Jean-Christophe Babin welcomed the watch world, personally and virtually, to the only actual watch fair of the year run in Switzerland, Geneva Watch Days. The Chief Executive Officer of Bvlgari brought forth timepieces that combine the watchmaking expertise of the house with signature bold design and indeed technical daring.
The big launch in terms of complications for the year brings Bvlgari another world record. The thinnest ever Tourbillon Chronograph, Mr. Babin happily states, is now their Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic. The shape that has brought many enthusiasts into the Bvlgari fold makes six world records now in six years with this new watch. Each one of the complications in the name itself is an accomplishment all its own. Adding them all together is a bold move. Indeed, the Octo Finissimo movement was already rather crowded and thin, adding the whirlwind that is the tourbillon is quite a feat.
A watch slightly more usable everyday is the new Octo Finissimo 100S. 100 stands for a hundred meter depth rating, which means plenty for daily pursuits and, with a full metal bracelet, is an excellent buy rather unusual travel watch. The case is a little thicker than the usual, though still thin, to allow the depth rating so needed in modern sports watches. The blue dial with the offset seconds subdial is particularly nice under a bespoke shirt sleeve.
A nod to the past comes in Aluminum. Simply named the Bvlgari Aluminum, this watch will remind people of the success the brand has had with that unusual choice of metal in the past. Aimed at a younger market, this new watch may look like the original and very popular icon but its totally reconstructed. It uses automatic movements for either a three-had date model or a chronograph.
The last men’s watch launch goes even further back than ever. Gérald Genta is a legendary name in watchmaking, and Bvlgari took on the company to take that name into the future. The Gérald Genta 2020 Arena Bi-retro Sport may not be what everyone thinks a Genta watch looks like given the popularity of his octagonal designs, but the boldness of design and complication will clearly bring out memories for true afficionados and enthusiasts that know their history. The new watch, Mr. Babin says, is a way to pay homage to the genius of the man. The brand celebrated in 2019 with a 50th anniversary watch in platinum, this model is in lighter and more usable titanium. It features jumping hours in a window at 12 o’clock and minutes tracking on an arc in the upper field of the dial and snapping back every hour. Date is told in the lower half, also a retrograde pointer.
For Ladies’ watches, the attitude of the brand is both different and similar. The Serpenti Seduttori is hugely engaging because of the combination of artistry, beauty, and technical demand needed for the bracelet. Bvlgari launched the smallest women’s tourbillon in that model line, so clearly they treat women with the same level of enthusiasm but with much more style. At the same time though, they take the strong identity of the model and bring it out in a variety of metals and combinations and designs.