Strong case for women

To say that women love Bulgari because it is one of the world's iconic jewellery firms is to underestimate them.

"Women now understand complicated watches," says Francesco Trapani, president of watches and jewellery division at LVMH, the majority stake holder of Bulgari, "and one of our priorities is to develop complicated watches for women, as we have with the jewellery watch in the Bulgari Bulgari tourbillon line".

This key 2013 release has been the firm's first tourbillon watch for women, Il Giardino Tropicale di Bulgari. The Bulgari Bulgari case is immediately recognisable with its bold use of the name on the bezel. The dial is an arresting work of art showing a parrot in a tropical garden of jewels and enamel. The tourbillon cage is a delicate construction at 6 o'clock.

"Serpenti and Bulgari Bulgari have become iconic pieces because they incorporate the best in craftsmanship," says Trapani. Il Giardino is a worthy addition to the latter, as is Bulgari Bulgari Catene, which is a vision of restrained elegance in 18ct rose gold.

Catene's mother-of-pearl dial has 12 brilliant cut diamonds for hour markers and, in one version, more diamonds are embedded in the gold chain bracelet. Its special feature is the bracelet that wraps around the wrist twice.

Bulgari offerings for men this year are as beautiful, just in a more austere fashion. Octo Steel is an addition to the Bulgari Octo line. Its steel bracelet harmonises perfectly with the famous octagon shape. The structured case has 110 separate facets which are hand-polished by Bulgari craftsmen, in polished and brushed sections, all contrasting well with a black lacquer dial.

The movement is the BVL 193, an auto-winding mechanical with hours, minutes, seconds and date, and with a power reserve of 50 hours.

Bulgari Bulgari was also presented in a refined version for this year. The bezel and lugs have been refined and the case is now 41mm, with models available in steel, rose gold or steel with gold.

The most significant refinement, however, is its movement, which is now Bulgari's own calibre, BVL 191.

Another favourite, Bulgari Roma, a breakthrough creation in 1975, returns. This was the first model to have its name emblazoned on the bezel, creating a tradition followed by the Bulgari Bulgari line with its double logo.

Now with a proprietary self-winding movement, the rose gold 2013 Bulgari Roma is limited to 250 pieces.

Then there are the Bulgari watches that are pure works of art. Bulgari Commedia dell'Arte is a small masterpiece with a hand-painted dial depicting the 16th-century characters of Pulcinella, Brighella and Harlequin. When the minute repeater chimes, they move, creating a scene straight from the theatre.

The 54mm case is white gold, as is the dial which is engraved, painted and chased. The minutes arc around the right side of the dial to leave the three characters free to express their personalities, with a window at 6 o'clock to show the jumping hours. The movement is BVL 618. Three versions of Commedia dell'Arte are being released.

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