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Bulgari embraces grandes complications

With the launch of the Daniel Roth Carillon Tourbillon, the Italian firm, which last year joined the ranks at LVMH, steps firmly into the world of grandes complications. World-class partnerships also feature high on the agenda: after the All Blacks, make way for Maserati.
By : Christophe Roulet/ HH Magazine
Published in : WtheJournal.com
03.13.2012

The integration of Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta under Bulgari's branding and governance set tongues wagging among purists, and prompted the departure of top brass at the two firms. Two years down the line, those who masterminded the operation consider it to have been a profitable move. "As niche brands, Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta lacked visibility," explained Guido Terreni, who is the managing director of Bulgari's watch division. "The exceptional savoir-faire which these two firms had developed was in need of a global showcase, and Bulgari could give them exactly that. Gérald Genta was also a victim of its own qualities, so to speak, and was suffering from design overkill. We began by stripping back the aesthetic to give greater clarity to the retrograde functions for which the brand is known. The subsequent balance is what gives these distinctive timepieces their strength."

Aesthetic that enhances function

After ticking the boxes at Gérald Genta, Bulgari now has Daniel Roth in its line of sight. "We want to steer this range towards more contemporary models, focusing on the aesthetic of the movement, case design, and the layout of the dial," Terreni went on. "The Daniel Roth Carillon Tourbillon that we are presenting this year illustrates this direction, and is the first grande complication watch to come out of our Manufacture in Le Sentier."

In the world of modern horology, striking watches remain one of the most challenging complications, if only for the inherent difficulty of producing audible and melodious chimes from inside a watch case, as Bulgari explains: "Calibre DR3300 was built to a certain number of precise specifications, first and foremost relating to sound. Strength and clarity of sound is a potential weak spot for any striking watch. Given the degree of miniaturisation required by this type of watch, a good case size with three hammers provides more torque which increases acoustic resonance."

This is precisely the solution Bulgari has chosen, alongside a contemporary movement structure and a sapphire crystal dial with inserts. The minute-repeater slide has been incorporated into a gadroon around the rose gold case. It truly is an accomplishment, particularly as few striking watches produce such an audible sound. "When creating this watch, every aspect of the aesthetic was chosen to enhance function," comments Guido Terreni.

After the All Blacks, Maserati

Regulars to Baselworld haven't forgotten the quasi-hysteria on the Bulgari stand when the All Blacks stripped to the waist and threw themselves body and soul into their traditional Haka. With its long-term commitment to the New Zealand rugby squad firmly established, Bulgari has entered into another partnership, with Maserati. An all-Italian venture between two companies that share the same values, the same approach towards a masculine clientele, and the same high-quality manufacturing capacities. Says Guido Terreni, "we're aware that a partnership between a watchmaker and an automaker doesn't break new ground. This is why we have avoided a purely commercial approach by issuing an extremely limited edition and concentrating on a new interpretation of luxury."

The model in question is the Octo Maserati, powered by the Calibre GG7800. In addition to jumping hours in an aperture at 12 o'clock, the movement provides retrograde display of the minutes, dates and chronograph hours and minutes, and was devised and developed by Bulgari at its site in Le Sentier. The chronograph direct-drive seconds hand is unconventionally positioned at 6 o'clock, so that the hour display is always fully visible. From the tachymeter scale on the bezel to the champlevé lacquered dial suggesting a Maserati radiator grille and the sophisticated leather strap that takes its cue from a luxury car interior, every detail contributes to recreating the unique atmosphere of prestigious Italian automobiles.

Prestige also defines Bulgari's world of jewellery. The Serpenti watches return with models inspired by those belonging to Elizabeth Taylor, which the company bought when the actress's collection was sold at auction last year. The Diagono collection completes the line-up, this year in steel and ceramic or in rose gold and ceramic, carrying on the tradition of a line launched twenty years ago.

Published in : Brands, WtheJournal.com, Bulgari
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