Geneva Watch Days 2023: Bulgari’s new CarbonGold Octo Finissimos, coin watches, and Serpenti Misteriosis

Six new watches across the Octo Finissimo, Serpenti Misteriosi, and Monete Catene lines bring alive the theme of ‘duality in nature’ for Bulgari, at Geneva Watch Days 2023
For the 2023 edition of Geneva Watch Days, Bulgari chose to bring alive the theme of ‘duality in nature’, personified via materials, colours, and shapes, both old and new. This idea has found expression in two new Octo Finissimos, Serpenti Misteriosis, and secret coin watches each. 

Bulgari Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Perpetual Calendar and Bulgari Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic 
Let’s start with Bulgari’s award-winning line. After being crafted in platinum, yellow and rose gold, titanium, ceramics and, steel, the line has now grown to include high-tech anthracite carbon, juxtaposed with gold. Common to most forged carbon watches, the case and bracelet of the new Octo Finissimos feature unique patterns that develop during the high pressure the material is subjected to.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Perpetual Calendar and Bulgari Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic

Both watches – the  Bulgari Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Perpetual Calendar  (Ref. 103778) and the  Bulgari Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic (Ref. 103779) – are 40mm, and their case, strap, and dial are made of extremely lightweight, anthracite-coloured carbon with a matte finish. Both models feature hourmarkers, hands, and the crown in gold, and are water resistant to 100 meters.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Perpetual Calendar

It was the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar that won the 2021 Aiguille d’Or prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, and the newest version in CarbonGold seeks to take forward that legacy. The Ref. 103778 has a slimness of 7.60mm, thanks to a redesigned Calibre BVL 305 that is 2.75mm and has a 60-hour power reserve. The dial features hours, minutes, a retrograde date at 12 o’clock, a day of the week between 7 and 8 o’clock, month between 4 and 5 o’clock, and a retrograde leap year at 6. The watch requires no adjustment before the year 2100. The bracelet of Ref. 103778 has a folding clasp in steel with a DLC coating. The Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic on the other hand has a small seconds at 7 o’clock and is powered by the automatic Caliber BVL 138 featuring a platinum micro- rotor – the movement is just 2.23 mm thick, and has a power reserve of 60-hours. 
The caseback of both watches is transparent, held in place by eight precious metal screws. The movement is decorated with vibrant contrasts - there’s Côte de Genève-decorated rose gold bridges and an oscillating weight forged from rose gold-plated platinum. 

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi
The Serpenti is a Bulgari cornerstone, appearing across the brand’s jewellery, leather goods, and of course watches. Last year, the design hit a milestone with the gem-set Serpenti Misteriosi, which housed the BVL 100, the smallest round mechanical movement on the market. This year, the brand has unveiled two new iterations – making its debut is a white gold Misteriosi (Ref. 103795) paved with diamonds (116 totalling 32.91K, to be precise) and a rose gold one (Ref. 103884), with scales of black lacquer that are set with navette-cut diamonds at intervals. The dials of both watches are paved entirely with diamonds, hidden under a serpent’s head that features eyes of emeralds. 

(Left)The rose gold Serpenti Misteriosi (Ref. 103884), with scales of black lacquer, and (right) the white gold Misteriosi (Ref. 103795)

Pushing down on the tongue, lifts the head to reveal the dial. Given its rich jewellery-making legacy, it’s no surprise that Bulgari’s craftsmanship techniques are on full display in these new Serpenti Misteriosis. Each of the Serpenti’s hexagonal scales is created using a delicate lost-wax technique that dates back more than 6,000 years. The lacquering too is inspired by the enamelling technique used by the Egyptians as far back as 2000 BCE, and by Bulgari since the 1960s for the Serpenti. 

The dial of the watch

Both timepieces are powered by the manual-winding BVL 100, which is just 2.5mm thick, and offers a 30-hour power reserve. The crown is set under the watch, and for those who find the winding cumbersome, the watch comes with an interchangeable quartz movement that can be purchased separately. 

The BVL 100 movement

Monete Catene High Jewellery Secret Watch and Monete Catene Dual Time High Jewellery Secret Watch 
There are many aspects of Bulgari’s new Monete watches that make them more than interesting. The first is that the cuff watches are inspired by the idea of ‘Gemme Nummarie’, which loosely translates to ‘coins being treated as gems’. This was an idea that was particularly close to Nicola Bulgari’s heart – he was the grandson of Sotirios Bulgari, founder of the Maison – under whose aegis the first Monete came to be in 1966. Following that thought, Bulgari has unveiled the Monete Catene High Jewellery Secret Watch (Ref. 103870) and Monete Catene Dual Time High Jewellery Secret Watch (Ref. 103871). Both are ‘secret watches’ crafted in gold and with diamonds on the dials. 
Monete Catene Dual Time High Jewellery Secret Watch

Ref. 103870 features a denarius, or silver coin, bearing the portrait of Roman emperor Caracalla, who ruled from 198 to 217 AD. In Ref. 103871, there are two coins featured to represent the dual-time function of the watch – one is of emperor Septimius Severus (193 to 211 AD), and the other of his wife, empress Julia Domna, who was venerated as a goddess. Both coins form the ‘cover’ of the secret watch, and when lifted, reveal the dial, which is set with diamonds.

The coins used to craft the Monete Catene High Jewellery Secret Watches

The Monete Catene High Jewellery Secret Watch has an octagonal case, inspired by the ceiling of the Maxentius Basilica in Rome. Surrounding the dial are diamonds set in a circle, and beyond them another circular engraving. The case is flanked by a rose gold curb chain bracelet with a sprinkling of diamonds. 

Monete Catene High Jewellery Secret Watch

The Dual Time High Jewellery Secret Watch is a richer version,  a rectangular watch inspired by a piece created in the 1970s. The two coins shield the two dials, which feature hands in two different colours to display the time in different time zones. Bulgari combines yellow gold around the coins with white gold around the dial, and rose gold, which is what the rectangle plate is made of. Both the baguette and brilliant-cut diamonds and snow setting adorn the dial and the case. On the sides of the case are two emerald cabochons, which allow one to open the ‘cover’ and view the dial. The bracelet of the Monete Catene Dual Time cuff features five rows of links, alternating between yellow gold and gem-set rose gold, punctuated by white gold bars that are set with baguette diamonds 

The gem-studded rectangular case of the Monete Catene Dual Time High Jewellery Secret Watch

Both timepieces are powered by Calibre BVL 100 with manual winding with a 30-hour power reserve

Images: Courtesy brand