While timepieces have been a feature in Bulgari’s repertoire since its early days, the brand’s finest hours in watchmaking have arguably come in the last 15 years, when its expertise in metallurgy has been coupled with a thirst for making ever more slim and ground-breaking creations.
Thanks to the company’s much-feted Finissimo collection, Bulgari has not only emerged as the unquestionable leader in ultra-thin complicated watches but also reaffirmed its ability to make incredible timepieces – last month’s release of the chiming Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon is such an example.
“We really wanted to bring a modernity to the chiming watch, and I think this is something that the industry needs as well – a different perspective; a different question; a different approach,” says Antoine Pin, Managing Director of Timepieces, Bulgari. The ‘different approach’ is something that has actively been instilled into the heart of the company’s watchmaking through a deeper collaboration between the design teams and the watchmakers – a rarity in the industry.
“This watch would not exist in this form had our design studio not been involved from a very early phase,” Pin says. “Having a team of experienced designers in-house allows us to challenge our watchmakers more than you would find in other places. Since the beginning of the Octo Finissimo collection the designers have learnt to challenge and question the watchmakers, which allows us to push the boundaries of the industry further than what it is used to.”
With this avant-garde approach to design, it challenges the traditional layout of a minute repeater watch with three gongs and hammers (which play the Chimes of Westminster), as well as the centrifugal regulator, visible on the dial side. Using the Octo Grande Sonnerie as a base, the gongs are fixed to the case and not to the movement, in order to achieve a superior acoustic performance. It is noticeable that Bulgari’s efforts have been on a stylistic course that is more assertive than usual in this type of watch, and on the quality of sound transmission. The case has been hollowed to minimise the amount of titanium, so as to not inhibit volume. Ring in the changes.
Words: Marne Schwartz