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At Bvlgari, a Melding of the Old and the New

By Kames Narayanan


The beginning of Bvlgari dates back to more than a century ago in 1884. Drawing inspiration from 2,700 years of a rich Roman past, the maison translates ancient Roman motifs into its bold designs that are made ultra-luxurious by the vibrantly coloured precious stones. Be it fine jewellery, watches or accessories, every creation by Bvlgari can be said to embody a tiny bit of Roman history.

Inherently, much of what Bvlgari has to offer evokes an old-world charm and the house in its entirety is pinned to its longstanding heritage. Yet, in bringing these exquisite designs to life and presenting it to its loyal clientele, the maison employs revolutionary concepts that deviate from tradition.

In 2015, Bvlgari debuted its smartwatch, the Diagono Magnesium in collaboration with MasterCard and global cybersecurity company WISeKey. Equipped with payment capabilities, the timepiece was dubbed as the first-ever “intelligent mechanical luxury watch”. And the union, an exemplary coming together of unparalleled craftsmanship alongside cutting edge technology in transform customer’s retail experience.

Later in the same year, Bvlgari introduced the Bvlgari Vault application that, like its name suggests, provides a secure space for users to save and store confidential information from password to card details. The application is also connected to a wider cloud storage where documents, videos and files of sorts can be stored privately; all information contained in isolation is only accessible through an array of unlocking options. 

“At Bvlgari, we strive to be on the edge of understanding and anticipating luxury experiences. The fourth industrial revolution will inevitably modify our relationship with luxury,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of the Bvlgari Group in an interview with Luxurylaunches.com. “This is why offering to our exigent customers an intelligent solution to protect their virtual patrimony, thanks to the leading technology of our partners from WISeKey, is a moment of pride and an enriching innovative experience for us.” 

In 2017, in continuing with its headline-grabbing debuts, Bvlgari inaugurated its online bespoke service for its revered Serpenti watches — a riff off of the haute couture idea of made-to-order designs. Customers are given the rare creative carte blanche from the comfort of their desktops to create a timepiece with their preferred strap, dial and bezel, complete with personalised engraving on the back of the case. The move, once again cementing Bvlgari’s place as a radical game changer in the luxury arena.

BvlgariThe interior of Bvlgari’s New Curiosity shop in Rome within which consumers can indulge in a cutting edge retail experience.
The interior of Bvlgari’s New Curiosity shop in Rome within which consumers can indulge in a cutting edge retail experience.

Stepping away from its virtual offerings, its physical retail spaces imbued with technology curate an unparalleled shopping experience for its consumers. Early last year, Bvlgari opened the doors to a new concept store in Rome, where Sotirio Bulgari opened his first store. Taking after its historical “Old Curiosity Shop” opened by Bulgari in 1905, the latest store has been dubbed the “New Curiousity Shop”. In keeping up with shifting patterns in the needs of discerning luxury consumers, physical retail at Bvlgari is designed a step above the archetypal services offered at a store. For instance, a central console stands disguised as a table, only to reveal itself as a portal to the digital archives of the brand giving customers an insight into the maison’s history and offering them the option to purchase unique pieces exclusive to the store. 

In the latest of its advancement in technology, Bvlgari introduced the Bvlgari Tovch in December last year to bags and wallets purchased at its local outlets. Upon purchase, a chip embedded into the item will allow customers access to a microsite when tapped onto by an NFC reader found in a phone or tablet. Working in similar manner to Bluetooth in transmitting information, Bvlgari’s consumers can enjoy an array of light-hearted content from frivolous photo-booth images to editorials and videos. 

Experiencing a Bvlgari creation today is as much of a physical experience as it is a virtual immersion. For a heritage jeweller whose identity is steeped in the ways of the old world, Bvlgari has moved its retail experience forth in a manner that transcends expectations.