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Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani Director of the Bulgari Watches Design Center Dives Into His Creative Process

Naples-born director of the Bulgari Watches Design Center, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, joined the maison in 2001 after a short episode at Fiat in Turin, and after graduating from the Institute for Industrial Arts of Rome. With over 23 years in the realm of Bulgari, the mastermind behind many outstanding pieces, and the exceptionally thin watch Octo Finissimo, Buonamassa Stigliani has always pushed the boundaries in watchmaking, and is constantly reinterpreting Bulgari’s rich stylistic and cultural heritage in a contemporary language in tune with the brand’s DNA.

Photo: Bulgari

How has your background in mechanics influenced the watchmaking industry?

These two worlds are similar on many levels, yet so different. But I definitely brought my love for mechanics and beauty into watchmaking. In my opinion, you find the same Italian approach to both industries.

Photo: Bulgari

Can you tell us how the creative process starts?

With an image, with a feeling, and with a smell. I never really know – I am always inspired by many things, so it always depends. That’s how I start, and then I begin drawing and sketching with ballpoint pens, fountain pens or on the iPad. Step by step, I start to imagine the product in my head, then I imagine the customer who wants to use and wear it. I see if it’s coherent with the brand and its image, and if through this product we can add value to the brand, compared to what we already have. It’s hard to explain because it’s one of the most mysterious things in the world. You need something, and that’s why you try to find the idea.

Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani

Photo: Bulgari

What projects have you’ve worked on that hold a special place in your heart, and which milestones were your absolute highlights?

The product that has a special place in my heart is the first Bulgari product when I arrived at the company. The Serpenti Tubogas and Octo Finissimo; these two products totally changed the brand. It’s the opportunity to give the brand an identity and change the perception of the brand for watch collectors.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced when developing a Bulgari watch?

There are a lot of challenges. We’re talking about techniques, aesthetics, typologies. Everything is different. High-end watches have a challenge in terms of stones and flexibility. The Octo Finissimo’s challenge is thickness. The challenge for complication watches is to combine the aesthetics and techniques at the same time. Every project is different.

Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani

Photo: Bulgari

Do you follow any particular trends?

No! Because by the time it becomes a trend, it’s no longer a trend.

What is your definition of time within the world of watchmaking?

It’s the one thing you can’t buy. Maybe that’s why we started making watches. We want to control time, considering that’s the one thing money can’t buy.

How are your Italian roots reflected in the creative process?

In every possible sense; aesthetics, proportion, color sense, creative typology, and design.

Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani

Photo: Bulgari

What do you believe makes an icon?

I’d like to understand and know, but I don’t. The recipe is not given. It’s a lot of things together that make the product an icon or not.

What’s the highlight of this year’s Watches & Wonders edition?

The Octo Finissimo Ultra Cosc, and the first collaboration with Tadao Ando for our Serpenti line

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