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 …
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 – The dials are lacquered
>>> On page 2 let me show you how cases and bracelets are made >>>