Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Let There Be Light

Bulgari celebrates 130 years of excellence with two watch collections destined to become classics in its ever-expanding repertoire of luxury timepieces.

The Lvcea family features 12 different models.
Bulgari’s newest ladies’ watch collection, Lvcea, pays homage to humankind’s earliest timekeeping instrument, the sundial. The name, borrowed from luce and lux — the Italian and Latin words for “light,” respectively — is also meant to evoke the light of Rome, which has inspired Bulgari’s artisans since the company was founded in the Eternal City in 1884.

Lvcea’s simple round case is distinguished by an oversized crown, which features a pink cabochon gemstone set with a sparkling diamond. The collection evokes Bulgari’s iconic coiled-snake motif with a Serpenti-inspired bracelet. Its graceful scales form a gleaming band in steel, gold or a beguiling combination thereof, with or without diamonds.

Twelve Beauties
With 12 distinct styles, the Lvcea collection opens with a simple steel model in a diameter of 28mm or 33mm. The latter version comes with either a silver-toned dial or its luxe counterpart, a mother-of-pearl dial set with brilliant-cut diamond hour markers.

The next iteration of the Lvcea boasts a steel and rose gold case on a bracelet with alternating steel and rose gold links. These are offset by a sleek black dial marked by a sunburst guilloché motif, rose gold-plated hands and Roman numeral hour markers.

A diamond-set cabochon gemstone is used for the crown. 
Versatile enough to transition seamlessly from day to night, Lvcea comes in a captivating two-tone combination of steel and rose gold with a mother-of-pearl dial that perfectly embodies the luminosity of its namesake inspiration.

The culmination of the Lvcea collection is a fetching 33mm model featuring a rose gold case set with 43 brilliant-cut diamonds (totaling approximately 1.2 carats), a rose gold bracelet sparkling with 117 brilliant-cut diamonds (totaling nearly 2 carats), and the pièce de résistance, a guilloché black dial gleaming with diamond-set hour markers.

Timeless grace, versatility and respect for Bulgari’s subtle yet defining codes will no doubt make Lvcea a favorite among aficionados of the brand and newcomers alike.

Figure Eight
Whereas the Lvcea collection reflects Bulgari’s legacy of femininity in a classic rounded ladies’ model, the house’s utterly masculine men’s collection, Octo, takes an opposite yet complementary tack. Distinguished by an eight-sided case that boasts 110 different facets, the Octo’s shiny and satin-finished surfaces create a nuanced effect that suggests there’s plenty more to this bold timepiece than meets the eye.

Octo Finissimo Tourbillon
Crafted by artisans in the alpine villages of the Swiss Jura, the spiritual heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry, the timepieces in the Octo collection feature clean, uncluttered dials whose only concession to ornament are the numbers six and twelve — a signature of Bulgari watches since the 1940s. The other hour markers are subtly faceted to match the model’s characteristic angles and lines.

The house’s commitment to watchmaking has grown steadily, and it now possesses all the technology and necessary craftsmanship to create its timepieces under one roof. With complete control over its watchmaking production, Bulgari is poised to create even more exceptional timepieces in-house.

The latest additions to the Octo line are prime examples of its expertise as a manufacture. Not only has the collection expanded to include a new 38mm version, but now it also encompasses a new chronograph version, as well as two stylish ultra-thin models that are slender enough to slip beneath a dress cuff.

An exploded view of the thinnest tourbillon on the market.
A Little Means A Lot
For fans of high complications, the Octo collection’s crowning achievement is an extra-slim tourbillon model that marries the best of Swiss watchmaking with the finest traditions of Italian style. Believe it or not, the movement that powers the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon is just 1.95mm thick. (The exact thickness of a nickel!)

The watchmaking team responsible for this remarkable achievement began with the tourbillon cage, which they determined would not exceed a thickness of 1.95mm. They used ball bearings — in place of jewel bearings — for the moving parts: seven on the basic movement, a cartridge bearing on the tourbillon cage and a final ball bearing to allow the escape wheel to pivot. The engineers also eliminated the regulator assembly, helping to make the movement thinner. The finished result clocks in as the thinnest tourbillon movement ever made.

Octo Finissimo
Bulgari’s watchmakers carried on their quest for thinness with the Octo Finissimo, whose in-house, hand-wound movement measures 2.23mm thick. With its 40mm platinum case and sober black lacquered dial, the Octo Finissimo is an elegant and classic dress watch that, thanks to its bold octagonal frame, looks refreshingly modern. The timepiece displays hours and minutes, and boasts a small off-center seconds hand. The power reserve, shown on the back, is an impressive 70 hours.

Setting the Tempo
New this year, the Octo Solotempo is now available in a 38mm model powered by a house-manufactured, self-winding mechanical movement that features an hour, minute and second display, as well as a date window.
Octo Solotempo in rose gold and steel
 The model retains the chief characteristic of the Octo collection — an eight-sided case framing a round bezel — but balances the manly aesthetic with a simple, classical time display. The modular architecture of the timepiece lends itself to expansion — so don’t be surprised to find this enchanting model in a complicated version in the near future. For now, however, four versions exist: steel or rose gold on a leather strap, steel with a solid steel bracelet, or a steel case on a steel and rose gold bracelet. Like its cohorts in the Octo collection, the model is the perfect combination of Swiss perfection and Italian creativity.

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