Is Bulgari shedding its highly exclusive, ritzy image and morphing into a younger, trendier version of itself for the Insta generation?
The revered Italian jeweler made famous in part by Elizabeth Taylor’s sumptuous jewels has signed up model Bella Hadid, 20, as the face of its newest fragrance and ambassador of its Fall-Winter 2017-18 campaign.
The brand also just rolled out Serpenti Skin Twist Your Time, a “younger, more affordable” iteration of its famous Serpenti watch from the 1940s that’s constantly interpreted in one-off, high-jewelry pieces.
With interchangeable leather straps, it’s a timepiece designed for a generation that’s never content with just one look, be it with apparel or accessories. After all, what’s an OOTD good for if you’re wearing the same thing over and over?
Like the seductive, slinky reptile after which it was designed, the new Serpenti molts its skin and transforms into a different look with a simple change of its double-twist strap; like other Serpenti watches, it coils at least twice around the wrist.
Each watch comes with two delicate straps: in Karung, from the skin of a nonvenomous water snake; and in calfskin. Other straps can be purchased separately, with five shades of Karung and six shades of calfskin. (Bulgari has created an app where you can customize your own Serpenti Skin watch—with 300 possible variations—including the engraving on the caseback.)
The 27-mm curved case is shaped like the head of a serpent, and comes in steel or pink gold, some with diamonds. The dial choices are black, red, green or white, in either mother of pearl, lacquered or lacquered with guilloché sunburst treatment. The crowns are set with cabochon-cut pink rubellite, and is driven by a quartz Calibre B033 movement.
The base price of a Serpenti Skin watch, in steel, is P204,000.
The move to entice the millennial market actually started a few years ago, says Bulgari country manager Mario Katigbak, with Bulgari’s relatively affordable collection of B.zero1 and Bulgari-Bulgari rings, pendants and bracelets.
“It’s like a twin-prong approach—maintain the mid- to high-market with a substantial collection, and yet come up with very young-looking collections to recruit the younger market, and start them to collect Bulgari,” he said.
In the Philippines, where traditionally Katigbak’s clients are mostly the older, über-wealthy set, the offering has been adjusted such that the brand has “both for the young and the serious jewelry and watch clients.”
“In every collection, there is always a selection of affordable and young designs and, of course, the more mid to high collections that are designed with diamonds and other precious colored stones,” he says. “Then there is also the collection for more discerning clientele—the high-jewelry collection, which is usually one-of-a-kind with substantial precious stones. In short, Bulgari is for all!”
From interactions with young clients, Katigbak said he finds them “most especially attracted to Bulgari once they know the technical details that go into each of the products offered,” he said. These include “the hand-coiled process of the Serpenti Tubogas bracelet, the coil of the B.zero1 ring, and all the other processes like the lost-wax technique so that each element sits properly on the neck.”
With many of the luxury brands equally fervent in their efforts to recruit the millennial market, Katigbak sees this to be an astute strategy. “I believe this is the way to go as the millennials today will be the technocrats of tomorrow.”
Bulgari is located at Greenbelt 4 (call 7285062), Resorts World Manila (call 2391434), Rustan’s Shangri-La (call 6372173) and Solaire Resorts and Casino ( call 8007718).