Bvlgari Aeterna Watches

From Here to Eternity: Introducing the 2024 Bulgari Aeterna High-Jewelry Watch Collection

The brand marks its 140th anniversary with a collection of mind-blowing beauties.

By Rhonda Riche

It feels like watchmaking has entered a new age. So much so, in fact, that we’ve decided to call it “Peak Niche.” Why? Because 2024 has seen a renewed interest in quirky and over-the-top timepieces.

Just look at the success of “Rough Diamonds,” the Sotheby’s and heist-out auction of avant-garde timepieces in Geneva from April. Or the more recent launch of the Audemars Piguet [RE]Master02 Selfwinding, an homage to an asymmetrical watch from the company’s archives.

As it turns out, quiet luxury was not as fun as making bejeweled and quirky timepieces; thus, to celebrate its 140th anniversary, Bulgari is pushing the boundaries of its jewelry- and watchmaking expertise.

And while there were already many exquisite examples of necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings in the Aeterna high-jewelry collection, we’re completely in the thrall of its 2024 timepieces.

In total, there are five watches from three different branches of the high-jewelry collection: Fuochi d’Artificio, Fenice, and Serpenti.

So, let’s take a closer look.


Let’s begin with the mind-blowing duo from the Fuochi d’Artificio collection: the Fuochi d’Artificio High-Jewelry Manchette (Ref. 104098) and the Fuochi d’Artificio High-Jewelry Petite Watch (Ref. 104048).

Meant to evoke an Italian summer night sky lit up by fireworks, these sparkling timepieces achieve this effect via colored precious gemstones set in radiant starburst patterns. Moreover, to enhance the feeling of dynamism of these patterns, the jewels have also been painstakingly set in a variety of metals, from pink and white gold to titanium and platinum.

The most explosive piece in the high-jewelry collection is the Fuochi d’Artificio High-Jewelry Manchette (Ref. 104098), a glamourous cuff that, according to the brand, takes more than 1,450 hours to complete.

The semi-rigid Manchette is composed of rose gold and blue titanium to evoke the color of the sky. Meanwhile, a palette of playful gemstones has been carefully selected and combined with hand-cut and polished onyx inserts. To check the time, merely flip open a bejeweled cover to reveal its hidden dial.

The Fuochi d’Artificio High-Jewelry Petite Watch (Ref. 104048) is a slightly more discreet secret timepiece. Set on a semi-flexible bracelet, the Petite mixes precious gems with inserts of aventurine and features a round-cut ruby surrounded by an explosion of round-cut diamonds as a dial cover.

Motion is an important motif, aesthetically and technically. As a result, both Fuochi d’Artificio editions are equipped with the round Piccolissimo manufacture manual winding mechanical micro movement – the smallest round mechanical movement available – which has a 30-hour power reserve.

Phoenix Rising

The phoenix (or “fenice,” in Italian) is a mythical bird that is forever being reborn from its ashes. The Aeterna (Latin for “eternal”) collection symbolizes immortality and renewal.

Thus, it is fitting that Bulgari should draw inspiration from this legendary bird and reimagine the Fenice Octo Roma Secret Watch (Ref. 104050) as a gender-fluid piece with a 44mm platinum case set with over 11 carats of baguette-cut diamonds.

The cover of the Fenice Octo Roma Secret Watch has a lavishly illustrated phoenix decorated brilliant-cut blue, purple, and pink sapphires, aquamarines, rubies, and amethysts. Meanwhile, white and pink gold spikes run the length of the cover behind the phoenix.

Finally, set on a blue alligator strap, open the exquisite cover to discover the ultra-thin skeletonized manual-winding BVL 268SK movement with a flying tourbillon and a 52-hour power reserve.

Serpenti Misteriosa

The common trait found in the watches of Bulgari’s Aeterna High-Jewelry collection is a feeling of transformation. So, while the maison has always excelled at haute-joaillerie timepieces, this year’s focus on dynamism makes us feel like the brand is moving into an exciting new era.

For an example, look no further than the Serpenti Misteriosi Chimera (Ref. 104078).

In Greek mythology, the chimera is a fire-breathing creature with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Interestingly, in Italian, the word “chimera” is a synonym for “utopian.” So, it is little wonder that the Serpenti Misteriosi Chimera refers to both the divine creature and the brand’s quest for a more perfect world.

To create a “pie in the sky” version of the Serpenti, Bulgari’s designers have constructed a slinky white gold bypass bracelet with two heads: one of a snake and one of a lion. This cryptid is then dressed up with diamond and emerald scales.

Finally, the head of the snake hides the Piccolissimo movement, which the brand calls “a jewel in a jewel.”

On the other end of the design spectrum (I mean, why not get a different watch for each wrist?), there is the Serpenti Misteriosi Dragone (Ref. 104044).

While only taking the form of a snake, the serpent symbolizes rebirth and metamorphosis, fitting given that this edition is an homage to the historic piece created for Elizabeth Taylor when she played Cleopatra in Rome’s Cinecittà studios in 1962.

And just like the archival piece, this Dragone’s body is made with a tubular bracelet, and its head is set with a wave of splendid baguette-cut diamonds. The watch is also ambidextrous, meaning it can be worn on either wrist. you need only turn the removable movement 180 degrees.

Finally, requiring over 960 hours to complete, the Serpenti Misteriosi Dragone also contains the Piccolissimo movement.

To learn more, check out the Bulgari website.

(Images © Bvlgari)

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