Bulgari’s Chief Designer Balances The Yin and Yang of Watchmaking

The Italian luxury house’s product creation executive director Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani takes equal inspiration from the natural and technical worlds.
by Lynette Koh


Last July, Bulgari presented a stunning collection of high-jewellery timepieces with gem-set flora and fauna inspired by Mediterranean nature. Don’t be surprised if the brand’s future collections take the shape of blooms found on our very shores.

During LVMH Watch Week, we spotted Bulgari product creation executive director Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani walking off his jet lag. Strolling the verdant grounds of the Capella hotel, he would stop to take photos of plants that had caught his eye.

During our interview later in the day, the Naples-born designer showed us his photographs of wispy spider lilies and vibrant red Heliconias. He marvelled, “The nature here is stunning. It’s like being in the middle of a jungle. These are totally different flowers and trees from Europe.”


Bulgari product creation executive director, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. (Photo: Bulgari)

Nature has long inspired the designs of the Rome-headquartered luxury brand, whose watches are made at the company’s own manufacture in Switzerland. A highlight of Bulgari’s LVMH Watch Week’s launches was the Serpenti Tubogas Infinity. It is the latest addition to the snake-inspired Serpenti Tubogas range, which combines the oval Serpenti watch case with the wrap-around Tubogas bracelet.

One of horology’s best-known creative directors today, he is careful about blurring the boundaries between gendered offerings.

The bracelet of the Serpenti Tubogas Infinity is made using a new method that allows the Tubogas bracelet to be set with diamonds for the first time. While regular Tubogas bracelets are created by wrapping long strips of metal around a spring, the new bracelet is made using individual rings that are polished, gem-set and assembled on a flexible titanium blade. These rings provide a thicker base into which gemstones can be set.

Buonamassa Stigliani said, “We completely changed the technique. This is important because now, we have the opportunity to play with the Tubogas as a canvas. It’s a new chapter.” Just do not expect him to create these sinuous jewellery watches for men anytime soon. One of horology’s best-known creative directors today, largely thanks to his work on Bulgari’s highly lauded, ultra-thin Octo Finissimo men’s watches, Buonamassa Stigliani is careful about blurring the boundaries between gendered offerings.

Pointing out that the brand does have unisex designs such as the round, double-logo Bulgari Bulgari watches, he noted, “We have received many requests for the Octo for ladies and we have started to talk about the Serpenti for men, but I don’t think we’re ready to mix these collections for ladies and men. Today, with the Octo Finissimo, we have become more and more associated with Swiss watchmaking know-how. The collectors who appreciate the Octo Finissimo are obsessed with technical details and heritage. So, for example, if we made the Serpenti for men, we would have to make it in a very specific way.”

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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