Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi high jewellery secret watches


Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi
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A new mechanical calibre, an absolute icon: the new Serpenti Misteriosi masterpieces by Bulgari embody new feats of miniaturisation associated with the jewellery and decorative excellence of the Rome-based Maison. On the occasion of the LVMH Watch Week, Bulgari is introducing four new Serpenti secret-watches revisiting the iconic design from the 1950s and paying tribute to the 80th anniversary of the first Bulgari secret watch featuring a rectangular dial concealed by a hinged cover set with brilliant-cut diamonds and decorated with baguette diamonds.

The new creations are all equipped with the new Piccolissimo mechanical movement, one of the smallest in the world, entirely conceived and produced within the Bulgari Manufacture in Le Sentier. The BVL100 calibre revives the very small mechanical ‘motors’ that equipped all women’s watches until the early 1970s.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi

New feats of miniaturisation

Measuring 12.30 mm in diameter and 2.50 mm thick, the BVL100 calibre indicating the hours and minutes is housed in the head of the reptile within a dedicated container. The Manufacture leveraged its rich experience in the domain of Finissimo watches to create a very compact movement weighing only 1.30 grams. The extreme miniaturisation of its 102 components is vividly illustrated in the barrel featuring a total diameter of just 5.00 mm for a thickness of 1.47 mm and a spring that is 170 mm long before being wound. Moreover, to ensure the greatest inertia according to the very small size of the movement, the Manufacture opted for a white gold balance wheel.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi

Pressing the snake’s tongue on the Serpenti Misteriosi opens the head to reveal the watch. A bidirectional crown located on the caseback enables manual winding and time-setting. This dual function operates by means of a system of reversers.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi

The launch of the Octo Finissimo in 2014 was a defining moment in the history of Bulgari watches. Topping one record after the other for seven consecutive years, the brand has become the master of ultra-thin movements and redefined the aesthetic of the luxury sport watch in a distinctive and contemporary design language.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi

After exploring the limits of ultra-thin mechanical watchmaking, Bulgari now lays a new milestone in the field of ultra-small with Piccolissimo, the Italian for “very small”. With it, the brand opens new territories of expression for its ladies’ watches and celebrates the brand’s first iconic Serpenti secret timepieces which return in radiant splendour, embellished with gold, diamonds, lacquer and hard stones.

Bulgari, perpetuating the legacy bequeathed by the first Serpenti watches – including the one created for Elizabeth Taylor when she played Cleopatra in Rome’s Cinecittà studios in 1962 – has reinvented the emblematic reptile for decades. Rooted in numerous ancient cultures, the snake embodies multiple symbolic values including womanhood, rebirth, luck, seduction, and temptation – all condensed within the new Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi

The Serpenti odyssey

The first Serpenti secret watches were introduced in the late 1950s. Several iterations, in two- or three-colour gold or combined with steel, followed confirming Bulgari’s expertise with daring colour combinations, intricate craftsmanship and unconventional materials. Square, circular, rectangular and octagonal shapes were adopted for the dial, sometimes evoking the snake head. The pieces illustrate the rich vein of creativity that Bulgari has mined with Serpenti: the scales could be reproduced with diamonds, polychrome enamel or gemstones. In other models, the scales were transformed into playful “boules” that were soldered one by one to form an intricate gold mesh. The head of the animal was completely different on each model, and adorned with pave, baguette-, navette-, brilliant- or marquise-cut diamonds to give each style its own distinctive expression.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi
Serpenti bracelet-watch in yellow gold with coral, onyx and diamonds, ca. 1965. Private Collection

True to the spirit of the Maison, the new Serpenti Misteriosi timepieces are opulent and colourful, with a strong emphasis on the mastery of decorative arts and jewellery virtuosity.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi
“Serpenti” bracelet-watch in gold with emeralds and diamonds, ca. 1961.
The hinged diamond-set head with ruby eyes conceals a circular gold case, white argenté dial; applied white gold faceted baton-shaped indexes, at the quarters applied white gold Arabic numerals; “JAEGER-LECOULTRE / SWISS MADE” logo printed in black; withe gold sword-shaped-hands; back-case secured by two screws with asymmetrical soleil finish, crown winder; hand-wound mechanical movement. In the Bulgari stock ledgers, the bracelet watch is recorded as sold on the 30 January 1962 however there is no indication of the name of the buyer. At around the same time in a photograph on the set of Cleopatra it may be seen on Elizabeth Taylor’s wrist.
Marks: on the reverse of the head: “BULGARI” engraved; on the reverse of the tail: “PT”; lozenge with “ 26/ AL”; on the back-case: numbered: “706666 A”.

Masterpieces of goldsmithing, their many constituent parts are individually shaped before being decorated, gem-set and assembled. Particular attention has been paid to the overall design of the precious metal structure forming the bracelet and the head to ensure that it is comfortable and light to wear.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi
“Snake” bracelet-watch in gold with green enamel, rubies and diamonds, ca 1975.
The flexible bracelet designed as a coiled snake, the scales decorated with green guilloché enamel and pavé-set brilliant-cut diamonds, the head with pear-shaped ruby eyes and circular cabochon ruby nostrils, concealing a circular gold case, with champagne coloured circular dial; applied gold baton-shaped indexes with black profiles; “JAEGER-LECOULTRE / BVLGARI / SWISS MADE” logos printed in black; black sword-shaped hands; gold back-case secured by two screws with asymmetrical soleil finish, crown winder; hand-wound mechanical movement. Marks: on the reverse of the tail: “BVLGARI / 750” engraved; on the back-case: rectangle with “female head”.

In the extremely elegant lacquered versions, the semi-transparent lacquer is hand-applied and dried, multiple times, crystallising as it dries. The metal of the scales features a hand-made striped pattern, which gleamingly enhances the brilliance of the special décor.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi
“Snake” bracelet-watch in gold with polychrome enamel and emeralds, 1967.
The flexible bracelet designed as a coiled snake, the scales decorated with white, black, green and turquoise enamel, the head with pear-shaped emerald eyes concealing a gold case, champagne coloured dial; applied gold baton-shaped indexes with black profiles, at 12 paired baton-shaped indexes; “JAEGERLECOULTRE / BVLGARI / SWISS MADE” logos printed in black; black sword-shaped hands; gold back-case with asymmetrical soleil finish secured by two screws; crown winder; hand-wound mechanical movement. Marks: on the reverse of the head: “BVLGARI” engraved; on the back-case: numbered “1122607”.

The perfect union of Haute Horlogerie and High Jewellery is magnificently celebrated through a bewitching interpretation in yellow and white gold: the snake wraps itself around the wrist with a double-tour yellow gold bracelet entirely adorned with brilliant-cut diamonds on the white gold head and tail. The animal’s head is graced with a flower set with round-cut diamonds, becoming the incredible focal point of the hypnotic timepiece.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi
“Serpenti” Bracelet in gold with cabochon ruby and diamonds, 1950

Staring at the world with rubellite, emerald and diamond eyes, Serpenti Misteriosi timepieces give a new highly contemporary meaning to the precious nature of time.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi

In the pure tradition of the Serpenti first introduced during the 1950s, each new creation captures the quintessence of The Roman Jeweller of Time in their impeccable craftsmanship and Swiss watchmaking expertise. Echoing the inspiring models, each timepiece is designed to be worn on either wrist: the container hidden within the snake’s head – housing the diamond-encrusted dial and the underlying movement – can be easily removed and turned in the other direction so as to be easily visible on the left or right arm.

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