May 27, 2022
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Bulgari’s Serpenti totem has assumed many kinds within the 74 years since its debut in postwar Italy. The jeweler’s earliest snake-inspired items tended towards abstraction, referencing ophidian sinuousness by means of a corrugated gold bracelet — based mostly on the articulated flex of gasoline piping — that slithered up the wrist. More latest designs, corresponding to gem-wreathed watch faces formed like a venomous snake’s triangular head, have mimicked the creature’s slinky kind extra straight. However it’s the Italian home’s daring creations from the Nineteen Fifties and ’60s, these with essentially the most recognizably reptilian options, which have influenced its latest assortment of girls’s timepieces.

Essentially the most well-known instance from this period turned a worldwide phenomenon in 1962 at Cinecittà, the film studio in Rome, through the filming of the American director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s epic “Cleopatra.” Its star, Elizabeth Taylor, was captured on set carrying her diamond-headed Serpenti bracelet watch, and the resultant, extensively circulated picture helped flip the Roman retailer into a world 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 lots of the aesthetic signatures of these glittering ’60s designs: pear-cut treasured gems for eyes; hand-etched exhausting stones corresponding 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 primary 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.

“In the present day we’ve the chance to make a good looking Serpenti with the appropriate proportions as a result of we’ve completely different expertise and supplies,” says Bulgari’s government director of product creation for watches, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. “However we’ll by no means be capable to reinvent a bit extra lovely than the unique.” As an alternative, the home will without end circle again to its most seductive creation, time after time, like a snake consuming its tail.

Photograph assistant: Antoine Siboun

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