Talking Watches With Bulgari’s Antoine Pin and Fabrizio Buonamassa
We caught up with Antoine Pin (Managing Director, Bulgari Watch Division) and Fabrizio Buonamassa (Product Creation Executive Director at Bulgari Horlogerie SA) during LVMH Watch Week to discuss Bulgari’s new range of products, the brand’s innovation, and the way forward
Can you tell us a little about the idea behind the 2022 Time is a Jewel theme?
Antoine Pin: We could almost call this our mantra, the ‘Time is a Jewel’ theme. It isn’t easy to make it simpler than associating time and jewellery. As we call ourselves the Jeweller of Time, we found it interesting to reverse the point, and realised that time is probably the most precious thing in life. When you think of the amount of money people are ready to pay to get quick access to something or avoid queues, you realise that time is so precious. We also like to say that time is an artisan; it builds reputation, heritage, and history, which is very important to us as a luxury brand. The initial idea is related to the fact that all the products showcased this year are set as pieces of jewellery. So it made sense to call it Time is a Jewel.
Fabrizio Buonamassa: When we say ‘Time is a Jewel,’ we are talking about the movements. We put all our time, energy, and attention into executing these amazing movements like the Finissimo and the Piccolissimo. In terms of jewellery, it is the gemstones, art stones, and even certain craftsmanships. The jewel of our business is the movements, and that’s why we say ‘Time is a Jewel’.
What led to the development of the BVL100 movement?
FB: The idea was to reintroduce a mechanical movement to our iconic Serpenti watch. It has been my obsession for the last five to six years. After many world records and years dedicated to the Finissimo, we wanted to focus the same attention on women’s watches. As the Serpenti is one of our most iconic watches, we wanted to make it a mechanical watch again. We already discovered this amazing savoir-faire in our facilities where this mould was for thin movements. So, I felt this was the right moment to introduce this mechanical movement in the Serpenti collection. At the 2022 LVMH Watch Week, we saw a range of timepieces combining high complication and high jewellery, mainly in the higher-price segment.
Is this the way forward for Bulgari now?
AP: Not really. We are still at the beginning of the year, so there is still time, and we have more things coming in the future. This time, we wanted to concentrate on the jewellery pieces to keep in tune with the theme of Time is a Jewel. We wanted to be consistent in what we would be communicating. I am always conscious as a brand that we have a responsibility to expose products at a reasonable price point. I am also very aware that these prices are reasonable, and not cheap. Obviously, the Grand Complications and high jewellery watches are grabbing the spotlight, but the reality of our product offering is much more balanced.
Can you tell us about the shift from ultra-thin movements like the Finissimo to ultra-small movements like the Picallissimo?
FB: In the end, both the movements are almost the same. The Piccolissimo is also an ultra-thin movement with a thickness of about 2.5 mm. Without the Finissimo journey, we would not have developed the Piccolissimo movement. We started this journey more than 10 years ago with the Finissimo, and now we have to find our path and territory in the watchmaking industry again by doing different things. The main objective for Bulgari is to keep reinventing and enlarge our know-how of watchmaking. We aim to be consistent with our history and DNA, and give the same attention to the ladies watches.
From the wide range of watches showcased at the LVMH Watch Week, which has been the one that symbolised the innovative spirit of Bulgari?
AP: I would have to say the Piccolissimo. It is not the most innovative Calibre compared to the Finissimo or the Perpetual Calendar watch we did last year, or the Carillon Tourbillon that I am holding right now. But for us to master the dimension of the BVL100 is a massive achievement. The pride in this movement is related to the fact that while this was a big achievement, we did face some complexity in developing it. However, fundamentally, things went according to plan, and there were no major issues that we could not overcome. My biggest revelation during the development of the BVL100 was the realisation of the level of expertise we had managed to reach. We continue to have ideas, and produce and realise them. That, to me, is a massive element of pride, and proves our development as an advanced and modern watchmaker.
Are there plans for another Finissimo watch in the coming months?
FB: We are still working on the Finissimo concept, and this is just the beginning of the year. The LVMH Watch Week is the first event of the year, and we will be seeing some exciting executions in the upcoming months.