Few watch brands could pull off decorating a dial with a peacock using actual peacock feathers, mother-of-pearl or hardstone marquetry and diamonds, not just because it takes a certain level of technical expertise but because it takes a certain swagger. No matter how technical a brand’s movements are, the art of creating ornamentation to this high standard of craftsmanship just has to be in your DNA. Three new pieces in the Bulgari Divas’ Dream Peacock Marquetry collection show us how it’s done.
The Peacock collection, born in 2017, joins the Serpenti in Bulgari’s stable of go-to animal motifs. Instead of coiling, it unfurls its feathers in various stylized displays of ostentation – symbolizing wealth, protection and wisdom. Bulgari’s stylistic take on the motif is reminiscent of the fan-shaped mosaic designs in the Baths of Caracalla, a major inspiration for Bulgari’s Divas’ Dream collection. There are three pieces in this launch.
1. Divas’ Dream Peacock Feather Marquetry
The dial is set with 12 spectacularly hued natural peacock feathers, meticulously selected for their colors and textures. They are inlaid using a technique originating in antiquity and rediscovered by Bulgari in the 1970s. It requires a magnifying glass, tweezers, knife and scissors – along with a steady hand and a lot of experience, not to mention time. The process takes several days, during which each feather is passed through an antique brass steam machine to reveal its natural luster. It is then cut, assembled, glued and cut to fit into a mosaic-like composition.
2.Divas’ Dream Peacock Mother-of-Pearl Marquetry
This one portrays the peacock in silhouette using mother-of-pearl sections inlaid between gold borders. The upper part of the dial is composed of white mother-of-pearl engraved with rays, along with diamond hour markers. The mother-of-pearl elements that make up the tail are painted various shades of blue on the reverse sides, and then intricately cut and set into recesses carved directly into the dial.
3. Divas’ Dream Peacock Precious Marquetry Jumping Hours and Retrograde Minute
The peacock’s spectacular tail is composed of fan-shaped sections of snow-set diamonds, along with carved pieces of aventurine and malachite. Creating it took a year of development, including the production of numerous iterations. It contains the caliber BVL 262 movement, jumping hours in the aperture at twelve o’clock and retrograde minutes on the upper dial. A tsavorite cabochon is set into the crown, and the peacock’s eye is emerald. Drawing inspiration from the cabochon cut, a Bulgari hallmark since the 1950s, a sapphire dome floats above the dial of this piece, as though under a curio cabinet.