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History

Today integrated into the LVMH Group as an international player in the luxury jewellery, watchmaking, perfume, accessories and hotel segments, Bulgari was established in Italy when Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari opened his first shop in Via Sistina in Rome in 1884.

In the first few decades of the 20th century, the Bulgari brothers were to pursue their passion for semiprecious stones and jewellery. At the end of the Second World War, Bulgari adopted a style inspired by Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance and the 19thcentury Roman school. Becoming the preferred brand of the international high-society set during the Dolce Vita years and a firm favourite of Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn in particular, it embarked on its international expansion in the 1970s.

At the same time, the company's expansion saw its first diversification into watchmaking, marked by the launch of the Bulgari-Bulgari model in 1977. In 1980, the company set up Bulgari Time in the centre of the birthplace of watchmaking in Switzerland. The brand progressively made its mark throughout the value creation chain with the acquisition, in 2000, of the Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta brands in addition to their manufacturing facility, subsequently taking over several suppliers of key components covering the entire watchmaking process. This merger enabled Bulgari to introduce its first mechanical movement designed, manufactured and assembled in-house in 2010.



Key dates

Bulgari is founded by Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari (1857-1932), who opens his first shop in Rome in 1884.

The company's flagship boutique opens at 10 Via Condotti, Rome. Today this still represents Bulgari's emblematic store. 

Although Bulgari has probably been selling watches since its establishment in 1884, the first models found date back to the 1920s, and are characterised by the use of semiprecious stones.

Inspired by Roman antiquity, the slithering snake design marks the rise in popularity of Bulgari Serpenti wristwatches whose face lies hidden in the head of a snake.

Used by Bulgari jewellers for decades, the delicate Tubogas technique takes its name from its resemblance to the gas pipe on an Italian car in the 1920s.

Bulgari designs start to move out of the shadow of Paris influences as its own unique style develops: the asymmetrical flower design gives way to structured, symmetrical, compact shapes. The use of colour is another distinctive feature of Bulgari style: the company adopts totally new combinations, using gems more for their colour effect than their intrinsic worth.

The first BVLGARI ROMA  watches, produced as a limited edition of 100 pieces and intended to be given to the company's most loyal customers, are a resounding success.

The emblematic BVLGARI BVLGARI collection is born. It is characterised by the double engraving reminiscent of inscriptions on ancient Roman coins. This marks Bulgari's solid entry into the watchmaking market.

Bulgari incorporates the BVLGARI BVLGARI logo in the sporty, functional lines of Diagono watches.

Launch of the Aluminium watch combining rubber with this light, yet hard-wearing metal.  A first in the luxury domain, the Diagono Aluminium becomes a true fashion phenomenon.

Bulgari watchmakers develop the first grand complication watch featuring a tourbillon movement in-house.

Bulgari covers the entire watchmaking production chain: movements, cases and faces. The adoption of a vertical approach now allows the company control over the entire manufacturing process.

Bulgari launches the Octo watch. The association of the circle and square gives rise to the watch's octagonal shape, a design combining style and functionality.

Bulgari introduces the LVCEA featuring a watch bracelet inspired by snake scales whose sparkling links slot into one another, forming structural geometry in polished metal.

 

Launch of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon in platinum integrating the thinnest tourbillon movement in the world, at just 1.95mm thick.

The new DIVAS’ DREAM is launched: an elegant, glamorous line.

Following the thinnest tourbillon in the world, Bulgari launches the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater watch, the thinnest in its class.

Serpenti expands its range with Incantati, combining the arts of watchmaking and jewellery.

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