Horologically, the new year gets started with the LVMH Watch Week 2023 in Singapore, where Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith join forces to present some of their novelties. It was the perfect opportunity for MONOCHROME to interview Antoine Pin, Managing Director of the Bulgari Watch Division, and discover all the new models that the watchmaker/jeweller presented and what to expect for the upcoming year.
Note: This interview was conducted in Switzerland a few days before the event.
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – The LVMH Watch Week is held in Singapore this year; how does Bulgari integrate this event into its 2023 calendar?
Antoine Pin, Managing Director of the Bvlgari Watch Division – Since 2019, we have seen massive changes concerning the organisation of commercial events. We have seen the end of Baselworld, the redeployment of numerous fairs in different regions of the world, and the refocus on Geneva as a platform with Watches & Wonders – yet still for a limited number of brands. As far as Bulgari is concerned, we are maintaining our approach to propose different meeting moments for our partners to match our yearly calendar, in line with our agenda. The idea is to present different collections at different times of the year that will be commercially available soon after the event. For each event, we are also presenting a more limited number of products, allowing us to have a more structured, more focused communication. This year, we dedicate the LVMH Watch Week to jewellery watches.
We have different moments to communicate but also different formats. If the Geneva salon is very much B to B and dedicated to the industry stakeholders, we want the Geneva Watch Days to be, more than ever, an event addressed to customers. We want them to discover the industry, discover new brands, meet the representatives of the brands, to create direct contact. The idea is to create a festival around watchmaking, celebrating watchmaking as a cultural element above and beyond the commercial side.
So again, we have different moments and different formats for different functions. It is a work in the making, a process of reengineering the way we address the different brand stakeholders.
What is the main theme for Bulgari watches at the LVMH Watch Week 2023?
Anticipating future news, we are preparing our first book about Bulgari watches to celebrate over 100 years of Bulgari watches. It is the perfect moment to look at our heritage and at the different expressions of Bulgari watches. We have a long-standing watchmaking tradition. We were already making jewellery watches at the beginning of the 20th century, and this is still a key element in all our strategies today. In essence, we make jewellery watches.
We wanted to focus on this legacy and the opportunity arising from the launch of the new Serpenti Tubogas Infinity. As much as Serpenti is an essential expression of jewellery watches, being a jewel turned into a watch, it could not be set like other watches. There was some type of paradox there. For the first time, we can now set the watch with this extremely elegant line of diamonds going through the entire length of the bracelet. For this, we have completely redefined the manufacturing process of Tubogas. For us, it is a superb expression of what a jewellery watch should be.
What is the particularity of Bulgari’s ladies’ watches?
The notion of being a jeweller is essential, from two different perspectives. First, in terms of design, we create watches specifically for ladies, not just simply releasing a smaller version of an existing model. This idea of creating specific designs for ladies is pretty rare in the industry. Then, there is the idea of bringing as much horological substance, craft and savoir-faire for our ladies’ watches as we do for our men’s watches. We have, for example, the recent Serpenti Tourbillon or the Piccolissimo calibre, but this is an ongoing process. The watchmaking or movement strategies are elaborated with both ladies’ and men’s watches in mind. We are investing and developing expertise that can match different requirements from a design perspective. For example, the know-how in terms of miniaturisation allowed us to bring developments both for Octo with the Finissimo saga and for Serpenti with Piccolissimo.
Besides the new Serpenti Tubogas Infinity, what are the main novelties for the LVMH Watch Week 2023?
As mentioned before, our heritage is a major source of inspiration. We are presenting new versions of Diva. This collection is an extraordinary platform to showcase our watchmaking expertise, in particular, with regard to colour stones. We are presenting different variations of Diva with tourmaline and amethyst, blue or pink sapphires, topazes and tanzanites, diamonds and rubies.
There are three main themes that drive inspiration, and they are all connected to our Italianness. The first one is “animali fantastici” with the snake or the peacock: The second one is the theme of Rome – this theme has very much inspired the Diva collection, in particular, with the fan-shaped motif drawn from the mosaics of the Roman Caracalla Baths. And the third theme comes from the notion of dolce vita, it is the notion of Allegria, of joy. We always talk about Bulgari as a joyful brand. One of the best expressions of this joyfulness is the use of colourful stones, in particular with two collections, Diva and Allegra, that allow us to play with different colours and different stones.
What are your priorities for 2023?
To consolidate all the directions taken. Our history, our production capacity (we are expanding our production site of Saignelégier), our development capacity, our visibility, and our icons. Last year’s success caught us by surprise, and we need to catch up. There will be lots of things because there is a lot of creativity inside the team, but we need to be able to match the demand at all levels. So, you will discover many initiatives that will allow us to consolidate our position as a leading watchmaker… and not just a jeweller.
For more information, please visit www.bulgari.com.