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This special edition of the aBlogtoWatch Weekly podcast is brought to you by Bulgari, recorded earlier this year at Geneva Watch Days 2022. Rick and David sit down with Fabrizio Buonamassa, Product Creation Executive Director at Bulgari, to discuss how Bulgari is pushing the limits of watch design through cross-cultural collaboration. Listen below or on the podcast player of your choice.

Fabrizio Buonamassa Bulgari

Fabrizio Buonamassa, Product Creation Executive Director at Bulgari

Founded in 1884 by Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari, the eponymous Bulgari brand has become synonymous with luxury, with a reputation for stunning jewelry creations and, more recently, exceptional watchmaking. After acquiring the personal brands of Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth in 2000, Bulgari’s ascendance in the watch industry was almost guaranteed. Buonamassa joined in 2001, eventually moving into his current role leading the brand’s watch design, but it wasn’t until 2012—a year after the brand joined the LVMH group—that the Bulgari Octo we know today was introduced. Distinguished by its angular octagonal case, it built off designs from the Gerald Genta brand catalog, and, along with the Serpenti collection, has come to define Bulgari watchmaking. In 2014, though, the brand pushed things further with the Octo Finissimo, an ultrathin hand-wound timepiece that leaned into the original Octo’s aesthetic and set the stage for an astonishing string of record-breaking watches and breathtaking collaboration pieces.

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In this special episode, Buonamassa builds on the brand’s stunning collaborations with Japanese architects Tadao Ando and Kazuyo Sejima to explore how the similarities and differences between Japanese and Italian ideals of design and beauty make for a perfect partnership, and what it’s like collaborating with outside designers halfway around the world. Buonamassa goes further, though, musing on the concept of beauty, the emotionality of design, and the challenges and rewards of collaboration. Plus, he compares Italian and Japanese cars, and Rick gets him to reveal his personal design process and his biggest regret.

To learn more about Bulgari, please visit the brand’s website.


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  • 4:51 Collaborating with Japanese architect Tadao Ando
  • 7:51 Kazuyo Sejima and the chrome Octo Finissimo
  • 12:00 Blending Italian and Japanese ideals of design and beauty
  • 16:00 A obligatory digression into Italian and Japanese car design
  • 19:37 The roots and evolution of modern Italian design
  • 22:50 Bulgari’s unique watch design process and how it enabled the creation of the Octo Finissimo
  • 29:20 Buonamassa’s personal design process and his biggest regret

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