All watchmaking’s Grands Maisons have one, or more if they’re lucky, defining designs, these are the watches that you recognise before you see the brand, that are strong enough to shape a brand’s future. Think Panerai’s Luminor, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso or TAG Heuer’s Monaco: all generate instant recognition and demand decades on from their debut. It’s very rare, however, to see one emerge in real time, but that’s been happening at Bulgari twice over as the latest Octo Finissimo and Serpenti models shown at Baselworld reveal.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT

Fabrizio Bounamassa, head of design for Bulgari’s watch division won’t say it out loud, but five years on from the first Finissimo it’s clear that the design has the longevity to do the same for Bulgari as the Royal Oak did for Audemars Piguet. It’s also a masterclass in how to finesse the surface detail. Aside from breaking another record for slimness, the Chronograph GMT is one of the most usable time zone watches around, but most impressive is the way the dial remains uncluttered despite the extra functions.

Bulgari Serpenti Seduttori rose gold

The Serpenti descends from the already iconic Tubogas of the 1940’s but has its own distinct character. The 2019 Seduttori version shows just how versatile the design is. §