AND… ACTION! Bulgari Brings The Magic Of Cinema To Capri
Inspired by movie classics, the new Cinemagia collection is the perfect example of the savoir-faire and creativity that Bulgari is capable of. Follow along as we transport you to the art of Dolce Vita.
At a recent event in Capri, Bulgari presented the new Cinemagia high jewelry collection. We had the opportunity to live Capri in grand style and sit down with CEO Jean-Christophe Babin for a cinematic chat.
Benvenuti a Capri
Picture yourself in the blue sea surrounding the magical island of Capri off the Bay of Naples, Italy. From the earliest Roman emperors to the most celebrated film stars, this mythical rock has always held a particularly festive and elegant energy. The setting is perfect and reminds us of the link between Bulgari and the art of cinema.
This year, Bulgari has been able to focus their magic around a collection or rather a place inaccessible to the common man. A Cinecittà-style showroom perched on the rooftop of Capri Palace. Ultra-shielded and ultra-scintillating. It's difficult to describe the grand staging of gold adornments, precious cuffs, and other solitaires. It is rare to find such an accumulation of stones so pure and unique as well as the know-how and renowned craftsmanship of the Roman jeweler.
Not only Octo
On the men's side, Bulgari presented the full baguette versions of the Octo Tourbillon set with over 480 baguette diamond and a magnificent Octo Roma Sapphire Lapis Lazuli which I must say was a perfect match with the stunning blue sea backdrop.
But the piece that excited my curiosity the most was the Octo Roma Monete. A Roman coin with the likeness of the Emperor Constans, about 2,000 years old is fitted to a hunter-style case. The piece also features an innately finished ultra-flat skeleton manufacture movement with a tourbillon. The piece is available only in rose gold and platinum. Unique. Precious. Immortal.
As for the ladies, the Serpenti High Jewelry collection was present with unique pieces that were lined with rubies and other precious stones. But undoubtedly, my favorite is the Serpenti Misteriosi Romani cuff. It’s an incredibly unique piece with a snakehead that is discreetly hidden in the timepiece, a Sri Lankan sapphire of 10 carats with 60 carats of diamonds and some more 35 carats of sapphires. The price you may ask? Around two million Euros. Two million reasons to dream... it has been most likely already sold.
The Bulgari Style: L'Italianità
Every Bulgari event artfully transports its guests to a unique experience. Undoubtedly when the most impenetrable places open their doors for a spectacle such as this, it’s sure to be discussed for years to come. We mingled with a myriad of celebrities while sharing some great Negronis until very late. All the ingredients of an exceptional event were there, but it is the concept of "Italianità" that Bulgari with its iconic CEO and Dream Team shared with their guests, that makes these moments truly special. This concept is difficult to replicate. A blend of La Dolce Vita, glamor, style, Italian class, and generosity. Lo stile Bulgari.
Jean-Christophe Babin Interview
Alexander Friedman: Ciao Jean-Christophe! I have to ask, how do you brief your creative teams for a collection such as this? Something so close to Bulgari's DNA?
Jean-Christophe Babin: It all starts with a triangle. That is to say that the high jewelry is articulated at the time to the magnificence, its more extraordinary stones which will be glorified in a movie, and the film itself must leave the star to be the star. You have the signs, the snake, the diva that we will, of course, renew every year. And the third dimension, which is the free figures that a theme surrounds each year. The yearly theme must be consistent with our story and must stimulate creativity as well as being compatible with the profession of the jeweler. Cinemagia allows us to completely renew the staging of our colored stones, not necessarily by the size but more by the frame. Movies are often inspired by signs that you see in nature, like the sails of the captain, or the emerald city in the Wizard of Oz. It's the small symbolic elements that are drawn from these mythical films which lead to a reinvention of the color of jewelry.
AF: What is the feedback from Baselworld?
JCB: At the commercial level, we achieved the results we were hoping. I would say that we did not necessarily see a significant change. Fewer retailers came, but that's good because we are trying to reduce our doors. We aim to go from 600 to 300 points of sales in two years, which is pretty drastic. Having fewer retailers allows us to have more quality time with those we meet and with whom we want to build a much stronger relationship. In parallel to the reduction in the number of watch retailers, we also remove the jewelry of the watch retailers to be sure that the focus will be on the watches. It's a bit raw as logic goes, but it's good since we want our boutique networks that sell watches and jewelry that compliments each other, and the retail system must attract a clientele that we would not see just a jewelry store. In this context, Basel was excellent because there were fewer retailers, but we had more quality time with our other retailers.
AF: The Octo brings so much watchmaking legitimacy. I wear the titanium version and it attracts a lot of curiosity from people who often ask me to take it off to have a look. In the eyes of some of our collector friends, they just can't comprehend how such a young brand (horologically speaking) was able to accomplish this. What do you think?
JCB: Undoubtedly, we have been a watchmaker from 1975 to 2000-2002. Then we did a simple observation. Bulgari was the most classic expression that has never been a very sophisticated watch. It is a beautiful watch, daily, modern, and unique by its logo that recalls the Roman piece. But it is true that in terms of watchmaking expertise the brand was really born around 2000 after the acquisition of Gérald Genta and so it is true that during the first ten years, people saw above all a continuation of Gérald Genta. Since most of the staff stayed, it helped us to master the craft we acquired.
But the real first Bulgari creation is the Finissimo. Until then, it was mainly an evolution of Gérald Genta's heritage in mechanical terms. Our real legitimacy was born in 2014 when the first real innovative Bulgari movement was presented. It is true that compared with the other big names in the industry, our story is quite short. However, thanks to this spectacular innovation, it allowed us to catch up faster, but on the other hand, it is logical that among collectors we are not yet "Top of Mind" because we are starting again. We already see a beneficial effect, not only on men's watches that are exceeding expectations but also women's watches. About 15 years ago, we did not sell a Ladies Tourbillon, but today we sell a lot in the collections like Serpenti. It would be hard to sell if we did not have legitimacy behind it.
AF: Why do you think there is such desirability for the High Jewelry cuff that you make?
JCB: The cuff is an excellent alternative to a bracelet that makes an object equivalent to the necklace, but a wrist object. So besides if you can slip in a secret watch, it's even more subtle and sophisticated. While keeping room for creativity like on a necklace. It is also a way to upgrade the "secret watch" over the historical secret watch that we still produce and inherited from the '40-'50s that wraps around your wrist. The cuff is a different element and style, and I think that in a lot of bracelets there is more and more room for innovation.