Based in Rome, since 1884 Bulgari has been creating renowned fine jewellery. Today it is a global and diversified luxury brand with a product and services portfolio of jewels, watches, accessories, fragrances, hotels and resorts featuring exceptional quality, an innovative style and impeccable service.
Descending from an ancient family of Greek silversmiths, the company’s founder Sotirio Bulgari manufactured precious silver objects. During the late 19th century, Sotirio moved to Italy and in 1884 opened his first shop in Via Sistina, Rome. In 1905, with the help of his sons Costantino and Giorgio, he inaugurated the shop in Via Condotti, which today remains Bulgari’s flagship store.
In the early 20th century the two brothers developed a deep interest and expertise in precious stones, jewels and watches, gradually taking over their father’s role in the management of the business. The period immediately after the Second World War marked an important turning point in the history of Bulgari. Giorgio and Costantino decided to move away from the dominant disciplines of the French goldsmith school to create a unique style inspired by Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance, and the 19th century Roman school of goldsmiths. By the 1950’s-60’s, the bold and innovative style of Bulgari had gained success within the jet set and Hollywood stars.
With the growth of its international fame, Bulgari began its first phase of global expansion in the 1970’s, opening stores in New York, Geneva, Monte Carlo and Paris.
In 1977 Bulgari launched the BVLGARI BVLGARI watch, a worldwide success story, considered an all-time classic. Bulgari Time Neuchâtel was established in 1982, a company with the sole responsibility for the creation and production of all Bulgari watches.
In 1984 Giorgio’s sons, Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, respectively became Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Company, while their nephew, Francesco Trapani, was appointed Chief Executive Officer.
Following a period of strong growth during the 1980’s, Bulgari began to diversify its product portfolio in the early 1990’s. In 1992 Bulgari created its first fragrance, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, which was soon followed by ten other successful fragrance introductions. The following year, Bulgari founded Bulgari Parfums in Neuchâtel, Switzerland to manage the creation and production of luxury perfumes.
In July 1995 Bulgari SpA was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, with the subsequent introduction of shares trading on the IRS segment of the London Stock Exchange.
Bulgari created its first textiles collection in 1996, introducing silk scarves and a range of fashion accessories made of the most exclusive fabrics. A year later, a wide range of leather accessories and luxury eyewear collections were launched, representing an additional step in the development of a complete line of Bulgari contemporary accessories.
In 2001 Bulgari announced the creation of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, a joint venture with Marriott International. The first Bulgari Hotel opened in 2004 in Milan, a tribute from the Italian Jeweller to the world of luxury, situated in Milan’s most stylish area – Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, the Scala Theatre and the Academy of Brera.
In 2000 Bulgari began to pursue a more aggressive strategy of vertical integration with the acquisition of the high-end watchmaking brands Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta. In 2002 Bulgari acquired a 50% stake of Crova, a historical high-end jewellery brand, subsequently acquiring 100% of Crova in 2004.
Three additional companies were purchased in 2005, including two Swiss watchmaking companies: Cadrans Design, a producer of dials for high-end watches, and Prestige d’Or, a specialist in the production of metal watchstraps.
The same year, Bulgari acquired 100% of the Italian leather-goods company Pacini, renaming it Bulgari Accessori S.r.l. The success of the wide range of luxury accessories was such that Bulgari opened new shops exclusively dedicated to accessories in Osaka and Tokyo. The following year accessories stores were opened in Seoul, Milan and Florence and successively in Rome and Singapore in 2007.
By 2007 Bulgari was able to recognize the fruits of its vertical integration in the watchmaking sector: having entirely designed, produced and assembled a caliber for the first time in its history. The Group went on to launch the Sotirio Bulgari Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel in 2009, the first watch with the movement and all components completely produced and assembled in-house. Fully developed by Bulgari, the BVL 465 Caliber comprises an automatic see-through tourbillon and perpetual calendar with an innovative display that features double coaxial retrograde hands.
A second property was introduced to the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts collection in October 2006, in Bali. The 59-villa resort reflects a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Balinese design while conveying the distinctive Bulgari Italian style.
2007 was an important year for Bulgari. The Fifth Avenue store in New York reopened after being renovated and enlarged. In Japan the largest Bulgari store in the world was opened at the 11-story Bulgari Ginza Tower in Tokyo, together with a new twin-store in the Omotesando area of the city. In Rome Bulgari inaugurated its store fully dedicated to accessories in Via Condotti.
During the same year the Bulgari Group opened new stores in strategic markets and acquired two additional Swiss companies in the watchmaking sector: Finger, specialized in creating and producing sophisticated cases for high-end complicated watches; and Leschot, specialized in producing watchmaking machinery.
Bulgari Hotels & Resorts opened two restaurant locations in Tokyo: Il Ristorante, on the top four floors of the Bulgari Ginza Tower; Il Cafè and Il Cioccolato in Omotesando. In the autumn of the same year, a new line of women’s skincare was launched in Italy.
2008 was a year of expansion for the distribution network: the biggest Bulgari store in Europe was opened in Paris, on Avenue George V. New twin-stores were also inaugurated in Doha, Atlanta and Melbourne. With regards to products, in addition to new launches in all categories, the skincare line was distributed on a worldwide basis.
Bulgari celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2009. In recognition of the achievements of Bulgari’s past and with the aim to help change history by giving less fortunate people the possibility of a new future, Bulgari launched a major fund-raising project for Save the Children’s “Rewrite the Future” campaign in the defence of children’s rights.
In the early years of the 21st century, Bulgari continues to strive to enrich people’s lives with beauty. As Nicola Bulgari says, “You cannot simply live on past glories: that’s foolish. To be a success, you have to combine the worlds of the past, present and future. That is the challenge, and there are many horizons.”
In 2014 Bvlgari celebrated its 130th anniversary.
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