The rich tapestry of Bvlgari’s heritage is woven with multiple threads, and one of the most prominent among them is the concept of duality, which the brand often revisits. Indeed, Bvlgari itself embodies this quality. On one hand, it is a fully-fledged jeweller with a manufacture in Valenza and a high jewellery workshop in Rome, which together create the full range of Bvlgari’s jewellery including bespoke haute joaillerie. They also represent its savoir faire in both modern and traditional techniques. Lost-wax casting, for instance, is still used to produce (and reproduce) jewellery with complex designs in the house of Bvlgari.
Bvlgari has a second identity as a watchmaker, with a line-up that runs the gamut from simple time-only timepieces to high and grand complications. The brand’s creations here are diverse, but they speak the same design language that point to its Roman heritage, with a shared vocabulary that includes architectural designs and a form-meets-function aesthetic. Bvlgari’s been breaking world records in ultra thin watchmaking too, with five such feats in horology unveiled since 2014.
Unsurprisingly, duality is often expressed in Bvlgari’s creations. Nowhere is this more apparent than jewellery watches, which encapsulate the brand’s identities of watchmaker and jeweller. The motif that is frequently explored here is the serpent. And why not? After all, the reptile has come to symbolise diametrically opposing ideas – as poison and medicine, as good and evil, as death and immortality. The serpent’s hypnotic beauty conceals danger, with its languid, sinuous form poised to strike in the blink of an eye. The appeal of having such a creature on the wrist as a totem of power is plain to see.
The serpent takes different forms in Bvlgari’s jewellery watches under the Serpenti line. The Serpenti Incantati features the uroboros – the symbol of a snake biting its own tail, commonly taken to be a symbol of renewal. The Serpenti Tubogas and Serpenti Spigas revisit an old technique of twisting yarns to create decorative motifs, but use gold and ceramics respectively to create serpents that coil tightly around the wrist instead. There are even Serpenti secret watches. These pieces are variously complex, and priced accordingly. While entry-level Serpenti timepieces are available – such as those featuring leather wraparound straps – they aren’t, however, jewellery watches per se.
The seductive one
This year, Bvlgari has interpreted the serpent in yet another iteration: the Serpenti Seduttori. The new timepieces aren’t just bona fide jewellery watches, but also form the most accessibly priced Serpenti collection yet. As such, there’re suitable both as gateway timepieces into the world of Serpenti jewellery watches, and as pieces that can be worn daily.
Bvlgari’s depiction of the serpent has varied over the years, from highly stylised interpretations that incorporate their eras’ respective zeitgeists to more naturalistic takes. The Serpenti Seduttori falls somewhere between these two extremes, beginning with a drop-shaped case that resembles a snake’s head. Hexagonal links reminiscent of snake scales form the watch’s bracelet, and come sized perfectly to complement the case while also creating a supple band that fits closely – and comfortably – on the wrist. A quartz movement powers each Serpenti Seduttori timepiece for added convenience.
The Serpenti Seduttori’s inaugural collection consists of six references, all commonly sized at 33mm and variously in white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold. Only a single reference in rose gold comes without gem-setting – the remaining five are either set with diamonds on their bezels, or come in full pavé setting with their dials, bezels, cases, and bracelets set with diamonds.