Originally created as a stopgap solution in 2020 to offer a live watch event in the midst of the pandemic, Geneva Watch Days is coming up for its third edition and the MONOCHROME team is here to cover all the novelties first-hand. One of the founding fathers of GWD is Bulgari and one of the Italian brand’s novelties for 2022 is this dazzling Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon, a seductive marriage of Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie dressed to the nines in diamonds and black spinels and fitted with the world’s smallest tourbillon movement.
Stunning high jewellery watches are a trademark of the Italian brand, and its mascot is the seductive Serpenti. In the late 1940s, Bulgari’s designers transformed a popular high jewellery snake bracelet into a watch, immortalised on the wrist of Liz Taylor while filming Cleopatra at Cinecittà Studios in Rome in 1962. Brought out of hibernation after almost 60 years, the Serpenti was fitted with a tourbillon complication in 2020. Given the minimal space and teardrop shape of the snake’s head, Bulgari had to develop a bespoke movement that is currently the smallest of its kind.
Glamorous black & White
The 34mm white gold case, dial and bracelet are completely covered in brilliant-cut diamonds (~5 ct) with contrasting baguette-cut black spinels (~7 ct), giving the watch a glamorous Art Deco vibe. Bulgari’s longstanding tradition of high jewellery creations can be appreciated in the suppleness of the bracelet and the dynamic gemsetting. The pavé diamond dial, for example, provides a scintillating background for the baguette-cut black spinel indices and reveals a large aperture at 6 o’clock for the tourbillon regulator. Also decorated with baguette-cut black spinels, the bezel frames the dial majestically. The teardrop-shaped case is fully set with brilliant-cut pavé diamonds and is slightly pinched on the right side to accommodate the winding crown, set with a black cabochon spinel. Emulating the scales of a snake, the supple hexagonal links are also embellished with diamonds and black spinels.
The miniature manual-winding movement – calibre BVL150 – was designed to fit the unusual drop-shaped contours of the Serpenti case. This is not a common practice in watchmaking, where cases are usually designed to accommodate the movement. A small sapphire crystal opening on the caseback at the level of the tourbillon reveals the diminutive movement that is rhodium-plated and hand-decorated with straight Côtes de Genève stripes, perlage and bevelling. The tourbillon is held in place with a sapphire bridge. Other adaptations include the winding stem located between 2 and 3 o’clock and the special pavé setting of the diamonds to keep the case as thin as possible. The mechanical manual-winding movement beats at 21,600vph and offers 40 hours of autonomy for the hours, minutes and tourbillon functions and has a thickness of just 3.65mm.
The Bulgari Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon (ref. 103465) retails for EUR 195,000. For more information, please consult Bulgari.com.