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Bvlgari: Dolce Vita

Updated: Apr 20

The founder of Bvlgari

The story of Bvlgari is rooted in the land of the gods of Olympus. Sotirio Bulgari, the founder of what was to become a dynasty, was born to a family of goldsmiths in a small village of the Epirus region of Greece in 1857. At a very early age, he served an apprenticeship with his father, but driven by ambition, he set of at the age of 21 to seek fortune in Italy. Setting in the Via Sistina in Rome in 1879, he found immediate success.


Building a reputation

In 1894, while enjoying a growing reputation, he moved to 28 Via dei Condotti, and then down the street to number 10 in 1905. Soon, he opened a store in St. Moritz, a very fashionable health resort at the time. However, convinced that he should continue to focus on his business activity in Rome, he remained in the city with his two sons Constantino and Giorgio, also trained in the goldsmith's art.


The birth of the Bvlgari style

In 1934, the Via dei Condotti store was extended and refitted and became the iconographic illustration of the negozio entry in Italy's Enciclopedia Treccani. Meanwhile, the firm launched a series of Greco-Roman and Renaissance creations. The Bvlgari style was born.

This Serpent watch, worn by Elizabeth Taylor in 1962, is a vintage model of great charm.

Expanding the Bvlgari brand

The company found new glory in the 1970s with the opening of stores in New York. Its expansion did not stop there: Bvlgari also opened branches in Paris, Geneva and Monte Carlo. Bvlgari-Bvlgari watch collections, which really appeared in the 1940s, found favour with a clientele in search of distinctive designer products at the end of the 1970s (in 1977, to be precise). These distinctive models with the name of their brand marked twice on their bezel were immediately acclaimed as trendsetting creations.


The turning point for the Bvlgari brand

Enjoying renewed growth at the start of the 1980s, Bvlgari Time- responsible for watch production- moved to Neuchatel in Switzerland, in the heart of the Jurassic arc. The turning point in the company's specialisation came in 1984 when Giorgio Bulgari's son became its chair and delegated administrative power to his nephew, Francesco Trapani. In 1993, the increasing success of the brand's timepieces led the firm to launch a selective distribution strategy in response to growing demand.


Creating more feminine timepieces

Then, in June 2000, with the brand experiencing rapid growth (up 62%), Bvlgari purchased assets of Geralld Genta SA and Daniel Roth from Hour Glass. In a particularly promising environment, watchmaking collections made up 37.8% of sales in 2002. This percentage has obviously changed over time, but with models such as its Rettangolos, the firm has certainly created a new approach to large-diameter watches. These models have also led to the design of some very feminine timepieces, including the Quadratos. Subtle watches presented in different forms- including the more recent B. Zero 1 series- they have helped to consolidate the Bvlgari watchmaking legend.


The production of grande complication watches

The field that has provided the most productive inspiration for the Rome firm is the chic sports sector. The Diagono collection, with its extremely sophisticated design, has attracted a clientele keen on more modern sports watch aesthetics. Introducing complex finishes and combining metals such as gold, steel and aluminium with rubber link bracelets, the Italian firm has innovated brilliantly and created trends. to complete its already extensive watchmaking range, the brand has recently launched the production of grande complication watches. It now offers split second chronographs and tourbillions, as well as a minute repeater and a perpetual calendar.


Celebrating 125 years

Bvlgaro has also broken new ground in strictly aesthetic terms, presenting simpler models such as the Bvlgari-Bvlgari 41, the Moon Phase model and the delicate Sotirio Bulgari watch, whose limited edition is intended to sumptuously but subtly celebrate 125 years of history that is still being written from day to day.

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