Bulgari secret watches

A treasure trove of high jewellery

Time stopped during the Geneva Watch Days, as Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, and Frank Sans C met to shed a light on the high jewellery watchmaking novelties of the Maison. Serpenti Misteriosi and Monete Catene, let us lift the veil from the secret watches and become mesmerized by their roman and imperial creativity.

By Chloé Redler

Serpenti Misteriosi Montre à secret de Haute Joaillerie

A mastery of jewellery making …

Serpenti Misteriosi, the high jewellery secret watches by Bulgari.

Reptile icon of the Bulgari maison since 1940, the Serpenti was worn by the legendary Liz Taylor for her regal Cleopatra role. Today, the watch reveals its mysteries as the “Roman Jeweler of Time” expresses himself freely through two highly desirable editions.

A light pressure on the snake’s tongue reveals a dial fully paved with diamonds.

Feeling like a talisman around your wrist, the Serpenti Misteriosi Montre à secret de Haute Joaillerie turns into a version completely paved with 116 round brilliant-cut white diamonds. The head of the snake is truly amazing. It indeed mesmerizes the gaze of its owner with its emerald pear-shaped eyes.

The Serpenti Misteriosi unfolds its two turns to display some brand new pink gold and black lacquer attire.

A light pressure on the snake’s tongue will lift the veil of mystery. The mouth of the animal opens to reveal a diamond-paved dial. Thanks to an ingenious system, the dial can be unclipped at will to change its orientation so that the bracelet can be worn on either arm. Just as breathtaking as this first one, the pink gold edition displays black-lacquered hexagonal scales combined with navette-cut diamond. For more than one reason, the work on the scales genuinely deserves attention.

Assembling and polishing the two turns of the Serpenti Misteriosi required more than 80 hours of work.

Firstly, each scale is cast using the ancestral lost-wax technique, a skill dating back more than 6,000 years. Then, the scales lacquering is inspired by the enamelling technique used by the Egyptians as far back as 2000 BCE. Eventually, Bulgari brought this technique back into fashion in the 1960s. Note that no fewer than 80 hours of work are needed to polish and assemble the two turns of the bracelet. The snake needs to be tamed to become flexible and delicate enough for the wrist.

The Serpenti Misteriosi in a version fully set with diamonds.

… and of watchmaking

We already know that Bulgari is a watchmaking expert, but it especially shines for the record-breaking fineness of its calibres – they were awarded eight times in total and stayed unequalled for a long time (read the article “Three world records”).

The calibre of the Serpenti Misteriosi is interchangeable. A quartz movement can be purchased separately.

For once, this watch is powered by the Piccolissimo BVL 100, a miniature manufacture calibre with a manual winding and a very appropriate name, as it translates to “very small”. Indeed, it is only 2,5 mm thick and endows the two Serpenti Misteriosi with a nearly 30-hour power reserve. Last but not least, the crown is located beneath the snake’s head, while the movement is interchangeable, which means that a quartz can be added to it.

The manual winding manufacture mecanical micro-movement Piccolissimo is only 12 mm wide for 2,5 mm thick.

Click here to read the Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi Montres À Secret De Haute Joaillerie, black lacquer and diamonds full technical sheet€354 000.

Click here to read the Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi Montres À Secret De Haute Joaillerie, diamonds full technical sheet€311 000.

Monete Catene and Monete Catene Dual Time

Coined by Bulgari

These too are endowed with the manual winding Piccolissimo BVL 100 calibre. The new Monete Catene reinterpret a jewellery watch from the 1930s brought back into fashion in the 1960s by Nicola Bulgari: the Monete Catene and the Monete Catene Dual Time.

Inspired by the “Gemme Nummarie” drawn by Nicola Bulgari in the 1960s, the new Monete Catene watches finally reveal all their secrets.

Illustrating the historical heritage of ancient Rome and Greece, these secret timepieces distinguish themselves with the ancient coins adorning them. These are true treasures for more than one reason. The Monete Catene is decorated with a denarius, a silver coin that bears the effigy of Caracalla and that was minted during the reign of the emperor – between 198 and 217 AD.

As for the Dual Time, it displays two different time zones, and the two dials are protected by two coins picturing Septimus Severus (193 to 211 AD), and his empress Julia Domna.

Bulgari found some extremely rare coins and selected them for their historical relevance.

Precious design

Calling the roof of the Basilica of Maxentius in Rome to mind, the case is octagonal, a characteristic Bulgari shape. The composition of the Monete Catene has sophisticated volumes made of pink gold and set with diamonds, and it displays a dial entirely set with diamonds.

Pink gold, yellow gold, white gold, and diamonds form an incredible ensemble on the curb chain bracelet Dual Time, which displays two different time zones once the dial opens onto a particularly precious snow setting.

The pink gold and diamond Bulgari Monete Catene.

Click here to read the Bulgari Monete Catene full technical sheet – €180 000.

Click here to read the Bulgari Monete Catene Dual Time € 720 000.

SHOWSTOPPER Monete Heritage Necklace

Monete Heritage Necklace made of two-tone gold set with brillant-cut diamonds and Roman imperial coins in silver, gold and bronze – Bulgari 1975.

Frank Sans C was lucky enough to hold it in his hands, here is the Monete Heritage necklace. It is constructed with a chain of circular and rectangular links made of gold and diamonds. It is also adorned with three oval panels decorated with brilliant-cut diamonds, a silver denarius, a gold aureus and a bronze quadrans representing Trajan (98-117 AD). On the back of each coin, you can find engraved: “TRAIANO 98-117 d.C. QUADRANTE”, “TRAIANO 98-117 d.C. AUREO” and “TRAIANO 98-117 d.C. DENARIO”.


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