Bulgari Serpenti Tubogas – an eternal icon

31 October 2016
bulgari serpenti tubogas

bulgari serpenti tubogas

“In the world of jewellery, the snake is the fashionable pattern…we never get bored of it!” These words come from the eccentric Diana Vreeland, editor in chief of Vogue US, and were written more than 40 years ago. Knowing that the reptile pattern has often been associated to mistakes or bad taste in the fashion world, it’s hard to believe that it could really be eternal in the world of jewellery. Is this a question of generational taste or is the Bulgari Serpenti Tubogas actually still a fashionable piece in 2016 ?

The trend, this autumn, is back to the seventies, which is precisely when the Roman jeweller had reached the peak of his popularity. A passion that started with the film “Cleopatra” (1963) where Elizabeth Taylor wore a golden Serpenti watch that she had bought during the shooting of the film in Rome. Already noticed by the general public in cinemas, it was through the magazine Vogue that the famous jewellery watch really acquired its “must-have” status, thanks to an advertising campaign putting forward several golden and coloured enamel models set with precious stones. Nearly thirty years after its initial launch in the 40s, the “Tubogas” (the other name for the Serpenti) had finally reached international fame. The inspiration for this intriguing name comes from the distinctive shape of the gas pipes used in the 1920s and onwards. The Bulgari Tubogas is a flexible band produced without soldering through a complex process involving the wrapping of long gold strips around a copper or wood core. The core is then removed or dissolved in acid. Over the years, Bulgari became the master of this technique and the Tubogas name and motif became one of the brands’ trademark (watches, jewellery, accessories). The snake pattern also became a Bulgari icon and the incredible creativity of its designers has enabled since then numerous reinterpretations of the famous jewellery watch.

Holding the Tubogas watch in my hands, I found myself halfway between antiquity and the modern world, between tradition and transgression. At first sight, a typical art deco style that you get to like very quickly. It is one of these new pieces, which nevertheless gives the feeling that it could already have a long life behind it. It could perfectly have belonged to my grandmother. It could also perfectly be the latest fashion accessory such as a Fendi peekaboo with a flowery strap.

On a snake-shaped two-coloured 18 kt pink gold and steel strap sits a delicate diamond-set case that houses an elegant burgundy dial. Combining indexes and fine roman numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock, one truly enjoys its slightly “retro” aspect. Not only is the bracelet a crazily elegant ornament for the wrist, it is above all exceptionally comfortable to wear. One could be afraid to loose it, but the snake holds on tight. I initially thought such a piece would really only be suitable for the evening …but not at all! It proved to be a perfect accessory for my daily outfits, bringing a welcome touch of sophistication and style, in line with the current trend.

Inside the watch, a Bulgari quartz movement guaranties absolute punctuality, which is actually more or less its only virtue. As woman as we might be, we would still appreciate just a couple more complications inside our watch. But looking at the bright side of things, it happens quite frequently that I leave home in a rush (I never said late !) when invited out in the evening, hence forgetting to wind my watch. In this case, nothing to worry about, it will always be on time.

Since nearly 80 years, the snake coils delightfully around the wrists of the Bulgari women. In many mythologies, snakes were associated with wisdom, strength and immortality. The combination of these elements can be found in the feeling of sensuality procured by the Tubogas. Horological icon through its instantly recognizable looks, she definitely also has the status of a fashion icon. Timeless and completely fashionable.



RETAIL PRICE: 11.900 EUR ; 11.500.00 CHF 

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