2021 has kicked off with challenges for the industry, in a rather difficult context, but also important news. Indeed, the LVMH Watch Week 2021 was the opportunity for the brands under the French luxury powerhouse to unveil some of their novelties. It was also the perfect occasion for MONOCHROME to interview Antoine Pin, Managing Director of the Bvlgari watch division.
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – 2020 was a challenging year for the industry. How was it for Bvlgari?
Antoine Pin, Bvlgari – We started the year with the very successful LVMH Watch Week in Dubai. Following the Coronavirus outbreak, the first semester proved challenging. The lockdowns didn’t just affect the market; they also affected manufacturing in Switzerland. We have a highly integrated production line but with lockdown measures in place production had to be halted. We had to protect our staff before anything else.
Over the year, the situation gradually improved. There has been a shift toward domestic consumption with the travel ban in place. Europe and Hong Kong were hard hit. On the other hand, the performance in other areas was good, particularly China. The digitization of our activities increased at a fast pace. You have to adapt quickly. The second part of the year showed a real improvement.
The calendar for industry events has been disrupted. You are kicking off 2021 with the LVMH Watch Week. Bvlgari and the other LVMH brands will be part of Watches & Wonders? What drives these decisions?
In 2020 we took part in the LVMH Watch Week and organized the Geneva Watch Days. Still, there have not been large industry events such as Baselworld and Watches & Wonders. I believe that the industry needs such events where people can meet. It is a matter of efficiency. For brands, for clients, for the trade and the press.
The LVMH Watch Week is an opportunity to present some of our novelties in an interesting format. We can have quality time with clients and the press. And the timing is great.
Regarding Watches & Wonders, it will be a major international digital event. We’ll present new watches on that occasion. It allows us to present novelties at different times of the year. It will also be the opportunity to develop dynamic communication strategies required by the event format. I believe there will be exceptional experiences.
Octo has been a tremendous success for the brand. What’s new for the collection?
We worked on our chronograph collection with sportier releases. Our first Octo Finissimo chronograph is an extreme concept: it is sharp, record-thin, monochromatic. The new Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT titanium black dial brings something different with a fascinating contrast.
We are also launching the S version of the chronograph; it features all the attributes of the Octo Finissimo but with 100m water-resistance and a screw-down crown. The hour markers and hands are luminescent. The “panda” dial and the day-night GMT is striking. It is 1.9mm thicker to account for the 100m water-resistant, but it remains remarkably thin.
What about the new Octo Roma Tourbillon Carillon striking watch?
We are really happy and proud to present this watch. We have done a lot with ultra-thin movements, and ultra-thin is regarded as a key Bvlgari field of expertise. But we also have immense know-how in the creation of striking watches. We have a unique portfolio of striking movements, from repeaters to Grande Sonnerie watches, with 2, 3 or 4 hammers. Such watches offer amazing creative opportunities.
The new Octo Roma Tourbillon Carillon proposes a different style. Design and function had to go hand in hand. This is where we have pushed the envelope. The movement is inspired by our Grande Sonnerie. The chimes are fixed to the case and not to the calibre to enhance the diffusion of sound. The internal structure of the case is openworked, like a honeycomb to maintain a strong architecture. The entire construction has been conceived to enhance resonance and sound propagation. The resulting design is modern, pure and opens interesting perspectives for the future. Last, it is super comfortable on the wrist, weighing just 80g.
You are also presenting several women’s watches. Can you tell us about these?
These are connected to the essence of Bvlgari. Bvlgari is a Roman jeweller. Take a look at the new Serpenti Spiga. This Bvlgari icon is a jewel turned into a watch, and this is quite unique on the market; it is not just a watch that has been set with diamonds. It was born as a jewel. And the new “Spiga” bracelet was created with our jewellery teams in Rome. It is super-flexible and comfortable. All these watches are infused with this jewellery spirit. They all share the same artistic creativity, exceptional artisanship and technical expertise.
The Diva Peacock collection might be the ultimate expression of what a jeweller-watchmaker can create. The three new watches are powered by three different mechanical movements, specifically adapted to ladies’ watches. They showcase different métiers d’art. Last, the peacock theme is rich and inspiring. It is a Bvlgari symbol. Beauty comes from nature. Same goes with Lucea, which is a more accessible collection. The new Lucea Intarsio features specific savoir-faire, with mother-of-pearl marquetry.
For more information, please visit www.bulgari.com.