Bulgari zeroes in on the B.zero1’s original shape for its latest novelties, playing with placements of diamonds for a precious refresh.
(BVLGARI)

When Bulgari speaks of the “Italian Genius”, it is referencing Italy as home of the luminaries of science and the arts. From Leonardo Da Vinci’s visionary inventions to the astronomical theories presented by Galileo, to the Renaissance masterpieces by Raphael, Sandro Botticelli and Michelangelo, there is no doubt Italy has been a hotbed of creativity.

Bulgari continues this heritage with the B.zero1 collection. It is a fine example of Bulgari’s Italian Genius manifestation—iconic in its own right, with a strikingly distinct look that is immediately recognisable, even from afar. It’s a statement and a staple credited to its unique design language and its use of clean lines. What started in 1999 as a ring inspired by the Tubogas technique—an industrial- inspired method pioneered by Bulgari—has seen many iterations, each version exploring a different facet of the B.zero1.

Yet, through it all, the foundational design of the B.zero1 stands on its own. Reminiscent of Rome’s Colosseum with its sinewy flowing lines embedded between two thicker edges; these are key characteristics that are the focus of Bulgari’s 2024 B.zero1 novelties.

B.zero 1 ring in white gold with pavé diamonds, BVLGARI

At its simplest, the B.zero1 Essential ring is a basic band branded with the Bulgari logo that’s fitted with a single diamond. Taking it up a notch is a three-band B.zero1 available in 18k rose, yellow, and white gold. Within the circumference of the ring is the interior wave with a diamond pavé set at the edge. The collection’s Mona Lisa is a truly a fearless design rendered in a two-band rose or white gold. Instead of the iconic wave, the interior is bedecked with pavé diamonds. Multiple-sized diamonds were used to create a three-dimensional depth and flow, which captures the fluidity of the original design.

And there will be more to come: two matching bangle bracelets are set to be released in June this year. The bracelets round off the entire collection as well as offer more styling options.

B.zero 1 rings in rose, yellow and white gold with pavé diamonds along the edges or on the spiral, BVLGARI

While American businessman Bert Lance may have reason to propose that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, that is evidently not how a genius operates. If the constant exploration of creative expressions is a measure of one’s ingenuity then, Bulgari will keep searching for new ways to elevate and refresh an icon like the B.zero1. Because resting on one’s laurels does not break boundaries. This is one of the brand’s noble goals it aims to embody.

It's the second Friday of May. You're a couple of days away from turning up to Mother's Day dinner with a flower arrangement that (a) you didn't order in advance so it's pretty much an assortment of leftovers the florist managed to collate, and (b) you're kinda screwed, dude.

Not to bring up an Asian mother trope, but we sure she's going to be nice about receiving a floral bouquet, before flicking through Facebook or her Whatsapp group chat with [insert aunty's name] showcase of the gift her thoughtful son got her. It's no competition, yes. But she definitely deserves something more.

Thankfully, there are plenty of last-minute Mother's Day gift options out there that you don't even need to sneakily get her sizes for. And we've scoured 10 just for you.

Ella Boston bag, MCM

(MCM)

Adorned with the signature Visetos monogram, the Ella Boston Bag in Maxi Visetos epitomises timeless elegance and contemporary allure. Drawing inspiration from vintage travel trunks of Munich's golden era, this bag boasts a leather hang tag and a logo-engraved metal padlock, paying homage to its jet-setting heritage. Red roses? Nah.

Diva's Dream necklaces, BVLGARI

(BULGARI)

How do you honour a mother's invaluable and nurturing love? Bulgari’s exquisite Diva's Dream necklaces might offer a radiant answer. Featuring signature shapes with mother of pearl inserts and vibrant malachite, these timeless pieces symbolise unconditional love—a perfect tribute to the extraordinary mothers in our lives.

Rogue Dior lipstick, DIOR BEAUTY

(DIOR BEAUTY)

Encased in a sleek, new design with magnetic closure, a Rouge Dior red lip never goes out of style. Its long-lasting formula ensures comfort, enriched with hydrating lip care for nourishment. There's a spectrum of shades in matte velvet and satin finishes—the matte velvet finish grants full, soft lips with a weightless feel, while the satin finish imparts brightness and shape. More than just a lipstick, it's also a small piece of luxury that she'll be able to carry with her wherever she goes.

Origami Flowers by Atelier Oï, LOUIS VUITTON 

(LOUIS VUITTON)

We know we’ve been veering from the usual flower choices, but bear with us—these aren't your typical blooms. These exquisite origami flowers are crafted by Atelier Oï in collaboration with Louis Vuitton. It's a partnership that celebrates craftsmanship with creations inspired by emotional material encounters. Each leather petal reflects a story of love and care, reflecting the essence of maternal strength as well as the beauty of handmade artistry. If you want to get her flowers, get her these ones that won't wither after a week.

Collection de l’Atelier, HENRY JACQUES

(HENRY JACQUES)

Made from the handpicked roses cultivated in the House's new Southern France atelier, Henry Jacques reveals its latest expression, Collection de l’Atelier. The limited edition collection features three distinct fragrances—Rose Soleil, Rose Trés Rose, and Rose Azur—in generous 30ml volumes to emphasise the rarity, preciousness and quality. Also available as a set of three, elegantly presented in a handcrafted chest. Limited to just 500 bottles, each a singular creation, this collection is an exclusive offering never to be duplicated. 

Rocking Horse bag, BURBERRY

(BURBERRY)

Handcrafted in Italy from textured calf leather, the Rocking Horse Bag blends nostalgic charm with modern versatility. Featuring a unique "b" closure, it's a nod to the classic rocking horse toy. With an adjustable strap, it effortlessly transitions from shoulder to crossbody wear. Embellished with the iconic tartan-check pattern, this medium version in Lichen ensures versatility and ample space for your mother's everyday needs.

Slides, GUCCI

(GUCCI)

Just as mothers gracefully navigate the twists and turns of parenting, shoes likewise adapt to diverse terrains. Show your appreciation with a pair of Gucci slide sandals—a perfect nod to their resilience and elegance. Crafted from light blue denim, these slide sandals are adorned with an embroidered Gucci script and striped accents, merging style with comfort seamlessly.

Replenishing Moisture collection set, LA MER 

(LA MER)

Pamper mom with the La Mer Replenishing Moisture Collection Set. This limited-edition set comprises of La Mer's hydrating Treatment Lotion, transformative Eye Concentrate, protective Lime Tea Concentrate, and luxurious Hydrating Infused Emulsion and Crème De La Mer. With indulgent moisture in four simple steps, it's the perfect pampering solution for radiant, youthful-looking skin, suitable for all skin types.

Les Eaux d'Issey Solar Violet, ISSEY MIYAKE PARFUMS

(ISSEY MIYAKE PARFUMS)

Issey Miyake introduces L’Eau d’Issey Solar Violet. This new fragrance pay homage to nature's beauty, embodying the transformation of water after encountering the sublime. L’Eau d’Issey Solar Violet, crafted by perfumer Marie Salamagne, merges freshness with sensuality, featuring luminous violet and sunny pear notes. Dermatologically tested and suitable for sun exposure with proper protection, it makes a thoughtful gift as a celebration of the radiant spirit of motherhood.

Airstrait straightener, DYSON

(DYSON)

The Dyson Airstrait Straightener revolutionises hair straightening with air, not heat. Its innovative design allows for simultaneous drying and straightening from wet, without hot plates, ensuring no heat damage. Featuring precise directional airflow and intelligent heat control, it safeguards hair's natural shine by measuring temperature 16 times per second. No more accidentally burning her fingers for mom.

BULGARI

Video games and luxury watches are not necessarily two categories you’d put together. But the two have teamed up more often than you might think.

Tag Heuer has produced two limited edition watches with Super Mario Bros. Panerai has partnered with Razer, the hardware company known for its PCs and peripherals. And Hamilton worked with the developers of Far Cry 6, the first-person shooter game, to create a commemorative field watch, the likeness of which your character could also wear in the game, a model ‘ready for virtual and real-world adventures’.

Now Bulgari, the luxury watchmaker known for its complex movements and ultra-thin engineering, has announced a watch in partnership with the enduring racing simulation franchise Gran Turismo—and designed a concept car to drive in the game, too.

Gran Turismo 7: © 2023 Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. Developed by Polyphony Digital Inc.

While many of the world’s greatest car brands have developed virtual ‘Vision GT’ custom cars to drive in Gran Turismo—the Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo Coupé; the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo; the Ferrari Vision Gran Turismo, and so on—Bulgari is the first non-automotive brand to do so. (Nike did produce an electric ‘sci-fi buggy’, the Nike One 2022, that could be powered by a human body via a ‘spark suit’ that converted body movements into electricity, for 2024’s Gran Turismo 4, but it was not available for purchase in the game and could only be used in practise mode.)

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the game’s Vision GT programme.

Bulgari’s Italian-born design boss—or product creation executive director—Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, went straight from design school to work for Fiat and Alpha Romeo before joining the watch brand in 2001, and cars remain a passion.

BULGARI

The company’s Bulgari Aluminium watch, first released in the late 1990s, was both a product of its times and something of a pioneer in sports watches, the first luxury wristwatch of its kind built using an aluminium case and a rubber strap and bezel—an unusual choice of materials said to be directly inspired by car design.

Relaunched in 2020, by the admission of the brand’s own CEO in order to target millennials, it won a Red Dot Design Award earlier this year, the jury praising its ‘perfect proportions and premium-quality materials’, a miniature ‘synthesis of the arts’. It is this model that’s provided the springboard for the new watch.

The Bulgari Aluminium x Gran Turismo Special Edition 2023

The chronograph comes in two versions, one with a yellow dial and black counters, produced in a limited edition of 500, and one with an anthracite dial with yellow indices, produced in a run of 1,200.

Both are sized at 41mm and come in an aluminium case with a titanium caseback with a DLC coating and a rubber bezel and strap. The watches are engraved with a ‘10th Anniversary Vision’ GT’ logo.

Fabrizio Buonamassa. BULGARI

“It was inspired by the dashboard of one of the most important cars in rally history, a legendary Italian gran turismo car from the 1990s,” Stigliani tells Esquire, ahead of the project’s reveal at the Grand Turismo World Series Finals, the climax of the professional esports tournament, in Barcelona this afternoon.

The project began after Stigliani reached out to Fabio Filippini, the noted Italian car designer, former design director at the coachbuilder Pininfarina and executive director of the automotive design agency Acceaffe, having discovered his retrospective book Curve and contacted him on Instagram.

Filippini, in turn, knew of Stigliani and his automotive background—and also knew the people at PlayStation.

Over DMs he proposed they work together

“I said ‘Fabio! You know I am a great fan of Gran Turismo?’’ Stigliani says. “I played for decades, when I was young—during the night!’

“It was just Gran Turismo on my PlayStation, no other games. But now I have kids, they start to play FIFA, other games… But Gran Turismo for me, is a legend.”

The pair hatched a plan to design a Vision car, the Bulgari Aluminium Vision GT. It was to take its design cues from the industrial aesthetics of the Bulgari Aluminium watch—“Big wheel arch, big screw that reminds you immediately of the screw on the side of the watch,” according to Stigliani. “Geometry of the windshield and the lower part of the body of the car that is totally black.”

BULGARI

PlayStation’s Gran Turismo team then designed the project in-house—the first time they’d done this.

“We said immediately, ‘We don’t have the skills, we don’t have the software to make this kind of thing’,” Stigliani says. “‘So please, you can make the 3D for us?’ And Kazunori Yamuachi, one of the masters of Gran Turismo 3D [department] became the link between Bulgari and Gran Turismo.”

(At this point Stigliani shows Esquire a folder of work-in-progress sketches for the project. It is enormous. “This is a selection!”)

While a brief to design your own virtual race car for PlayStation might conjure up ideas of letting your imagination run at record-breaking lap speeds, Stigliani points out that there are rules. Fairly strict ones.

“This car [should be able to] be built and driven [in the real world],” he says. “Gran Turismo say from the very beginning ‘We do not want to have a ‘watch with a wheel’. We want to have a real car!’ You have to imagine that Gran Turismo, it is so precise for the simulation, that you have some very important [car brands] in the automotive industry that ask Gran Turismo to make a simulation. ‘I have this car, with this [build], with this kind of engine, with this kind of suspension, and I want to [test it out with a view to] participate in 24 hours of Le Mans. Tell me the performance of the car.'”

In other words, car companies use the Gran Turismo Vision GT programme as a proof of concept.

“It is super, super precise,” says Stigliani.

Still, designing such a project was, he says, something of a boy’s dream come true.

“The idea was to make a very cool, Italian-style car, inspired by the [models produced at] the end of the 1960s, inspired by the lightweight Alpha Romeos, with the very pure shape. The amazing exotic cars of the Porsche builder, or Pininfarina. Or other cars from [designer Flaminio] Bertoni, [Marcello] Gandini, [Gruppo] Bertone, the Lancia Stratos, all these kind of cars. Very lightweight. Like the Lotus, the Maserati… This was the idea. Because the Aluminium is a lightweight watch… it’s an amazing design in terms of shape, in terms of high-tech design.”

Gran Turismo 7: © 2023 Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. Developed by Polyphony Digital Inc.

To get the drive the car in Gran Turismo, you need to first buy the watch—which comes with a QR code.

It is also possible to purchase it in-game, but for that you need one million credits. (Since your correspondent has never played Gran Turismo, Stigliani assures me this is a lot. “And when you achieve this kind of result, you don’t want to spend one million credits on just one car, because you can buy a lot of different cars. And you can make a lot of fine-tuning [to your existing cars].”)

As for how the car handles in the game, Stigliani had some ideas for that, too. “The idea for this car was pushed a lot by me, because I would love to drive a very easy and fun car. Lightweight without a huge engine without thousands of horsepower, because for me that doesn’t make sense. I just [wanted] to enjoy the pleasure of driving the car. In a very pure way. So it’s a bit like a go-kart. With a certain finish.”

As for Stigliani’s own Gran Turismo performance—he admits he’s not quite the demon he once was. “You need a lot of training,” he sighs. “Because, you know, the cars are super-reactive. And the tracks are very precise. When you get older your reaction is less quick.”

“My son Julio started playing Gran Turismo when he was eight, and he’s still playing now he’s 10. When you get older your reactions are less quick.

“At that point, for kids, it’s easier.”

Originally published on Esquire UK

Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic

Certain luxury fashion houses are fixated on their heritage, as though doing so would shield them from the erosion of progress. But the sole dependence on “legacy” and “estate” will not suffice. It’s not enough to just be, you must also matter. One of the brands that wouldn’t think of resting on its laurels is Bulgari, which is seeking to upend conventions with two additions to its Octo Finissimo series.

The products in question are the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic and Perpetual Calendar models. “CarbonGold” is a mix of high-tech carbon and gold elements first introduced in 1993. Now the maison is outfitting the Octo Finissimo Automatic and Perpetual Calendar models with CarbonGold. When it comes to experimentation with new materials, the maison was among the first to venture into crafting steel jewellery watches before moving on to the use of titanium and platinum. But if you think it’s a simple task of changing up the Octo Finissimo line-up with a mould of CarbonGold material, you’ll be wrong.

The Road Less Taken

Never one to take the easy route, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Bulgari’s chief watch designer, saw the need to overhaul the watches from scratch when it came to implementing the new CarbonGold material. “Whenever we work with new materials, we are obliged to start development from scratch,” Stigliani explains. “We had to develop a brand new titanium case insert with lugs and holes for the screws for the case back, but with a different shape. The carbon case, bezel and bracelet came next. It was a challenge for us even after producing the carbon minute repeater.” The carbon cases are adorned with rose gold crowns and carbon dials with matching gold-coloured accents. The case, strap and dial are crafted from exceptionally lightweight, anthracite-coloured carbon with a matte finish. Clean lines border the models, which exude a measured majesty.

Within the remarkable slimness embodies the extraordinary watchmaking expertise of the manufacture. For the Perpetual Calendar, in this new carbon iteration, the classic ultra-thin perpetual calendar complication requires no adjustment until 2100. For the Automatic, there’s an automatic winding, gold bridges and a gold-plated platinum off-centred micro-rotor.

The slim profile of the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold

The Time it Took

Due to the difficult intricacies of CarbonGold, it took Stigliani and his team three years to develop. But at the end of the day, it is a technical marvel. “One of my obsessions as an industrial designer is things like these that look very simple,” Stigliani adds. “I love the execution, texture, and how unconventionally we played with the material. Everybody knows carbon in the watchmaking industry, but only Bulgari can make such a watch with this kind of thickness, bracelet and movement in carbon and gold.”

It’s not the goal of housing a complication in a slim profile, it was Stigliani’s objective to “enhance the dynamic tension—this unique proposition between having a watch that was, when viewed straight on, very muscular and even aggressive, yet when you turned it on its side, you’d be absolutely surprised to find how thin it was.”

There’s something to be said about Stigliani’s obsession with marrying CarbonGold with the Octo Finissimo. The man came from the school of thought where “beauty is a necessity”.

This is Stigliani’s unconscious search in finding beauty even in the most technical of forms.

Watch snobs, hear us out: Before you turn your nose up at fashion watches for men or any piece that does not bear the prestigious Poinçon de Genève, consider the possibility that jewellery and, yes, even fashion brands have been coming out with head-turning timepieces for ages.

Luxury French fashion house Hermès, for example, made serious inroads into the horological world by putting up its very own booth at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie for the first time in 2018. French fashion brand, Louis Vuitton, produced a watch that earned the mythical Poinçon de Genève: the Flying Tourbillon, released in 2016.  

Times are changing, and these fashion and jewellery brands have shown they take their watch departments very, very seriously. And there’s another thing these brands that combine savoir-faire with technical excellence can do: When it comes to producing true objects of desire, they have nailed it down to an art.

Still not convinced? Here are a few of the companies that have made some of the most beautiful timepieces over the years.

Cartier

Say the name “Cartier” to any woman, and her eyes will no doubt light up with visions of its legendary jewellery—the Love bracelet, the Juste un Clou bangle, and the jaw-dropping Tutti Frutti and Panthère collections, just to name a few. But you, of course, will recognise that Cartier makes incredible watches, and you would be proud to have one on your wrist. Brand founder Louis-Francois Cartier did, after all, take over the workshop of master watchmaker Adolphe Picard in the 1800s, forming the company’s earliest foundations on innovative clocks and fashionable wristwatches. Thanks to the patronage of royalty that included King Carlos I of Portugal and King Edward VII of Great Britain, its reputation would later be cemented as the “jeweller of kings.” 

silver cartier tank

Our pick: The Cartier Tank Solo 

The Cartier Tank was inspired by the tanks used in World War I—as far as origin stories go, it doesn’t really get any cooler or more badass than that. The Solo is a modern addition to the collection, yet retains all the features that make the watch an enduring classic. 

Hermès

With its highly coveted handbags, such as the Kelly and the Birkin, true luxury definitely equates to Hermès. From its early beginnings as a harness and saddle supplier, the French luxury house is now best-known for its quality leather and signature silk scarves apart from branching out into perfumes, jewelry, and even accoutrements for the home. Naturally, the brand first created saddle-stitched cases for pocket watches and leather watch straps before dedicating itself fully to watches for men and women by establishing La Montre Hermès in Bienne, Switzerland in 1978.    

orange leather strap watch

Our pick: Cape Cod 

Created by Hermès creative director Henri d’Origny in 1991 when he was tasked with making a square watch, the case and dial take cues from the brand’s distinct chaîne d'ancre motif, resulting in a shape that is unmistakably Hermès. Bonus points if you get it with the famous double tour strap, a twice-winding leather wristband designed for the house by Martin Margiela in 1998. 

Bulgari 

The Italian jewelry house was made famous by Elizabeth Taylor, who turned the Serpenti into an icon when she was photographed wearing it on the set of Cleopatra while filming in Rome. In her personal life, she was known to be a prized Bulgari client, too, care of a tumultuous romance with Richard Burton that resulted in even more gifts of diamonds and jewelry for the Hollywood star. But Bulgari’s watches are worthy of just as much admiration and awe for the way it blends the Italian flair for design with Swiss watchmaking’s technical expertise. The company showed how serious it was about the latter with the establishment in 1980 of Bulgari Haute Horlogerie in Neuchatel, Switzerland. It also acquired the Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta brands in the year 2000, leading it to introduce its own in-house mechanical movements by 2010. 

black bulgari watch

Our pick: Bulgari Bulgari 

You could say that this was the watch that started it all, originally intended to be a Christmas gift to the house’s top 100 clients in 1975. Recognisable by the engraved “Bulgari Bulgari” logos surrounding the bezel, it was conceptualised as a tribute to the design of ancient Roman coins.  

Louis Vuitton 

By now, everyone is familiar with the French fashion giant’s humble beginnings as a travel trunk-maker in 1854. This later expanded into that famous monogram adorning just about everything, including a notorious punching bag designed by Karl Lagerfeld. But just as LV has a knack for turning all of the things it touches into precious objects of desire, so it goes with its watches. It’s a relatively new player, considering it marked its entry into the field with the launch of the Tambour fine watch collection in 2002. But it has certainly worked double-time and caught up since, producing many gorgeous fashion watches for men in between, leading up to the inauguration of La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton in Geneva in 2014.

louis vuitton watch

Our pick: Tambour Damier Cobalt Chronograph 

It’s fitting we should throw it back to the Tambour collection, but this new edition comes with a twist: interchangeable straps that allow you to quickly switch up the look, even without specialised tools. The Damier canvas is also ever-so-subtly visible on the dial, but you’ll be able to spot that eye-catching V from across the room.   

Tiffany and Co. 

Now it’s time for the American entry into this list: Tiffany and Co., whose legend will forever be tied to New York, Audrey Hepburn, breakfast, and that instantly recognisable robin’s egg blue. Though of course it is primarily known for jewellery, thanks to its association with dreamy engagement rings and the famous 128-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond proudly displayed at the flagship store on Fifth Avenue, the company has been selling timepieces since 1847. In fact, one of the flagship’s most recognisable features is the nine-foot Atlas Clock right above the door—also the inspiration for Charles Lewis Tiffany’s coining of the phrase, “New York minute.” Tiffany also created America’s first stopwatch, the Tiffany Timer, in 1868.   

two tone rose gold and steel

Our pick: Tiffany Atlas 

An homage to the Atlas Clock that has been standing guard since the 1850s, the Atlas watch uses the same Roman numerals that New Yorkers have used to check the time over the years. In two-tone rose gold and stainless steel, it could prompt you to create a New York minute of your own. 

From: Esquire Ph

crosschevron-down