In this interview, Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, talks watches
Every year, Bulgari surprises and delights watch lovers with world-first watches as well as complex and beautiful timepieces. Here, CEO Jean-Christophe Babin assures us that this year is no exception.
What is the main product direction for the brand this year in terms of watches?
We are introducing a totally redesigned Serpenti collection, christened Seduttori. It complements the existing wide range of Serpenti creations epitomised by Tubogas and Scaglie. This new Seduttori is not just an evolution of the Serpenti as you know it, is a brand-new development celebrating gold and golden moments. It’s born to be gold, but also born to be worn and enjoyed on any occasion, be it casual or formal. The case and the bracelet, entirely redesigned, are perfectly integrated and flow smoothly on the wrist. This collection, also available in steel and gold, is highly sophisticated and consequently aimed at sophisticated women who will wear it on a daily basis.
Are you launching any world’s firsts this year?
We are pursuing our quest of innovation and establishing the ultimate 21st century high-end watchmaking elegance with the Octo Finissimo. This year, with the fifth element, evolving Finissimo as an integrated automatic integrated Chronograph GMT, obviously establishing a fifth world record: A 3.30-mm movement and 6.90-mm case, i.e. 40 percent thinner than any prior automatic chronograph movement ever in history and entirely developed by our watch masters and engineers in our movement manufacture based in Le Sentier.
Does that mean there is increasing attention on men’s watches?
Since we are a jeweller, it is natural for us to work first of all on the ladies’ (jewelled) watches: Serpenti, Lvcea and Diva. That said, men’s watches have been growing fast for a few years thanks to Octo, which has become a 40-time award winner and an iconic watch within a very short time – only six years. So, we have increased our attention on Octo but keep in mind that we remain a jeweller.
Are you also adding to the Grandes Complications?
The new Octo Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar, which is a chiming Grandes Complications watch, is being presented. It is made of more than 850 manually crafted and assembled micro-components. Bulgari is probably the number-one brand in the Grandes Complications field with that typology of products.
Have you had any challenges this past year you have had to overcome?
Challenges are simple for us: We are reaching our maximal capacity of production in our manufactures. So Bulgari watches will remain purposely exclusive. We don’t pretend to craft and sell hundreds of thousands a year. We are primarily a high jeweller of time.