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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.


Bulgari was founded by Sotirio Bulgari, a descendant from a long line of Greek silversmiths, who opened his first shop on the Via Sistina in Rome in 1884. Aided by his sons Costantino and Giorgio, in 1905 he inaugurated the shop in Via Condotti, which today remains Bulgari’s flagship store.

The two brothers distanced themselves from the design philosophies of the French goldsmith school after the second world war to develop a style that took its inspirations from Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian renaissance and the 19th century Roman school of goldsmiths. The designs born of this fusion of styles became instant hits among the jet set in the 1950s and 1960s and put Bulgari into the limelight.

The company began its rise to fame with a rapid expansion in the 1970s, followed by two decades of diversification in the 1980s, with the launch of fragrances, accessories, textiles and eyewear. From the turn of the millennium, Bulgari proceeded to vertically integrate its operations, particularly in the watchmaking segment, with the acquisition of the high-end watch brands and manufacturing plant Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta in 2000, in Le Sentier. Further acquisitions of key component suppliers within the entire range of watch elements allowed Bulgari to present its first mechanical calibre designed, produced and assembled in-house in 2010.

Bulgari is today a global luxury brand that is a company of the LVMH luxury goods group. It operates in all segments of the luxury industry, from jewellery, watchmaking, accessories, leather goods and fragrances to hotels and resorts.

In 2014 Bulgari celebrates its 130th year since its first shop was opened in Rome. To mark this significant anniversary Bulgari commissioned renowned American architect Peter Marino to refurbish its flagship store in Rome at via dei Condotti 10 and financed the renovation of the Spanish Steps.

Sotirio Bulgari opened his first shop on the Via Sistina in Rome.
The shop on the Via Condotti in Rome opened. It remains Bulgari’s flagship store.
Bulgari launched the BVLGARI BVLGARI watch.
Bulgari Time was established in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
The LVMH group acquired a majority interest in Bulgari.

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. Bulgari timepieces combine the best Italian design and genius with the renowned quality of high-end Swiss expertise. The brand’s integration of the Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta skills and know-how, as well as their production facilities, has provided it with the expertise and capacity to produce the very finest in mechanical complications.

The design philosophy behind the brand’s Serpenti collection for ladies is inspired by the jewellery of ancient Rome, such as the snake-like necklaces worn by Cleopatra, while the gents’ Octo collection sports an angular case based on the octagon shape – the fusion of the circle and the square – that is a symbol of geometric perfection.

Philanthropy also plays an important part in the Bulgari company culture. The special ring produced in aid of the Save the Children charity has become one of the brand’s best-selling jewellery pieces and has thus helped countless underprivileged children around the world.



A pure classic in terms of its design, the BVLGARI BVLGARI is the watch that established Bulgari as a force to be reckoned with in watchmaking. Still going strong over almost 40 years after its launch, the collection is distinguished by the bold double logo engraved on the bezel, a nod to the emperors in ancient Rome, who liked to have coins stamped with their names.

Complications & Jewellery Watches

Whether Diva, Berries, Catene or Bulgari Bulgari collections among others for instance, Bulgari masters a wide creative range expressing the Maison’s talent to combine jewellery with the art of watchmaking. Either focusing on the chromatic precious stones combinations or associating spectacular baguette cut diamonds to complicated watch movements, Bulgari achieves a perfect fusion and balance between these two artistic domains.


Enlightening time, LVCEA is the new star of the Bulgari Watches Collection. Tribute to the sundial, LVCEA winds history with modernity, clasping function to design. A rounded case, its lithe foundation, and a spectrum of shades and styles make LVCEA as luminously feminine as it is unmistakable.


Breaking the mould of traditional men’s watch design, the Octo is neither round nor square but a combination of both shapes in a highly complicated octagonal case. This unique case shape has proved versatile in accommodating a wide variety of movements, including a slender ultra-thin calibre.


The image of the snake has long been found in Bulgari’s creations. The symbol of youth and immortality worn by Cleopatra in ancient Rome appears in many of the brand’s creations. The Serpenti watch collection is based around this theme and combines with another signature Bulgari trait, the Tubogas (“gas pipe”) bracelet up to the High Jewellery Serpenti “secret” watches.


Italy meets Switzerland

Bulgari, also known as Bvlgari, has had a good year in the horological headlines. In November’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) awards, Bulgari was only one of two brands to pick up double accolades at what’s known as the Oscars of the watch world: its Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic and Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Skeleton won best men’s watch and tourbillon and escapement prize, respectively, securing the house’s reputation for Italian élan combined with Swiss fine watchmaking.

Bvlgari watches: from chronograph to haute horology

It’s not the first time the Octo Finissimo Automatic has been recognised. A handsome, masculine watch at just 5.15mm thick, it holds the record for the slimmest ultra-thin self-winding watch, boasting a mechanical movement that powers hours, minutes and seconds functions plus waterproofness to 30m (price CHF 12,900). The watch is crafted in titanium and indeed the company is known for experimenting with avant-garde materials. The Bulgari Diagono line for example debuted in 1998 in aluminium, and more recently has ventured into the material magnesium. Particularly eye-catching is the chronograph model with a cool blue dial offset by a black rubber strap, and there’s also a version with a red dial, both which are available at an affordable price of $4,950. In addition to the chronograph designs, the Diagono collection also has a more understated, date-only model. Also in the Diagono line is the Bulgari Diagono Scuba that can reach depths of 300m and with a starting price as low as $6,500. Finally, the company’s high-tech innovation shines through in the timepieces by Daniel Roth (the gold or titanium Sonnerie creations are most standout) – a renowned Swiss watchmaker whom Bulgari acquired in 2000 and who has ateliers in Le Sentier and Geneva.

Bulgari: women’s watches

The ladies offerings boast equally good looks. Brand new this year is the cool Serpenti wraparound leather designs, particularly the black lacquered dial model that stylishly pairs with a black double-twirl Karung leather strap. The steel watch is further equipped with a quartz movement that’s water resistant to 50m. The Bvlgari Bvlgari line is also peppered with eye-catching two-tone steel and gold designs – in various dial combinations, from black to mother-of-pearl – but with each watch powered by an automatic mechanical movement. Finally, everyday jewellery meets horology in the Bulgari Lvcea steel models – in 33mm, again with an automatic movement – that have a laid-back glamour to them.

Design focus

Ever flexing its design muscles, Bulgari in recent years has partnered with the cutting-edge architect Peter Marino, who has been behind a complete, über-glam refit of Bulgari’s top boutiques. The first was the maison’s flagship in Rome, on Via Condotti, the famed shop where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had their own private entrance away from the paparazzi, and where Bulgari founder Sotirios Voulgaris first set up shop in 1905 (the original shop had been on Via Sistina, also in Rome). London and New York have followed – and with Bulgari’s interests extending into the hospitality sphere (like its latest hotel in Beijing, and restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka), we may only be seeing very early days of this fruitful design collaboration.