Alongside beautiful high jewellery creations, Bulgari revealed some exquisite jewellery watches earlier this year, interpreting the theme of the collection “Garden of Eden” with pieces that were true masterpieces of watchmaking.
We caught up with Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Creative Director at Bulgari Watches to find out more about these one-of-a-kind creations.
We spoke earlier this year at Watches and Wonders, and you promised me we would see something exquisite coming soon – today we are at your iconic boutique in Place Vendôme and I just saw two masterpieces – tell us more about these two special unique pieces?
Creating these pieces was a very interesting journey for us. We started to imagine this collection over a year ago. The idea was to have the richest garden possible, with many different flowers, petals, butterflies, many different finishes, and settings in one high jewellery watch. The most incredible thing about these watches is that you become part of the jewellery, it’s not just something that you put on your wrist. It’s like you wear the watch and the flowers start to wrap all around you. You become part of this amazing experience and that’s why we have these three-dimensional flowers, all the petals moving, and all the butterflies that are tremblement. All the elements of these pieces come from the Bulgari archive.
We have five different flowers incorporated into the designs and all these flowers are part of the Bulgari DNA and showcased throughout our heritage pieces. So, the idea was to reinterpret some of these elements in smaller sizes because in the past these flowers and butterflies were huge brooches with a tremblement system, so we tried to bring all this DNA of Bulgari together in one piece. It has amazing savoir-faire, and the idea is that we don’t want to see any metal, just stones that will sparkle under the lights. The initial reaction from our teams was that it would be impossible to do – there were so many questions – but step by step we found a solution for everything. It took one year to develop this piece and around eight months of that was spent assembling and setting the stones.
And what kinds of stones do we see in this piece?
There are so many different ones! What I can tell you is that with the flowers, in the beginning, the idea was to have darker and lighter stones, but when we had the first prototype, we discovered that the flower was too dark in the centre and we completely changed the setting so the lightest stones swapped with the darkest. These kinds of things you cannot see until you have the prototype, so it is a process of trial and error. And sometimes you need to see the piece on the wrist and the way it reacts to the light. So, it is a process. We developed a ring that turns around the flower just to cover all the links between the petals and the flowers. It was unbelievable. Four people were involved for one year to produce these two pieces. In the end, everyone was very happy and very proud of what we achieved. One was sold this morning and we are considering having another piece that will be different in terms of its colours and the combination of stones, maybe even different in terms of the positioning of the flowers. We have to start today, and it will be twelve or fourteen months before this is finished.
I see a lot of drive on the production of exquisite pieces – do you feel that after the past two years there is a demand to consider these kinds of pieces a mega-investment?
There is an appetite in terms of the stones. Many people are buying stones as an investment. This piece is different because it showcases the art of jewellery. We wanted to create a piece where people would be wowed by the savoir-faire and the 3D design. And of course, it was going to be something that made you feel as though you were in the Garden of Eden.
How do you balance the mechanical and functionality side of your role with the emotional, creative side?
It’s not easy at all. I love the moment when you have the idea and the spark and you start to create sketches, but there is the same importance in the moment that comes after. Because if you have just an amazing object without exceptional savoir-faire, it’s just something that sits on your desk and if you have a good idea without any savoir-faire, it’s a missed opportunity and a waste of your time because you put all your efforts into something that doesn’t make sense. So, the two must be exactly balanced and that’s maybe the secret behind the Octo Finissimo – a new way to wear a grand complication watch, a new way to wear a tuxedo watch – now it’s a sports watch. When you can turn the discussion not just to the aesthetic point of view and you start to talk about the contents of the object, you take your gold.
Do you consider this watch your biggest achievement so far?
This is a very important watch for us in terms of high jewellery watches.
If there was something, you still aspire to achieve what would it be?
I would love to have the same different point of view that we have on the Octo Finissimo men’s watches with the ladies watch category. This is what I want to focus on to find our path in ladies watches, especially in high jewellery watches.
Where do you assess Bulgari’s positioning in high jewellery watches today?
First of all, today we have the Piccolissimo watch and we have the high jewellery watches. We are full of creativity and with Piccolissimo, we can make unique things. This is a great asset for us. Again, this is an evolution of the Serpenti and everything we do is connected. I try to mix and match the different souls of our products to make brand new products.
What can we expect to see revealed soon?
We are still working on this concept that you are IN the jewellery not far from the jewellery and this is what we will continue with moving forward.