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The History of Bulgari
Sotirio Bvlgari leaves Greece and goes to Naples where he opens a small shop with a Greek partner, Demetrios Kremos. The shop is robbed and they are forced to close it. They move to Rome.
Sotirio sets up his first own shop in Via Sistina. The business flourishes. During this period, he crafts silver accessories such as buckles, cast oval medallions and girdles modelled in the “Neo-Hellenic” style, drawing on the features of Epirot ornaments for traditional costumes, combining Greek, Byzantine and Islamic design elements. The pierced decorations represent mythological or allegorical figures as well as well as floral and foliate scroll motifs.
Sotirio manages to open another shop in Via dei Condotti, 28 and Italianises his surname. The shop sign reads: “S. Bulgari – Argenteria Artistica, Antiquités, Curiosités, Bijoux”. He trades a variety of goods, ranging from silver objects, antiques and bric-à-brac to jewels.
A new shop is opened in Via Condotti, 10 which is still today the point of reference of all the Bvlgari stores in the world. The original name chosen for the Condotti store is “Old Curiosity Shop”, to capitalize on the wealthy British and American tourists visiting Rome, while the stock is widened to include an increased selection of jewels and items, mainly influenced by Art Déco and French design.
The first existing examples of Bulgari watch designs date back to the 1920s. The design of early jewelled watches was in keeping with the current trends of the Art Deco style.
Sotirio dies leaving the business in the hands of his two sons, Giorgio and Costantino, who continue to develop the business.
The Condotti store is revamped and its sign is changed to BVLGARI, in block capitals, following the script of ancient Roman epigraphy.
Bvlgari launches jewelled wristwatches for women with the form of a snake, as a reinterpretation of a jewellery-making tradition dating back to Hellenistic and Roman times.
As the era of the Dolce Vita begins, Rome comes to be “the Hollywood on the Tiber” and movie stars and celebrities from the Italian and international jet set like Liz Taylor, Richard Burton, Audrey Hepburn and Tyrone Power become acquainted with Bvlgari. The brand enjoys increased international fame.
Employed by Bvlgari goldsmiths for decades, the Tubogas technique was named for its resemblance to a 1920s Italian car’s gas pipe.
Bvlgari begins to create opulent jewelry marked by a sense of volume and striking colour combinations. These two characteristics – still today among the brand’s hallmark – are obtained by using smooth contours and cabochon-cut stones in prominent positions with the different gemstones combined not so much for their intrinsic value but for their chromatic effect. In the 1960s Bvlgari also starts to set Greek and Roman ancient coins in jewellery as an overt reference to its Hellenic origins grafted in Rome.
The international recognition encourages the Company to begin its expansion abroad with the opening of additional stores in New York, Geneva, Monte Carlo and Paris. During the 1970s, the eclectic creativity of the maison in jewellery increased and was reflected in a great variety of motifs, ranging from Egyptian, Indian and Pop Art inspirations. In the same period, Bvlgari also introduces the key concept of “wearability” in jewellery, calling for pieces to be worn from morning until night, designed for a more dynamic woman. Yellow gold becomes the favourite metal for setting all jewels.
Release of the BVLGARI ROMA gold digital wristwatch with the launch of a limited series of 100 pieces, intended as Christmas gift to the Bulgari’s top clients.
Bvlgari launches its first watch for man produced on a large scale, the BVLGARI BVLGARI, followed each by year by other models. For the first time, a logo becomes the prominent decorative element on a high-end watch, further emphasised by the volumetric mass of the perfectly cylindrical case.
The BVLGARI BVLGARI watch leads to the development of a watch business unit and to the foundation of the company Bulgari Time in Switzerland. The first step toward a strong verticalisation in watchmaking to fully manage the creation and production of all Bvlgari watches.
Creation of Bvlgari Time S.A. in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. It oversees the creation and production of all Bvlgari watches.
The third generation of the Bulgari Family takes control and Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, sons of Giorgio, are appointed respectively President and Vice President of the Bulgari firm, while their nephew Francesco Trapani takes up the position of Chief Executive Officer. With the Parentesi collection, Bvlgari launches modular jewellery, where each single element - providing high quality of design and high quality of manufacture - was produced and assembled in series to offer jewels with a wide price range, from steel and gold rings to diamond encrusted parures.
The first Diagono watch is introduced, giving rise to the line of Bvlgari sport watches, incorporating the BVLGARI BVLGARI logo on the bezel.
Bvlgari experiments in jewellery and generates the pioneering use of unexpected materials mixed with gold and gemstones, such as steel, ceramic and silk.
Bvlgari starts to further diversify into perfumes with the launch of its first fragrance, Eau Parfumée, Cologne au Thé Vert.
Chandra, the line of jewels in gold and fine porcelain, is presented in Paris.
The first eyewear and the leather goods collections are introduced worldwide.
Aluminium, the innovative watch in aluminium and rubber, is launched
The B.zero1 ring makes its debut.
The verticalisation in watchmaking continues with the acquisition of the luxury brands Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta. In subsequent years, further acquisitions of firms specialised in the production of watch components consolidate Bvlgari’s evolution into a watch manufacturer. Based in the Swiss watchmaking region of Vallée de Joux in Le Sentier. The acquisition gives rise to a new company named Daniel Roth et Gérald Genta Haute Horlogerie S.A.
The Company signs a joint venture with Marriott International, named Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, for the opening of Bvlgari - branded hotels structures worldwide.
Bvlgari introduces its first Grandes Complications watch entirely manufactured in-house.
The first Bvlgari Hotel opens in Milan
A limited-edition BVLGARI-BVLGARI chronograph, called Carbon Gold, is launched. A mix of carbon fiber and steel forms the black case with gold highlighted subdials and push buttons.
The Bvlgari Group acquires a 50% stake of Cadrans Designs S.A., a Swiss company based in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The vertical integration process of the Bvlgari Group continues and strengthens with the acquisition of a 51% stake of the Swiss firm Prestige d’Or S.A., based in Saignelégier, specialising in the
production of steel and precious metals watch straps for high-end watches.
A Bvlgari resort opens in Bali.
Bvlgari acquires 100% of Finger S.A., a Swiss company specialized in the creation and production of sophisticated cases for complicated and high-end watches of the most prestigious international watchmaking brands. Bvlgari signs also an agreement with Leschot S.A. for the purchase of machinery and intellectual properties in order to support the future internal development of a new movement manufacturing complex.
As a further development of the Hotels & Resorts projects, Bvlgari opens in Tokyo Il Ristorante (in the Ginza Tower store) and Il Café and Il Cioccolato (in the Omotesando store).
The Group celebrates its 125th anniversary with the retrospective “Between Eternity and History: 1884-2009”, first shown in Rome and then replicated in Paris, Beijing and Shanghai.
The Manufacture of Le Sentier Daniel Roth & Gérald Genta are unified under the Bvlgari image. They merge with the image of Bvlgari where the Bvlgari brand is featured along with the Gérald Genta and Daniel Roth logos, while preserving the technical and aesthetic qualities of the two Swiss brands.Both the acquisitions of Cadrans Designs S.A. and Prestige D’Or S.A. are completed at 100%.
Bvlgari joins forces with the luxury conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) in order to reinforce long-term development.
A new Bvlgari Hotel opens in London.
The Octo watch is launched. The result of Italian design and Swiss expertise.
Bvlgari presents the new Serpenti watch collection, a contemporary reinterpretation of one of the brand's most famous designs.
Bvlgari celebrates its 130th year since its first shop was opened in Rome, 1884-2014.
Release of the new ladies’ watch LVCEA. Including the thinnest tourbillon movement in the world, 1.95 mm thick, the Octo
Finissimo Tourbillon in platinum becomes an important player in the field of watchmaking.
The newest version of DIVAS’ DREAM is introduced.
After the thinnest tourbillon in the world launched in 2014, Bvlgari introduces at Baselworld 2016 the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, the thinnest minute repeater.
This year also marks the year of Serpenti. The new Serpenti Incantati line merges watchmaking and high jewellery.
Bvlgari presents its third world record, the Octo Finissimo Automatic, the slimmest ultra-thin self-winding watch on the market featuring a total thickness of just 5.15 mm and its self-winding movement of 2.23 mm.
At 3.95mm thick, Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic results in a new watch industry record, for the fourth time within this collection.
The new Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic earns a fifth world record and the Serpenti Seduttori “born to be gold” collection is unveiled at Baselworld 2019.
Bvlgari designs, develops and produces in-house all the essentials components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembling and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet.
(History provided by Bulgari)
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