It’s probably safe to say that Allentown, Pennsylvania, isn’t the first (or second, or third) place that comes to mind when you think of the renowned Italian luxury brand Bulgari. But yet that’s where we found ourselves earlier this week to take a look at chairman Nicola Bulgari’s massive collection of vintage American automobiles, as well as many of the brand’s latest timepieces â including the new ultra thin Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater.
Why the fascination with American cars? As a young boy growing up in post-War Rome, Nicola Bulgari was enamored with American cinema. The cars he saw in those films â big, âworking-classâ Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs, and Hudsons â left an indelible mark, and would lead to both a lifetime passion, and eventually, to a mechanic in Allentown named Keith Flickinger, who oversees what today is known as the NB Center for American Automotive Heritage.
How impressive is the collection? Well, consider that when you walk around the compound, you’ll see the 1940 Buick Super Estate Wagon “Woody” that Bette Davis drove in Now, Voyager, the 1929 GMC yellow cab from It’s a Wonderful Life, and the first Camaro ever built, no. 00001, in 1967.
Of course, there were watches on hand as well, highlighted by the new Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater â currently the world’s thinnest minute repeater at 6.85 mm thick, as Jack detailed here. Also spotted, the Octo Ultranero Chrono, the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, the Octo Velocissimo, and the Serpenti Tubogas, to name just a few.
Fittingly, somehow, the event included a screening (with a wink) of that modern American tour de force Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby on the on-site, 140 x 78 ft. drive-in movie screen that Mr. Bulgari recently renovated.
It was pure Americana, just as Nicola Bulgari likes it.
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Photos: Will Holloway