Bulgari’s Serpenti totem has assumed many types within the 74 years since its debut in postwar Italy. The jeweler’s earliest snake-inspired items tended towards abstraction, referencing ophidian sinuousness by the use of a corrugated gold bracelet — based mostly on the articulated flex of fuel piping — that slithered up the wrist. More moderen designs, equivalent to gem-wreathed watch faces formed like a venomous snake’s triangular head, have mimicked the creature’s slinky type extra immediately. However it’s the Italian home’s daring creations from the Fifties and ’60s, these with probably the most recognizably reptilian options, which have influenced its latest assortment of ladies’s timepieces.
Essentially the most well-known instance from this period grew to become a worldwide phenomenon in 1962 at Cinecittà, the film studio in Rome, throughout the filming of the American director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s epic “Cleopatra.” Its star, Elizabeth Taylor, was captured on set sporting her diamond-headed Serpenti bracelet watch, and the resultant, extensively circulated picture helped flip the Roman retailer into a global model — and the Serpenti right into a metonym for no-holds-barred Italian glamour.
The brand new limited-edition Serpenti Misteriosi Excessive Jewellery assortment retains most of the aesthetic signatures of these glittering ’60s designs: pear-cut valuable gems for eyes; hand-etched exhausting stones equivalent to turquoise for inlaid scales; a pavé-diamond watch case and dial nestled beneath a hinged jaw, a flicker of a forked tongue testing the air. The principle evolutions are technological: An ultrathin, sunflower-seed-size mechanical watch motion permits for a lighter, slimmer physique, whereas the case itself will be faraway from the snake’s mouth, remodeling the bracelet into a bit of stand-alone jewellery.
“Right this moment we have now the chance to make a phenomenal Serpenti with the best proportions as a result of we have now completely different know-how and supplies,” says Bulgari’s govt director of product creation for watches, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. “However we are going to by no means have the ability to reinvent a bit extra lovely than the unique.” As an alternative, the home will perpetually circle again to its most seductive creation, time after time, like a snake consuming its tail.
Photograph assistant: Antoine Siboun