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Over the last century, Bulgari has tirelessly perfected the secret recipe that led it to global “Haute Joaillerie” fame. A unique blend of character, passion, craftsmanship, and a coffee table book’s worth of pièce unique creations crafted for the most prestigious clientèle are mixed with the manufacture’s impressively integrated watch manufacture to open a new world of Bulgari timepieces. Enter Bulgari: The Jeweler of Time.

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Designing and producing fine jewelry is how Bulgari’s story began in 1884 in Italy. A Greek immigrant and descendant of a family of silversmiths, Sotirio Bulgari opened his first shop in Rome on Via Sistina. In 1905, he and his two sons, Costantino and Giorgio, opened a second shop on Via Condotti, which is the historical flagship boutique of Bulgari today. His Greek origins and the world-renowned culture and opulence of Rome made for a special mix: incorporating Greek and Roman arts, the boutique became a place where the aristocracy, the rich, and the famous came for unique high-quality jewelry designs by Bulgari. Giorgio devoted his life to the creation of a “Bulgari style,” while Costantino compiled his studies and experiences in what later became one of the most authorized and serious reference books on Roman silver, the Argentieri, Gemmari et Orafi d’Italia. On these very foundations rests the present status of Bulgari as a tireless pioneer in jewelery design and craftsmanship.

More recently, Bulgari has performed an extraordinary expansion of its watch production facilities, acquiring and setting up its proprietary watch case, watch dial, ultra-high-end haute horlogerie, and watch movement manufactures. This all-encompassing integration of know-how in design, production, finishing, and final assembly has allowed Bulgari to expand on its unique design capabilities and turn into a six-fold record-setting watch manufacture that has truly mastered ultra-thin watches as well as high-complication ones — like these four amazing minute repeaters. There is so much to be learned about Bulgari’s watchmaking – for so much has been achieved in the scope of the last decade.

Combine these two parallel universes from within the house of Bulgari and the results are some truly extraordinary timepieces enhanced through haute joaillerie – that is ultra-high-end jewelry. Whereas watchmaking is serious business, as is mastering any of the demanding crafts in high-jewelry, the resulting pieces are nevertheless lavish with Italian gioia della vita, the joy of life originating from Bulgari’s Roman origins. Three sublime examples to this come with the trio of Barocko timepieces from Bulgari.

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Barocko means ‘meraviglia’, that is ‘marvels’, ‘illusions’. It means ‘filling empty space with new proportions’. At Bulgari, we are always inspired by Italian beauty, and by the uniqueness of Rome,” elaborates Fabrizio Buonamassa, Product Creation Executive Director of Bulgari. The first masterpiece, the High Jewellery Lady Arabesque secret watch, is designed as a set with the Lady Arabesque necklace and the Octo Roma Arabesque. The Bulgari High-Jewellery Atelier in Rome has taken the Arabesque shape – a romantic figure in baroque architecture that defined the era’s churches and palazzi – and constructed a remarkable bracelet and timepiece around it.

The High-Jewellery Lady Arabesque secret watch is crafted in pink gold with a single round rubellite measuring just under 12 carats, nearly 30 carats of pink sapphires, Paraiba tourmalines, emeralds, and some 13 carats of variously cut and pavé-set diamonds. The brilliant jewels recreate the richly textured lace that was a hallmark of Baroque, a delicate and daring execution that relies upon Bulgari’s jewelery-making expertise.

As a novel take on a “secret watch,” time on the Lady Arabesque is displayed in a most discreet, and yet, most spectacular fashion: under a round-cut rubellite that measures 11.94 carats. Supported by hand-skeletonized, hand-finished, and hand-set crown, when viewed from above this rubellite appears to be floating over the two blued hands and snow pavé-set diamonds dial. Powered by a quartz movement for maintenance-free and accurate timekeeping, the actual 18k rose gold case of the Lady Arabesque’s movement is just 14mm in diameter, hidden inside this beautifully baroque setting of fine jewelry.

Complementing the set is the Lady Arabesque necklace and, more notably from a timekeeping point of view, the pièce unique Octo Roma Arabesque with extra-thin skeleton tourbillon movement. The Octo Roma Arabesque features a truly singular front cover that folds over the 44mm case with a baroque embroidery of pink sapphires, tourmalines, emeralds and diamonds. The case and bezel are set with 212 baguette-cut diamonds to the extent of 7,77 carats, including the invisibly set and channel-set baguette-cut stones in the bezel, case profile, and lugs. Every one of these settings is a testament to the truly extraordinary talent that is nurtured within Bulgari.

Despite the outstanding front cover, the Octo Roma Arabesque remains impressively slim as a truly elegant timepiece should be. This is owing to the in-house designed Bulgari BVL 268 SK caliber with a flying tourbillon equipped with ball bearings – the thinnest tourbillon movement on the market. The result? A juxtaposition of minimalism and maximalism– and a triumph of technical expertise. A bespoke green alligator leather strap with blue edges and 18k rose gold folding buckle set with baguette-cut diamonds complete this superb blend of fine watchmaking and jewelry.


The third watch creation and one of the most complex pieces in the Barocko collection is the Serpenti High-Jewellery Baroque Pearls secret watch. Having taken over 2,300 hours to complete, this breathtaking Serpenti pièce unique draws on the theatricality of baroque, evoking the gorgeously textured pearls and lace that adorned the fashions of the time and endowed designs with their trademark intricacy.  Set with emeralds, Akoya pearls, and diamonds, the piece pays homage to the “Perla Scaramazza,” an irregular natural pearl that is all the more spectacular due to its uniqueness and imperfect shape, used in jewelry during the Baroque Period (XVI-XVII) and eventually baptized the “Baroque pearl.” A sublime source of inspiration for a centerpiece in the collection.

The immediately recognizable Serpenti snake – sculpted three-dimensionally from solid 18k white gold – meets nine rows of a grand total of 226 white natural pearls. The complexity of this multi-layered, inter-disciplinary construction cannot be overstated – and explains the over 2,300 hours of work required for its completion. The articulating body of the Serpenti is assembled from hexagonal pieces each individually designed, crafted, and fine-tuned one-by-one for the trademark authenticity that makes every Bulgari Serpenti creation appear so uniquely full of life.

Diamond pavé swirls channel the baroque inspiration, as do the 3,605 round brilliant-cut diamonds, totaling 38.2 carats. Set on the rings separating 226 white natural pearls, on the elaborate body and head of the Serpenti snake, as well as on the 30mm watch case, bezel, and dial, they render seeing the Serpenti High-Jewellery Baroque Pearls a truly unforgettable experience. The incredibly supple bracelet complements this unparalleled wearing experience, as the light scatters a million ways over the vibrant white pearls and some 3,605 diamonds. A rare cabochon-cut emerald of over 12 carats hides the snow-set diamond dial for true “secret watch” functionality… Even if time certainly stops for a moment or two every instant one glances at this unique Serpenti.

Every unique high-jewelry timepiece creation to ever leave its workshops is a symbol of Bulgari’s boundless commitment to beauty, positivity, and joy. Never failing to seek new sources of inspiration in its Roman origins or the rich history of the world, Bulgari takes pride in its ability to always find new possibilities in expanding upon its haute joaillerie and haute horlogerie know-how. You may learn more at the brand’s official website.

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