BVLGARI’S LAT­EST PIECE

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There are fe the al­mos the Swiss time. The mas­ters – own­ers of go tick-tock with re­marka En­ter Bul­gari, the Italia moved into men’s wristwe Specif­i­cally, sit and lis­ten come – wrapped in an eve ac­cent – from the mouth Buona­massa Stigliani, sen Bul­gari Watches De­sign C moved the com­pany’s wat di­vi­sion from Rome to N Switzer­land, where in-hou takes place, but he’s quick famed la dolce vita – to out unique Ital­ian flair is atta do, even if that ap­proach r straighter edges of Swiss c “Quite sim­ply, form fol for us – you can find the r in Ital­ian cul­ture,” chime Stigliani. “There’s a form ap­proach to watch­mak­ing y own tra­di­tions and her­itage. [And] it’s our job to chal­lenge this solid her­itage and cre­ate some­thing unique. That is the Ital­ian way.” As Buona­massa Stigliani views it, such na­tion­al­is­tic points of dif­fer­ence are cen­tral to achiev­ing any sem­blance of suc­cess. These are the keys to the pro­cesses that see the Ital­ian la­bel own a firm rep­u­ta­tion for strik­ing pieces, most re­cently re­alised with this year’s Baselworld re­lease, the ‘Octo Finis­simo Minute Re­peater’. At only 6.85mm thick, the ‘Octo Finis­simo’ uses the ‘Cal­iber BVL 362’, with a flat bal­ance spring en­abling a move­ment of just 3.2mm thick­ness. While com­pe­ti­tion for the small­est boy toy is fairly stan­dard in Swiss watch­mak­ing, it’s the flaw­less ex­e­cu­tion

“BVLGARI’S DNA IS ABOUT BEING A UNIQUE ITAL­IAN LUX­URY LA­BEL AND THE FIRST REAL LUX­URY BRAND TO COME FROM ROME. YOU CAN FIND THE ROOTS OF OUR DE­SIGNS IN ITAL­IAN CUL­TURE.”

that makes Bul­gari stand out against the big boys, those with decades more ex­pe­ri­ence. “We break the rules,” says Buona­massa Stigliani, proudly. “In the past, we’ve bro­ken the rules with our use of ma­te­ri­als – [we were] the first to use alu­minium and the first to use plas­tic with gold. This time it’s dif­fer­ent, be­cause we’ve used ti­ta­nium, which is stan­dard for watches that want to break the rules in terms of weight. Here, we de­cided to break the rules in terms of de­sign, with the case. It’s about being dis­rup­tive.” ‘Ar­chi­tec­tural’ and ‘sleek’ are ad­jec­tives not of­ten used in re­la­tion to Bul­gari – which reg­u­larly ticks the boxes of ex­trav­a­gance and op­u­lence. But with its grey sand­blasted ti­ta­nium fin­ish, the re­sult here is a mas­ter­piece of cool, with­out a trace of crass.

“You could wear this watch ev­ery day. This is not made for a mu­seum – I am not in­ter­ested in mak­ing things for mu­se­ums.” Rule-break­ing, a fix­a­tion for Buona­massa Stigliani, comes to the fore with the ge­nius de­ci­sion of cut­ting the nu­mer­als into the watch’s dial, al­low­ing the minute re­peater to nois­ily ad­ver­tise its work­man­ship. “A chime needs air, a space to work, which is a chal­lenge when you are mak­ing such a thin watch,” he says. Add 362 com­po­nents jammed into the ‘Cal­iber BVL 362’ move­ment, which in­cludes ham­mers to strike out the time, and that chal­lenge be­comes next level. “Here the ti­ta­nium be­came an ad­van­tage be­cause it makes the right sound and the holes in the dial al­low the sound to es­cape – it’s crisp and it’s loud.”

Buona­massa Stigliani’s sen­si­tiv­ity to sound was de­vel­oped with the mag­nif­i­cent ‘L’am­mi­raglio del Tempo’, launched to great fan­fare in 2014 – a won­drous minute re­peater where the ac­ti­vat­ing slide for the sig­na­ture Big Ben bells is art­fully con­cealed in the left lug of the watch. This show­piece en­cap­su­lates the de­sign di­rec­tor’s ad­ven­tur­ous ap­proach, com­bin­ing in­no­va­tive com­pli­ca­tions that de­light time lords and watch nerds alike (this one has a whop­ping 516 com­po­nents, in­clud­ing four ham­mers and gongs) all pack­aged in a gold Daniel Roth case that would im­press some­one who doesn’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween a tour­bil­lon and a tour­ma­line. Hav­ing come from an au­to­mo­tive de­sign back­ground, work­ing at Fiat’s Style Cen­tre for three years be­fore join­ing Bul­gari in 2001, Buona­massa Stigliani’s rebellious ap­proach is eas­ier to un­der­stand. It’s an un­con­ven­tional at­ti­tude that’s brought the com­pany con­sid­er­able suc­cess, with the 2012 ‘Octo’ range, fol­lowed by the ul­tra-thin tour­bil­lon ver­sion and the el­e­gant ‘Lucea’ for women. The rebel spirit only gives way to con­ven­tion when asked about his great­est achieve­ment, Buona­massa Stigliani’s tem­per­a­ment im­me­di­ately di­al­ing down from fiery cre­ative to con­cerned par­ent. “For ev­ery de­signer, each prod­uct is their baby and at a dif­fer­ent mo­ment one will be the favourite but you al­ways have to an­swer that it’s the next one. I’m think­ing of the future, of Basel, I mean 2017 is al­ready done for us. There is no doubt that the ‘Octo Finis­simo’ is a mile­stone for us but the best is yet to come.” Work­ing for Bul­gari, the past will al­ways play a part in Buona­massa Stigliani’s de­sign process – though look­ing ahead, keep­ing an eye on the future, is also im­por­tant. “El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor, Anna Mag­nani and Sophia Loren are all part of our iconic her­itage be­cause they loved to wear Bul­gari watches,” he says. “They were ladies of strong char­ac­ter, which de­fines our cus­tomers, in­clud­ing the men. It takes a strong woman to wear the ‘Ser­penti’ watch and a strong man to wear the ‘Octo’. “I’m [also] look­ing at the el­e­gance of to­day and the cool peo­ple of to­day. These cus­tomers, Loren and Tay­lor, were part of la dolce vita. I want peo­ple who will wear their watches in a dis­rup­tive way, since that’s how they’re made.”

RIGHT: STAIN­LESS STEEL ‘OCTO FINIS­SIMO MINUTE RE­PEATER’ WATCH $9450, BY BVLGARI; BVLGARI.COM ABOVE: 18KT GOLD ‘L’AM­MI­RAGLIO DEL TEMPO’ WATCH, POA, BY BVLGARI; COT­TON TUXEDO SHIRT, $1250, BY DOLCE & GAB­BANA; COT­TON ‘LUCA’ BOW TIE, $165, BY LE NOEUD PAPIL­LON.

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