Baselworld 2014: Il Giardino Marino di Bvlgari

Baselworld 2014: Il Giardino Marino di Bvlgari

Horological complexity inspired by a total immersion in marine beauty

With Il Giardino Marino di Bvlgari, Bvlgari continues to explore the wonders of nature’s gardens, this time by taking elegant individuals on a journey of horological complications through the rare universe of marine beauty. 

Last year, Bvlgari creative fine watchmakers took inspiration from the natural botanical world, offering its first complicated watch for ladies. Christened Il Giardino Tropicale di Bvlgari, it was a natural successor to the “Naturalia” jewellery collection of the 1990s whose naturalist palette of plant-themed shapes and bright colours drew on the diverse treasures of fauna and flora; an enchanted jewellery collection which remains, to this day, so dear to the Italian jeweller. 

Il Giardino Marino di Bvlgari is a fresh take on these earlier botanical and zoological themes. Put simply, it is a wristwatch that achieves the remarkable feat of combining the art of miniature painting – a much valued technique that dates back to the golden age of the Renaissance artists – with the perfection of haute jewellery, which is the signature of Bvlgari’s master artisans, and the precision of Swiss fine watchmaking. 

In a similar way, Il Giardino Marino di Bvlgari dives into a maritime dream world in which the silent watery landscape finds its rhythm in the harmonious oscillations of a tourbillon movement whose technical sophistication is matched only by its pristine beauty. There will only be 50 of each version, rendering the watch a token of true exclusivity.

Supported by an unbelievably transparent sapphire bridge, the tourbillon of this exceptional timepiece is revealed through a round window, open like the porthole of a bathyscaph on a journey through an enchanted underwater world filled with vibrant colour. The power reserve of this BVL 263 calibre – made of platinum, with a 22K gold oscillating weight that ensures automatic winding – yields 64 hours of operating autonomy. Designed for elegant occasions, the watch is naturally at home in aquatic situations, since it is water-resistant to 30 metres.

Just as the pearl is preserved by its shell, the refined precious mechanism of Il Giardino Marino di Bvlgari is enhanced by a Côtes de Genève decoration and fine circular-graining. These subtle touches are housed within a 37mm diameter case made of 18K pink gold, of which the bezel is either adorned with the name ‘Bvlgari’, or set with 36 faceted diamonds totalling 2.88 carats. 

The true pleasure of the Il Giardino Marino di Bvlgari, however, lies not so much in the prospect of experiencing athletic, aquatic adventures, but rather in the aesthetic beauty of its enchanting dial. Each decorative element on the dial is a visual surprise. 

In order to emphasise the theme of maritime nature, Bvlgari’s artisans have chosen to work with authentic, natural materials – mother-of-pearl, coral, turquoise, and diamonds. Specifically, 29 brilliant-cut diamonds trace the heart of the starfish and punctuate the coral. Dark blue lacquer, evoking the pure depths of the ocean, provides a delicate background that’s matched by the transparency of beautiful sapphires. The overall effect is of a shoal of mischievous fish floating in crystal-clear waters, while sparkling starfish frolic amongst the foliage of precious coral.

To achieve this superb result Bvlgari’s master-craftsmen employed both ancient techniques associated with marquetry and the skilful expertise gleaned from generations of working with high jewellery. 

Creating a timepiece like this requires an unfettered abundance of time. Calmly, patiently and with great precision, the master-craftsmen give life to dials after a period of careful work. The gold dial plate is first fashioned in order to fit the coral and fish motifs inside the space available before it is coated on the base with an intense blue lacquer. The next step requires recreates the underwater life. Here, the craftsman hand polishes each piece in the chromatic composition to give a very soft “cushion” effect. Each element, be it coral, white or turquoise mother-of-pearl, requires great care and delicacy before it is finished and adjusted into place. The overall motif is then given the perfect finishing touch with brilliant-cut diamonds. 

The creation of each edition of Il Giardino Marino di Bvlgari is like the birth of a creative spring. The ensemble requires exceptional mastery of a wide range of skills, not least of which are a special knack and a keen eye that no machine could ever imitate, and which can only stem from a blend of intelligence and experience, knowledge and passion.