At the last exhibition in Basel, the Roman Jewelery and Watch House Bulgari once again amazed the audience with the most complex work in the field of watchmaking - the world's thinnest tourbillon, Octo Finissimo, was released with a skeletonized movement. Recently, along with other famous watches of the House - among them a unique repeater watch Grande Sonnerie Magsonic with four hammers - they were presented in Moscow. The presentation took place in the restored estate of the Muravyov-Apostles. InStyle jewelry editor Leyli Aliyeva did not miss the opportunity to learn from Pascal Brand, head of international communications for Bulgari watch division, how and when the history of the House took a new turn.
In Bulgari archives you can find many vintage watch models with interesting designs, but what you are doing now is not just an addition to jewelry collections. When did clocks become a special direction for the House?
In the mid-1970s, Bulgari first released a men's watch with a Bulgari Bulgari engraved on the case, which no one else did at the time. They became another dedication to Italian history: the Roman emperors, having conquered new territory, minted coins with their name on them. The model was a great success and marked the beginning of the development of the Bulgari watch division, although our watches have been present in our collections since the 1920s. In 2010, we made another leap forward and switched to completely our own production - from mechanisms to straps, gaining more freedom to express our ideas. So, in the Finissimo line with ultra-thin movements, we managed to show that our watches are able to withstand any competition and even break world records.
Recently in the Finissimo line you introduced a skeleton with a thickness of only 2.35 mm. What was the main difficulty in creating it?
The main difficulty in creating ultra-thin mechanisms is to achieve their high strength. But when we decided to make such a mechanism also skeletonized, we literally began to weave lace - despite the external fragility and grace, it was necessary to preserve its reliability.
What criterion comes first when developing a new watch, design or mechanics?
Oh, there are two options for working here. In the first case, we decide to create a watch with a complex mechanism, for example, a repeater. Then the technical department informs the design department of their project, and the design department begins work on its design. Or, on the contrary, the designer proposes a new watch shape and tells the watchmakers about it, who then work on the possibility of fitting the mechanism into it. In a word, dialogue is always very important.
Over the years Bulgari has introduced several women's models with complications, including tourbillons. In your opinion, is it important for women to have complex mechanisms in watches?
I think that the visual component is more important for women, but this does not mean at all that they are not interested in the content of the watch. For connoisseurs of mechanics, we make watches with complications, but at the same time we use unique jewelry techniques to decorate the dial and case.
Do you think that in the digital age of the fine watchmaking industry there is a danger of a crisis, comparable to the crisis of the 1970s, when the market was taken over by quartz movements?
In my opinion, such a danger does not threaten the watchmaking world. And the reason is that watchmaking connoisseurs have changed. They became more knowledgeable, again learned to appreciate high quality, delicate work. Thanks to the press and modern technology, people all over the world can get information about watches. This is beneficial to the industry as it obliges us to meet the highest expectations.