Celebrating the Natural World with the Tadao Ando x Bulgari Serpenti

Season of the Snake: Celebrating the Natural World with the Tadao Ando x Bulgari Serpenti

The luxury maison presents its very first artistic collaboration on the Serpenti Tubogas collection during Geneva Watch Week.

By Rhonda Riche

As exciting as five days of horological geekery seems, non-stop watch talk can be overwhelming. Last time I counted, 54 brands will be inside Palexpo participating in Watches and Wonders, but there will be many more hosting offsite presentations.

The members of the public, press, and retailers all have different ways of keeping their energy up during this marathon of watch releases. My watch fair ritual is playing dress up with the latest Serpenti Tubogas from Bulgari.

This year, the brand has added a special edition to make this annual ritual even more exciting – the Tadao Ando x Bulgari Serpenti: An Ode to the Seasons.

The Four Seasons

This partnership between Bulgari and Japanese architect Tadao Ando is the very first artistic collaboration in the Serpenti Tubogas collection. Ando and Bulgari have collaborated before, notably in 2020 and 2021, with two takes on the Octo Finissimo, which captured the essence of time through the pure lines of a spiral and the Mikazuki concept, symbolizing the waxing crescent moon.

With this exploration of the Serpenti Tubogas, Ando continues to investigate the fleeting glory of nature with four limited editions. First off, for this collection, he has used dials of green aventurine (ref. 104002), tiger’s eye stone (ref. 104003), and either white (ref. 104004) or pink (ref. 104140) mother-of-pearl to signify spring, summer, fall, and winter.

As Ando stated in a press release for the collection: “I aim to integrate the various forces at play, to restore the unity of architecture with nature.”


If you want to get philosophical, time is a kind of transformation. Meanwhile, the serpent has long been a symbol of regeneration and rebirth due to the shedding of its skin.

That is why, aside from being an iconic design, wearing a Serpenti is like having the circle of life wrapped around your wrist. And by using earthy dial materials, this feeling is only increased with the Tadao Ando x Bulgari Serpenti.

“Tadao Ando possesses a rare creativity, inspired by nature and its transient character,” commented Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Executive Director of Product Creation.

“Aligning with Serpenti felt instinctive. In a metaphor for time and transformation, indeed for the renewal of nature itself,” Buonamassa Stigliani continued. “The serpent likewise sheds its skin and emerges anew, its colors transformed.”


There’s more to matching materials to the seasons. For instance, despite its orange-brown hue, tiger’s eye doesn’t automatically equal only autumn in Ando’s view. Thus, the architect has designed each dial to change with the seasons and the light.

For example, in springtime, the sun’s rays will splay across the chatoyant golden-yellow tiger’s eye so that the stone more intensely reflects its natural wavy, silky shimmer across the dial. However, this is totally different than how the tiger’s eye behaves in the fall when the interplay of colors from the stone and the surrounding rose gold case seems to almost ignite.

As in his architectural practice, Ando has constructed this collection’s dials by integrating the unique patterns of green aventurine, tiger’s eye, and pink or white mother-of-pearl with the harmonious, straight, and raw lines that are a signature of his work. And he has done this via the use of colorful marquetry.

However, to accomplish this mosaic-like effect (which is also a nod to the Italian brand’s ancient Roman roots), Bulgari’s artisans first had to select only the most visually striking fragments from each material. Next, each piece is precisely traced and cut. Finally, these shapes are painstakingly hand-assembled to maximize the play of color and light.

Lastly, this mini-masterpiece is framed on two sides by a row of diamonds.

Solstice & Equinox

The Tadao Ando x Bulgari Serpenti is more than a spring fling. The first of the four limited editions will be released for the summer solstice. Called natsu, this model aims to capture the sun-dappled shadow and light of a verdant forest through the use of semi-translucent green aventurine and a two-tone, yellow gold and steel bracelet.

Next, at the autumnal equinox, Bulgari will release aki, with its warm tiger’s eye dial and rose gold case accented with a pink rubellite on the crown. Then winter will bring us fuyu, which celebrates nature’s frosty palette as symbolized by white mother-of-pearl marquetry and a shining steel case and bracelet.

Spring, or haru, recognizes rebirth. In Japan, this energy is represented by the bloom of the sakura (cherry blossom) tree. Therefore, for this edition of the Tadao Ando x Bulgari Serpenti, delicate pink mother-of-pearl marquetry represents this fleeting but beautiful moment.

Pricing & Availability

Each of these four limited edition models will come in a box specially crafted and signed by Tadao Ando. A collection of twenty exclusive boxed sets consisting of the entire quartet will all be available.

Prices for individual models will range from CHF 15,700 for the Fuyu/Autumn to CHF 39,000 for the Aki/Autumn. For more information, visit Bulgari’s website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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