Bulgari has, in recent years, developed a reputation as a creator of chiming watches, and the gongs the brand developed for the Commedia del’Arte timepiece are notable in that they are longer than the standard type, with the steel wires that conduct the sound wrapped twice around the inside of the case rather than only once. The result, Bulgari says, is a deeper sound and more amplified resonance. Also aiding in the auditory optimization is the watch’s case, which is constructed of 18k white gold and an alloy called Magsonic, developed to amplify the resonance of the repeater’s chimes.
The dial, created for Bulgari by Atelier Vaucher in Geneva, is composed of 18k gold disks and combines artisanal techniques such as miniature painting, engraving, and chasing. Each of the three dials has four levels, one each for the central character, side characters, foreground and background decorative elements. The motion of the automaton figures is a highly technical process, using tiny hidden joints and pivots; more than 15 separate special engraving tools are required to create and animate the figures. The miniaturist painter takes three to five weeks to complete each dial, which is then placed in an oven at a set temperature for an hour between 30 and 50 times to achieve the final result. Detailed specs on the watch are below the photos.
Movement: Bulgari Caliber BVL 618, manual-wind; frequency = 18,000 vph; diameter = 36 mm; thickness = 11 mm; 91 jewels; hand-finished; black bridges and circular-grained baseplate; polished hammer and index assembly; 48-hour power reserve
Functions: Jumping hour with retrograde minutes between 7 and 11 0’clock; minute repeater with cathedral gongs and five automaton figures that spring into motion when the watch strikes
Case and strap: 18k white gold and Magsonic with sapphire crystal front and back; diameter = 54 mm; thickness = 16.36 mm; minute repeater slide at 10 o’clock; numbered 18k white-gold crown; water-resistant to 30 meters; on alligator leather strap with white gold triple folding clasp
Dial and hands: 18k white gold, engraved, chased and entirely hand-painted multi-level dial with scene depicting a classical 16th-century Italian palazzo