Watchmakers are wild about cars—that’s hardly news. Simply look to the myriad partnerships between luxury timepiece brands and their counterparts in the automotive world to understand their shared fascination with precision, craftsmanship, mechanical engineering and timing.
Few watch-car marriages, however, are as well-suited as the one that unites Bulgari and Maserati, two quintessentially Italian brands whose five-year collaboration recently spawned two new Octo Maserati timepieces, the GranLusso and the GranSport. Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September and introduced to the U.S. market at an event in Los Angeles in late November, the watches are only available for purchase by Maserati owners.
“Like our vehicles, Bulgari’s timepieces represent the best of a pure, made-in-Italy tradition,” says Reid Bigland, global CEO of Maserati, adding that the watches “are a fitting representation of two Italian legends working together in perfect synchronization and harmony.
Encased in the Octo’s signature octagonal silhouette, the 18-karat pink gold GranLusso ($30,700) and black DLC-treated steel GranSport ($12,800) models are equipped with manufacture mechanical movements bearing retrograde minutes and jumping hour displays distinguished by their unusual, vertical styling, meant to evoke the rev counter of a Maserati. The hour indication appears in a window on the right side of the dial.
“The idea is to have the pleasure of reading the time in an unconventional way,” says Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, chief watch designer at Bulgari. “That’s why we decided to have a jumping hour. The common jumping hour has a different design. This one is vertical — to recall the rev counters of the dashboard. It’s a very subtle detail but when you see the watch, you talk about automotive design.”
Powered by the caliber BVL 262, a 33-jewel automatic movement boasting a 42-hour power reserve, both models are 41.5 mm in size and feature Maserati’s iconic trident logo on the dial, as well as special indexes that employ the font used by Maserati.
The GranLusso and GranSport models are the latest in a long collaboration between the watchmaker and car brand. In 2012, Bulgari presided over the launch of the Octo Maserati Quadri-Retro Chronograph, the timepiece that marked the start of their partnership, and in 2014, the brand rolled out another chronograph, the Octo Maserati Velocissimo.
Even though tie-ups between watch- and carmakers are, by now, something of a cliché in the luxury arena, Bulgari’s Octo Maserati series, and especially its two most recent additions, epitomize the elegance made possible when two complementary brands come together.