During LVMH Watch Week earlier this month, Bulgari made it clear that women are a priority audience for its watches, even as many of its recent award-winning Finissimo watches are targeted to male collectors. This explains in part why Bulgari debuted a new set of Serpenti watches during the debut event.
But Bulgari also took the opportunity to enhance its offerings to women with a renewed attention to technical breakthroughs that in some ways match the cutting-edge thinness of Finissimo.
Indeed, Bulgari’s highlight debut earlier this month, the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon, features the world’s smallest tourbillon, a technical coup that does double duty for the jeweler and watchmaker. In addition to emphasizing Bulgari's collections for women, the new watch symbolizes Bulgari's plans to expand the use of mechanical movements within a broader range of its feminine collections.
As the Managing Director of Bulgari's Watch Business Unit, Antoine Pin, explains below, “Since we are a fully integrated manufacturer, why shouldn’t we make high-end complications for ladies?”
We spoke with Pin about this – and other topics – during the Watch Week debut event. Please read more from our discussion below.
iW: Why is it important for Bulgari to place mechanical movements inside watches for women?
Antoine Pin: We have two important reasons. First, Serpenti was born with mechanical movements. And today there are very few mechanical movements in small sizes.
Secondly, we have built up incredible experience in micromechanics in our quest to reduce the size of movements while maintaining their performance. With this experience comes the appetite to go further. To see what we can do.
Why focus on complicated movements?
It is somewhat easier to work on a small size tourbillon in limited numbers then to work on large mechanical movements. It is more technically complicated, but because of the production process, the questions you are tackling are different.
Being a fully integrated high horology company, we have a better understanding sometimes of these smaller volume, highly complicated movements. Underlining this is the fact that we have a majority of clients who are women. And since we are a fully integrated manufacturer, why shouldn’t we make high-end complications for ladies?
Some would say that there are no clients for this, but we get requests for this. We especially saw this with the Divas’ Dream. So what we are trying here very much fits in with our philosophy.
Will you extend this work into additional, simpler movements?
We should clearly. It makes sense. Yes, a few movements of the small size do exist, from Rolex and Jaeger-LeCoultre, but these are very limited.
Will you continue with movements like the thin repeater inside the Divas' Dream Finissima Minute Repeater?
We will arrive with new innovations every year. It is also a matter of matching new markets. But again, there is no market until there are products to offer. This is something we are monitoring. We do have demand for simpler complications, mechanical pieces with one or two functions. It is less of a collector’s spirit and more of a regular user's spirit.
How did you decide to launch the new steel Octo Finissimo Automatic?
It was obvious. We have this amazing success with the titanium Octo Finissimo collection and we had pushed to the ultimate stage in the innovation.
The Finissimo has such high recognition from all of our partners, so there was no question of the idea to expand the product to meet today’s standard offerings like steel on steel and gold on straps, which are basics in ninety-five percent of watch company collections. It is also a way for us to expand our reach with watch connoisseurs.
So we have launched this well-known category of products while maintaining our standards for the Finissimo collection. This is also another way to introduce Bulgari as a watchmaker. This gives our staff more possibilities to present Bulgari as the watchmaker against other watchmakers in the same classic categories.
Can you offer us any hints as to the April Bulgari debuts?
We have additional debuts in April and in September. We are now showing you pieces that are available very soon, not many months down the line. Clients can get confused when they hear about new products but don’t see them in stores. We will be debuting more jewelry pieces, plus new pieces in the other collections as well.
What is interesting about the pieces we are showing right now is that they highlight our capacity to innovate both from a design perspective and from a mechanical perspective. We are not a jeweler making watches; we are true Swiss-born watchmakers making watches for more than 100 years, including more than forty years in Switzerland.
The leadership we have on micromechanics like the small tourbillon is a way to say look at us for what we are. We are a watchmaker with a different origin, with a different perspective on watchmaking that gives us new designs. We have a talent for creating designs that are different.