Bulgari: Beyond Time is guaranteed to look nice on the coffee table – the basic standard of any decorative book of its type – but it goes well beyond that. In addition to exploring the brand’s watchmaking heritage, which is more considerable than you might think, given that it is often overshadowed by the brand’s high-profile jewelry. The book is also something of a treatise on the cultural world at large at this moment in time.
Bulgari: Beyond Time delivers handsomely on the promise of stunning graphics, but serves it up with intriguing subject matter. It covers more than a century of watch design, including some of the background stories behind its signature collections: Serpenti, Octo, Bulgari Bulgari, High Jewelry and Grande Complications. But as the title suggests, it goes beyond time to culture in general. The book includes interviews with industry experts outside Bulgari and the industry, whose commentaries relate to culture, art and general excellence. They include Christie’s jewelry auctioneer Rahul Kadakia discusses gems; performance-art superstar Marina Abramović speaks about serpents; Italian actor, screenwriter and director Alessandro Gassmann reflects on Rome; nine-time Olympic gold-medalist track-and-field athlete Carl Lewis explains the art of breaking records; and award-winning conductor Lorenzo Viotti charts the mental soundtrack to complex musical moments.
These are followed by a conversation between Bulgari’s top management team: CEO Jean-Christophe Babin; designer Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani; and watch director Antoine Pin. It is moderated by futurist Adam Steel. They discuss the concept of “a future forging new emotional connections between centuries of human endeavor and watchmaking tradition with the possibilities of tomorrow, whether here—or beyond Earth itself.” There are four authors: John Goldberger (whose real name is Auro Montanari), a noted collector who has authored several books about watches; Fabienne Reybaud, a former watch and jewelry editor at Le Figaro, and now an independent journalist who has written several books; Robin Swithinbank, a journalist, broadcaster and consultant working across the luxury industry, but with a focus on watches; and Adam Steel, a trend forecaster and “strategic foresight editor” at Future Laboratory. Bulgari: Beyond Time is published by Assouline, and will be in book stores September 23.