On Bulgari’s Italian DNA, the importance of proportions in watch design and the new Octo Finissimo.
ESQ: Bulgari is known for the splendour of its designs. How does it face the challenges with respect to tradition in the watch department?
BUONAMASSA FABRIZIO: I started 13 years ago in Bulgari and my passion is in design. I come from the automotive industry and when I met Paolo Bulgari in 2001, I sent him watch designs with stylish cars. The most important thing for me is that each design has the DNA of Bulgari. It is difficult because it is not normal for a brand in history to produce amazing products that represent a typical italian design. At that time watches were very thin and oddly shaped, and Bulgari had a round cylindrical shape, with a double logo on the front.
ESQ: Where do you get your inspirations from?
FB: Rome, it’s all about classical Italian architecture and pure geometric forms. This can be seen in all our designs. We merged these items with the impressive history of Bulgari, which you can see in the Berries or Diva collection. These are very important to us because they’re our first watches for women with a round face without the double logo, very simple and clear.
ESQ: Tell us about Octo.
FB: Octo is another very complex exercise wherein you may encounter all elements of our history, shapes, solids and pure form. It is the perfect mix of circle and square. In 2001 the brand bought Gérald Genta and our inspiration was its Octo, but this new model was designed by 100 people at Bulgari. It is a watch with a strong design, nothing exaggerated, with exceptional detail on the case. This year we have 38mm versions and a white dial, but we always try to find the right balance.
ESQ: This year has a smaller case. Why?
FB: It’s what the market needs. We offer different options and we have the awesome finissimo tourbillon with hand-wound movement. It is a fantastic piece that took us many years to develop. It has the same complication that you can find in the big octo sonnerie. The tourbillon movement is only 1.90mm and the fact that we developed this mechanism at home is a source of great pride.
ESQ: Does the development of watches fall mainly to the design department or the technical side?
FB: What we want now is complications on the clock. So sometimes we start from the design, but for large models with complications like Octo Finissimo, we begin with the movement. We create and imagine the perfect way to dress.
ESQ: Is it more difficult to work with an iconic product or a new line?
FB: Now we have the perfect balance between very daring watches and more formal and elegant timepieces.
ESQ: How important are the proportions?
FB: They are fundamental, because Bulgari has no normal proportions. All parts come from architectural elements that define our designs. If you do not have the proper proportions it is simply not a Bulgari product. This is part of our history, of our DNA.