Bulgari recently unveiled Ref. 103534 (top left) and it’s a collaboration with Japanese architect Tadao Ando that has truly captivated us. The base of the watch is clearly the 40mm, three-hand automatic Octo Finissimo but Ando has changed the regular case and bracelet to a textured, sandblasted, matte black ceramic. Then, rather than going with a monotone aesthetic, he has given the watch a rich blue lacquer dial with an unusual spiral finish that’s meant to recall “the depths of the night sky.” Finally, to top it all off, he has added a tiny sliver of a moon, crafted in yellow gold, at the five o’clock position. Apparently, this waxing moon signifies Mikazuki, the Japanese symbol of rebirth and the passing nature of time.
“The existence of a black hole in deep space materialised in my mind when I began to ponder this. On the face of the watch, an endless spiral unravels from minutes to seconds, until it cannot be seen,” explains the 80-year-old Ando who, by steering clear from any clichéd reference to concrete, or even Japan for that matter, has created a wonderfully poetic 18,000 USD timepiece. “It is a ripple on a body of water, spreading through the fourth dimension. From expansion to compression, this design expresses the infinite, the eternal, and the timeless,” he concludes.