This story was first published in Prestige Malaysia August 2019 issue
When you look back at the culture of civilisations past, mankind has always regarded snakes with an air of mystique. In Greek mythology, snakes appear on the Caduceus, the staff carried by the god Hermes, and is often used as the symbol of medicine. In Norse mythology, the serpent is Jörmungandr, a sea creature that grew so large it was able to surround the earth and grasp its own tail. And in ancient Egypt, an upright Egyptian cobra was a symbol of sovereignty, royalty and divine authority. Even today, the snake is often used as a symbol of seduction and sensuality. There’s something appealing about a creature so intricately beautiful and yet so deadly at the same time. This is precisely why Bvlgari chose the snake when they created their now iconic Serpenti collection.
The very first serpent-inspired bracelets appeared sometime around 1949 and back then, a vast majority of these pieces were secret watches. These secret watches of the past were basically timepieces that were disguised as pendants, brooches and bracelets and used covers or lids to hide the clock. These days, the evolution of the Bvlgari Serpenti has seen even complications like the tourbillon incorporated into the collection, as demonstrated by the Serpenti Incantati.
As much as women all over the world were falling in love with the Serpenti, it was the Tubogas that propelled the collection to its now legendary status. The Tubogas took its inspiration from something inanely ordinary – a gas pipe – and transformed it into an ornate luxury bracelet unlike any other. Bvlgari created a metal coil bracelet that would wrap around the wrist just like a snake. Of course, covering the metal coil core would be a skin of precious metals, gemstones and in modern times even ceramic. Another aspect that made the Tubogas so popular was its appearance on the wrist of Elizabeth Taylor as she flaunted it while shooting the 1963 film Cleopatra.
The real charm of the Seduttori, however, comes in its bracelet. From afar, it looks like one made from snakeskin. This is a half-truth as upon closer inspection, you’ll find that the bracelet is actually one made from precious metals – either 18k rose gold, yellow gold or white gold – delicately assembled from minuscule hexagonal pieces. The result is unmatched flexibility that allows this bracelet to flow over the wearer’s wrist, something that can’t be said about a strap of snakeskin leather. When the watch is worn, it calls to mind the aforementioned Jörmungandr, or even the Ouroboros, a snake that is eating its own tail, symbolising a continuity in all things.
The Bvlgari Serpenti Seduttori is available in three types of materials including 18k rose gold, 18k yellow gold and 18k white gold with an accompanying bracelet. There’s even a full-paved option for the white and rose gold variants case set with 50 round brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel, 166 round brilliant-cut diamonds on the case. The watch is powered by a Bvlgari- personalised, high-precision quartz movement and is water resistant to 30m.