It is no secret that I love Bulgari.Â I have written articles about the SerpentiÂ and the Tubogas, and most recently sourced a vintage enamel Serpenti for the HODINKEE Ladies’ Collection at Material Good. So, it should come as no surprise to see this beaut come across your screen. What you see here is the latest addition to the Serpenti Collection: the Serpenti Seduttori High Jewelry bangle watch. And this little snake has a 16 carat sapphire on top of its head, because of course it does.
So what is special and/or new about this Serpenti? Well, it’s the very first rigid-style bangle (read: singular fixed bracelet, not flexible wrap) that Bulgari has produced since the first Serpenti watch made its debut on Elizabeth Taylor’s wrist in 1962. The Tubogas-style watch was first recorded in the late 1940s, but that’s a different beast entirely. Bulgari is one of the manufactures referencing its vintage archives and getting it right these days. For example, the also newly released Incantati was inspired by a vintage brooch found by Bulgari in its own archives. The Seduttori is not only the Roman house’s first fixed-bangle Serpenti, but also one of the few watches that it produces that showcases its incredible use of cabochon stones.
One of the most impressive things about Bulgari is its jewelry. Now, I know that HODINKEE is all about watches, but in order to understand this timepiece you need to understand that Bulgari makes some of the most beautiful and timeless pieces of jewelry in the modern-era. In my humble opinion, it beats out Harry Winston, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co., but that’s just me.Â
There is something so warm, earthy, and fundamentally beautiful about Bulgari jewelry, and a lot of that comes down to its stone choices and settings. After meeting with Lucia Silvestri, Bulgari’s Executive Director of Jewelry Design and Gem Buying, I learned that each piece produced by Bulgari is built around the stones. Silvestri sources stones from all around the world and builds necklaces, rings, and bracelets based on the gems that she sources. I imagine the same goes for a watch like the Seduttori.
The Seduttori is available in two versions, one in 18k rose gold set with diamonds, emeralds, and rubies and another in 18k white gold with diamonds, rubies, and one hell of a sapphire. The one you see here is the latter. The case measures 36mm top to bottom and the bracelet wraps around the wrist with a hinged tail section. The bracelet itself is set with 197 brilliant and baguette-cut white diamonds in an alternating Art Deco pattern. The Serpenti head is set with two pear-shaped rubies for eyes, and the hinged head is set with a 16-carat deep blue cabochon sapphire (likely from Sri Lanka). Yeah, you read that correctly, 16 carats.Â
The movement is quartz (just âquartz,â according to Bulgari.com) which isn’t ideal (at least, not if you want watchmaking at the same level as jewelry making) especially since back in the 1960s and 1970s Bulgari was well-known for partnering with the likes of Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Jaeger-LeCoultre to get extremely small manually-wound movements for its Serpenti creations. But, let’s get real â people aren’t buying this watch for the time. If a quartz movement turns you off, you probably aren’t the target audience for this piece in the first place.
And what is it like to wear this watch? Well, it’s pretty spectacular, and comfortable to boot (not to mention rather understated compared to some of the other pieces I have tried). For a high jewelry watch, it’s shockingly unpretentious and wearable. If I had a cool $349,000 laying around (if!) I would certainly consider this watch.Â
For more information on the Serpenti Seduttori you can visit Bulgari online.Â