Inside Bvlgari – a detailed view behind the five major production sites in Switzerland. Part One with 170 pictures.

Inside Bvlgari -

By ongoing vertical integration Bvlgari today is able to manufacture its own movements, metal cases and bracelets and high-end dials. Join me on an inside-tour …

Spread between the various production sites, the people who make the Manufacture Bvlgari tick represent dozens of highly specialized skills and professions, daily combining several hundred hours of work within a perfectly orchestrated ballet-like performance. Vertical integration has enabled Bvlgari to progressively acquire all the skills required to make a complete watch by setting up a production division handling everything from the first sketches from the design office – forming the basis for the development conducted by the Technical Department – and right the way through to the absolute final checks.

Bvlgari world is spread over several manufacturing sites in the Swiss Jura: Le Sentier for the Grande Complication and ultra-thin Finissimo movements; La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Sentier for the production and assembly of the Solotempo calibre; Saignelégier for gold and steel cases and bracelets; while the high-end dials are manufactured in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Assembly and the final controls on the watch take place In Neuchâtel, Bvlgari´s HQ in Switzerland and nerve centre of operations.

 

The work force consists of 385 employees

Bvlgari Horlogerie : 385 employees in total

Bvlgari Manufacture de Cadrans (dials): 40 employees

Bvlgari Manufacture de Boîtes et Bracelets (cases and bracelets): 90 employees

Bvlgari Manufacture de Mouvements (movements): 90 employees

Bvlgari HQ (assembly, quality control, after-sales service, stock, movements, administration) 165 employees

 

You may click on all my pictures to enlarge them!

 

This is part ONE of my inside story with Bvlgari Manufacture de Cadrans (dials) and Bvlgari Manufacture de Boîtes et Bracelets (cases and bracelets). I will publish part TWO in a while, so be sure to come back as soon you can …

 

Dials

Unlike large-scale industrial production, the dial-making Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fond handles extremely complex processes in which the human hand plays a central role and requiring a high degree of competence – which is indispensable in order to guarantee the perfect workmanship of the series made using traditional hand-crafted methods. The machining of the brass plate and its polishing are followed by several very delicate operations requiring the experience acquired by practice: transferring, spreading a fine layer of lacquer picked up by a hand-guided pad and then applied to the dial to print the minute circle or the finely graduated scales on dial counters. No school provides training in this extremely delicate operation. Even slight excessive or insufficient pressure entails starting all over again. The same goes for gluing mother-of-pearl, applying sapphire plates or various types of lacquering such as using the champlevé technique. The latter artistic dial treatment is a legacy from ancestral decorative techniques and a cherished Bvlgari specialty. The metal of the dial surface is incised to create recesses that are then filled with lacquer or enamel. Extreme finesse and precision are the keynotes of this sophisticated process that will endow the dial with a pleasing aesthetic appeal based on the kind of unique contrasts characteristic of the artistic crafts – a category to which champlevé undoubtedly belongs.

 

Bvlgari Manufacture de Cadrans

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – The dial manufactory in La Chaux-de-Fonds

 

IInside Bvlgari - From left to right you see the steps from scratch to the final dial
Inside Bvlgari – From left to right you see the steps from scratch to the final dial

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – By stamping everything starts

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – Dials for the Serpenti

 

Inside Bvlgari - A template for feet for the Serpenti dial
Inside Bvlgari – A template for the feet for the Serpenti dial

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – The dial feet are attached

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bulgaria – Quality control always and everywhere

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – Quality control

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – The dial feet

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – CNC machine manufacturing a complex dial

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – modern means to manufacture luxury dials

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – oil is used for cooling

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – The dial for the “Il Giardino Notturno”

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – another CNC machine manufacturing dials and components for them

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – parts for the “Il Giardino Notturno” dial

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – they will all be attached on a dial

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – this work must be done by hand

 

Inside Bvlgari

Inside Bvlgari – The dials are lacquered

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – Black!

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – Unique and sophisticated acetate dials. A vegetal material made from natural cotton and wood fibers

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – mother of pearl

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – the polishing of surfaces is done by hand

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – it is a very complex task and can only be done by experts

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – step by step the gold dials get ready

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – dials for the new Diagono Magnesium

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – here we see how they are printed

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – a stamp is used to transfer the color on the dial

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – the process is delicate and must be done by a highly skilled employe

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – a limited edition “Maserati” dial

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – the stamp is printing the white minuterie of the deep blue dial

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – and once again

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – the printing is done we a defined force exactly known by the employe

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – collecting white color with the stamp

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – indexes and diamonds are mounted

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – classical indexes

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – these indexes are manufactured in-house

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – the diamond indexes are built

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – a small diamond is inserted in the index

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – a defined force is necessary

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – indexes and diamonds waiting to be assembled

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – the galvanic equipment

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – electroplating

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – step by step from one liquid in the other

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – gold plated!

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – don’t they look good!

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – before (right) and after (left)

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – a spraying device

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – this is done by hand

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – quality control

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – quality control

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – ready dials for the new Diagono Magnesium after quality control

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – mother of pearl parts for a dial

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – an internal remark “not yet complete”

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – manufactures its own indexes

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – thats how they look like including their feet before being extracted from their device

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – indexes, numbers everything is done in-house

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – these are the cutting machines cutting the indexes

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – a special process where gold is frozen before being cut in parts

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – cutting in process

 

Inside Bvlgari
Inside Bvlgari – done, next is unfreezing

 

 

>>> On page 2 let me show you how cases and bracelets are made  >>>

 

 

2 Comments

  • The cadran manufacture was very informative and answered a lot of questions I had about the dial making process. Offset printing of the dials is something I want to investigate further. The case manufacture was much more familiar to me. And you are correct polishing is a very high skill craft to do consistently.

    The tour of smaller manufacturers gives an intimate view of the many processes in detail. I hope to see the processes for movement components too. How about a photo tour of Ulysse Nardin?
    As always great reporting. Thank you, Alexander.

  • Great article and nice pics. Thank you very much for this picture report. I would love to see more of these of other manufacturies.
    Really good, thanks a lot!

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