This year innovative Italian automaker Maserati celebrates 100 years and coincidentally, fellow Italian Bulgari are commemorating 130 years of advanced watchmaking. The iconic brands’ simultaneous anniversaries have led to the launch a fancy collaboration: Bulgari created a limited edition of their architecturally driven Octo timepiece specially for Maserati.
The watch maintains the original (and recognizable) octagon shape, but several new details have been added for the collaboration. One terminal of the chronograph hand is shaped like Maserati’s trident logo, while the dial is now in the automaker’s iconic blue—which is also used for the semi-transparent case-back and the alligator leather strap.
Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari says of the two brands teaming up, “The main reason why you buy them is the craftsmanship, the beauty, the sophistication.” As such, the collaboration made perfect sense on both sides. “Bulgari and Maserati are two of the most emblematic icons of Italian luxury bound by two very similar drivers,” Babin tells CH. “On one hand: design. It’s a very Italian element because Italy is a reference country when it comes to design. At the same time, Italy has demonstrated to be really advanced technologically. We see it in the industry, and of course in Maserati cars, which are very sophisticated not only for their beauty, but also for the technology inside.”
While the Italian influence is undoubtedly strong, Babin explains why Swiss manufacturing is also intrinsically important to Bulgari. “We are an Italian brand—born in Rome—even though we manufacture our timepieces in Switzerland. Probably we are one of the most integrated watch brands when it comes to creating a masterpiece. We have workshops internally manufacturing the cases, and the Octo shows our extensive know-how because to manufacture an Octo is extremely difficult. Bulgari watches bring to Swiss watchmaking a total breakthrough in terms of designs, but at the same time, high technological content, because when you are able to develop and manufacture Finissimo Tourbillon, you are really at the forefront of the best of the best manufacturers.” Interestingly, Finissimo Tourbillon is at the heart of the Octo’s movement and happens to be the thinnest tourbillon ever created.
Babin also believes that Bulgari and Maserati are both frontrunners in their respective fields—pioneering paths and breaking new ground for others. “Maserati has been the first brand to create luxury GT cars and racing cars in Italy, well before other famous Italian names. [Bulgari] pioneered our sector in Italy—and later also watches,” he says.
What speaks to your heart, not only to your mind, is the ultimate of pleasures.
History and branding aside, the goal was to create a beautifully crafted, high-quality timepiece that channels Italian refinement. The concept of luxury was always at the front of the designers’ minds. “We agreed that it should be understated. This watch is not an ultimate sports watch, but it’s a very elegant and noble watch with sporty dimensions. So it’s very much Maserati; it’s “grand tourisme” which is really enjoying potentially high performance—when most of the time you don’t need it. It’s an elegant kind of luxury—a luxury that you enjoy for yourself, which doesn’t necessarily show off. Luxury is the pleasure to possess exclusive, beautiful, very well-crafted objects—this can be paintings, exceptional cars, remarkable watches, great jewels, much beyond the function. What speaks to your heart, not only to your mind, is the ultimate of pleasures.”
The Bulgari Octo Maserati Chronograph is available for purchase in Bulgari stores.
Lead and final images by Paolo Ferrarini, others courtesy of Bulgari