Bvlgari has unleashed a trio of amethyst Serpenti watches in its latest capsule collection. The snakes represent three different Serpenti watch families – Bangle, Scaglie and Incantati – and slither into the limelight with a stunning combination of intense purple amethyst and contrasting white diamonds. The combination of different cuts of stone and settings brings the snakes to life and highlights Bvlgari’s exceptional command of design and the skill of its gem-setters.
A word of warning to our readers: these Serpenti watches are jewellery watches and are not equipped with mechanical movements. There is, however, a skeletonised tourbillon model of the Serpenti Incantati with a manual-winding movement.
Bvlgari is Rome’s most famous jewellery Maison and is renowned for its sensual, colourful jewellery that captures Italians’ passion for beautiful design and provocation to perfection. Bvlgari’s snake mascot emerged on the scene in the 1940s as a bracelet and was transformed into a secret watch with the dial hidden inside the snake’s mouth. With its heady mix of sensuality and danger, it was an immediate hit among Rome’s dolce vita crowd.
In fact, during a break from filming Cleopatra in Rome’s Cinecittà Studios in 1962, Liz Taylor was photographed wearing a Bvlgari Serpenti watch, a gift from her very own Mark Anthony. What is not so well known is that the 1940s snake watch marked Bvlgari’s first incursion into watchmaking.
As Rome’s emblematic emporium of luxury, Bvlgari dips extensively into the city’s rich past. Purple is a colour closely associated with ancient Rome, in particular with the purple and white togas worn by consuls at important ceremonies. Amethyst was also revered by the Egyptians as a symbol of power and, who better to represent their most famous queen on the silver screen than Liz Taylor, the actress with the mesmerising violet eyes?
Serpenti Misteriosi Bangle
This rose gold model with its articulated bangle bracelet is a secret watch and hides its mother-of-pearl dial underneath the snake’s head. Two large pear-cut amethysts are used for the eyes and baguette-cut amethysts for the scales on the head. The articulated head and gold bangle bracelet feature elongated hexagonal cavities to lighten the load and recreate the snake’s scales. Some of the hexagonal scales on the skeletonised head and bracelet are highlighted with snow-set brilliant-cut diamonds.
Quick facts: 36mm – 18k rose gold skeletonised case set with amethysts and brilliant-cut diamonds – white mother-of-pearl dial with violet hands – skeletonised bangle set with brilliant-cut diamonds – water-resistant to 30m – reference 103054/103056 – price EUR 56,300.
The Italian for ‘scales’, the Scaglie watch wraps twice around the wrist. A rose gold jewellery watch, the Scaglie tapers from head to tail in a dazzling composition of articulated scales. The head of the snake reveals a mother-of-pearl dial with diamond-set indices and violet hands and is crowned at each extremity by three brilliant-cut diamonds. Amethyst is the predominant stone on the bracelet (126 amethysts for a total of 6.65 carats) marking each scale with a row of buff-cut (slightly irregular rectangular shape) stones. Six claw-set, brilliant-cut white diamonds on each scale complete the picture. Even the underside of the snake is beautifully finished and reveals the hollowed out areas of each scale lending the snake flexibility and comfort to the owner.
Quick facts: 26mm – 18k rose gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds – white mother-of-pearl dial with diamond indices and violet hands – 18k rose gold bracelet with diamonds and buff-cut amethysts – 30m water-resistant – reference 103124 – price EUR 75,000.
The Incantati collection of 2016 reinterpreted Bvlgari’s mascot in a more contemporary key. In a departure from the more naturalistic Serpenti sisters of the past, which used the body of the snake to coil around the wrist, designer Fabrizio Buonamassa uses the geometric body of the snake to form the round shape of the case. The head of the snake biting its tail is picked out with a large amethyst, the bezel is set with a further 32 buff-top cut amethysts and the dial sparkles with snow-set diamonds. The watch comes with a violet alligator strap and an 18k rose gold ardillon buckle, also set with brilliant-cut diamonds.
Quick facts: 37mm – 18k rose gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds, buff-top cut amethysts (total 33 amethysts 2.45 carats) – snow-set diamonds on dial – violet alligator strap with rose gold ardillon buckle and brilliant-cut diamonds – water-resistant to 30m – reference 103125 – price EUR 49,500.
More information at www.bulgari.com.