Focus

This year’s Geneva Watch Days is the third edition of a decentralised event established in 2020 and featuring mostly independent brands unaffiliated with major luxury groups. With the last two editions held during the high-alert period of the global pandemic, 2022 looks to be the first time GWD will be held in an approximately normalised environment. Accordingly, the new watches being launched exhibit optimism and exuberance, perfectly in line with the current performance of the global luxury market.

Bulgari is one of the founding brands of GWD, and has consistently brought its “A” game to the event, dropping the Bulgari Aluminium in 2020 and the fan-favourite Gerald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse last year. With 2022 being the 10th anniversary of the Octo collection, it’s no surprise that the eight-sided watch is receiving most of the spotlight throughout the year. 

The Octo has had a meteoric career in the last decade, expanding the appreciation for Bulgari fine watchmaking way beyond the exclusive group of hard-core watch aficionados who had followed the brand since the early millennium. Particularly with the advent of the Octo Finissimo in 2014, Bulgari’s haute horlogerie credentials are impeccable. 

With critical and commercial success firmly under its belt, Bulgari is now free to take the Octo in new creative directions, exploring design avenues that might have been less of a priority while the collection’s technical legitimacy was still being set in place. Through selected collaborators over the last couple of years such as tattoo artist Mo Coppoletta and architect Tadao Ando, the Octo is entering a new stage of experimentation. Even with fully in-house creations such as the anniversary Octo editions with the “sketch” dials based on the original hand-drawn concepts of Bulgari’s Product Creation Executive Director Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, it’s clear that the Octo is venturing out into a wider area of artistic expression.

One of the highlights of Bulgari at GWD 2022 is the Octo Finissimo Sejima, a minimalist work in polished stainless steel that plays with light, shadow and reflection. While the majority of timepieces in the Octo collection feature brushed or matte finishes (with polished surfaces limited to contrasting accent points), the Octo Finissimo Sejima embraces the allure of a fully polished exterior. 

Light and Shadow

Octo Finissimo Sejima © Bulgari

You might remember the Octo Finissimo in black ceramic from 2020, which was almost fully polished, with only a few sandblasted sections (mainly the intermediate links of the bracelet). The Octo Finissimo Sejima extends this aesthetic to the maximum with the addition of a mirrored dial. Mitigating the effect of all this shine is the sapphire crystal — normally the only exterior element of a watch that absolutely requires a polished, fully transparent, finish. The inner surface of the dial crystal is printed with a fine, repeating pattern of metallised dots which are larger at the periphery and gradually become smaller towards the centre, similar to a halftone gradient. 

These dots may seem to obscure the reading of the time, but they oblige us to pay full attention to the watch when trying to discern the hours and minutes, rather than just glancing quickly at it (as we all tend to do in the course of our busy lives). The Octo Finissimo Sejima is not some indulgent art project; it is a mindfulness exercise that you wear on the wrist. 

If the Octo Finissimo Sejima makes us more aware of time and its passage, another Bulgari highlight from GWD allows us to enjoy the luxury of time. The Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days houses the new BVL 199 SK calibre from Bulgari, featuring a highly openworked dial and movement. The style of skeletonisation used here is strongly reminiscent of architectural principles, and its beauty comes from its functionality and robustness, like the soaring structural beams and frames that hold up glass skyscrapers. Despite the amount of transparency in the movement, the watch avoids looking fragile or delicate, and this is partly because of the aesthetic of the bridges, and also the massive barrel with its coiled mainspring that gives the watch its eponymous 8 days of power reserve. 

Light and Shadow

Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 © Bulgari

The Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days evokes awe thanks to its mechanical prowess, but the final highlight of the Bulgari launches at GWD 2022 exerts a more seductive allure. The Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon was first launched at LVMH Watch Week 2020 in Dubai, and immediately captivated audiences all over the world with its slenderness and sparkling adamantine brilliance. This year, the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon goes monochrome, donning a tuxedo of white diamonds and black spinels. Don’t make the mistake of assuming the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon is a delicate creature — this record-setting self-winding watch is resplendent in its dazzling black-and-white armour. It has broken records and it can (and will) break the ego of anyone who comes up to you and makes an ill-advised comment about your “girly watch”.

Light and Shadow

Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon Black Spinel © Bulgari

Elsewhere in the new fleet of watches from Bulgari at GWD 2022, we see celebrations of gold (Octo Finissimo Automatic in yellow gold), a throwback to 1980s colour codes (Serpenti Spiga Ceramic) and a shadowy dark elegance (Bvlgari Bvlgari in black DLC steel). If you were looking for a horological adventure at Geneva Watch Days, you’ve come to the right place.


Light and Shadow

Octo Finissimo Yellow Gold Automatic © Bulgari



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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.

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