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May 2016

Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani

  • Bulgari's style guarantor
  FBuonamassa 03
Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. © David Atlan

Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani* has been involved in jeweller Bulgari's timewear venture for 15 years, liaising between the 350 Swiss employees and the Italian workshops to preserve the highly individual style of a brand founded in 1884.


COTE: How is Bulgari doing in the timewear segment?
Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani: The last year has been fantastic; as a result we presented numerous new watches at Baselworld, for men and women.


How do you position the brand in the market?
Our clients have specific tastes, strong characters and self-assurance. We stand out because we have a unique style and heritage, and our watches combine Italian design with Swiss quality.


How do you define the Bulgari style?
It manipulates diverse elements to generate objects that didn't exist – remember, the Tubogas line was inspired by gas pipes. Italians, and Bulgari, like to use constraints to aesthetic advantage, as in the spring transformed into a spiral-link bracelet. Employing unusual materials and seizing opportunities for creating exceptional products are also part of our mindset.


How do you create watches so forceful in their design that they're recognisable at a glance?
Bulgari gives equal importance to looks, proportions and engineering. Our watches are never just instruments – even our Scuba diver's watch is different from others. And geometrical shapes are inherent in our DNA, our very architectural Octo line being the best example.


Women's watches account for most of your sales. What are the stand-out new ones?
We've used black and white ceramic for Serpenti Spiga models, it's easier to wear. The Serpenti line offers terrific opportunities for creativity plus its pure shape makes it ageless, exactly what you expect of a luxury watch you want to pass on to future generations.


There's been a little aesthetic revolution this year with the Serpenti Incantati. Why did you revisit this iconic line?
The design is revolutionary since the snake is coiled around the case, plus it's the first Serpenti watch to have a complication: a skeletonised tourbillon. We needed to give our clients something different. But although the Incantati is like no other Serpenti, it's still 100% Bulgari!


How is a new watch conceived?
It starts off as a sketch by hand, based on what the market wants. Designers have to feed their creativity on travel, heritage, history etc., be constantly on the lookout; the Incantati, for example, was inspired by an antique brooch. You need to be able to connect different worlds so as to create something new.


Another star is the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, the world's thinnest chiming watch. What was the brief for that?
We want to make complication watches that are easy to wear, not create museum pieces! For this one it took three years to develop a movement just 3.12mm deep, and two years for the case (6.85mm) and dial. Finesse and sound quality were our priorities, as well as using titanium for the dial and case.


What are your next challenges?
To stay connected to the brand's history and develop our mainstays: Serpenti, Lucea, Octo and Bulgari Bulgari. It's not about creativity for its own sake, it's about upholding the functional creativity that we are passionate about.


* Graduate of the Institu Superiore per le Industrie Artistiche in Rome
and director of Bulgari's Watch Design Center since 2007.


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