BUCCELLATI’S TIME HAS COME
Byline: Marc Karimzadeh
NEW YORK — It’s a special time for Buccellati.
When the firm’s chairman, Gianmaria Buccellati, introduces a new collection of watches Tuesday, he will kick off a series of events celebrating the Italian family-owned firm’s tradition of offering some of the most exclusive fine jewelry and silver.
While Buccellati has done one-of-a-kind watches in the past, this is the first time the company is expanding into a more serialized, yet equally exclusive, watch collection.
“[The collection] is a natural extension of the Buccellati design aesthetic,” said Howard Hyde, Buccellati’s vice president of global marketing.
Handmade in a company-owned factory in Switzerland, the Buccellati watches collection consists of three styles with round-, octagonal- or square-case designs. The watches are 18-karat yellow gold, except for the square-case style, which also features white gold.
Each watch has an interchangeable leather band covering the bracelet, with available colors ranging from black and navy to pink and green. A rosette is inlaid in the crystal with the movement hidden from view. True to Buccellati’s signature attention to texture detail, the watches feature elaborately engraved finishes.
The Buccellati watch collection has a suggested retail price ranging from $20,000 to $24,500. They will be handled in the U.S. through the firm’s New York-based distribution arm, the Buccellati Gold Corp.
Hyde explained that for the first year, the plan is to offer the watches to existing Buccellati retailers, since there are currently only 120 watches available in the world. These include Betteridge Jewelers in Greenwich, Conn., Gump’s in San Francisco, Hardy & Hayes Jewelers in Pittsburgh, Leigh & Co. in Vero Beach, Fla., Bergdorf Goodman in New York and selected doors of Neiman Marcus.
The plan is to increase the number of watches made available to 750 next year.
“Even though they are produced in a more serial way, we don’t want to make them faster,” said Hyde, noting Buccellati wants to maintain the high standards of workmanship and exclusivity.
The watches will be available in Buccellati’s own stores this week. Since the first stock of watches is ready, the plan is to distribute them as soon as retailers have made their choice. According to Jon Omer, vice president of Buccellati Gold Corp., the watches could hit other retail floors as early as next week.
A special ad campaign focusing on the Buccellati philosophy of time and craftsmanship will break in the November issue of W, and then appear over the next two months in a variety of magazines, including Departures and Town & Country.
The watch launch will be followed by a performance of a Giovanni Sollima composition dedicated to Gianmaria Buccellati at Carnegie Hall Tuesday evening. The celebrations will culminate in the opening of “Buccellati: Art in Gold, Silver and Gems,” an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.
“We chose this week because [this is] a nice opportunity to bring all important dealers in the world to New York so they can see the watches, attend the concert and then go to Washington to attend opening of the exhibit,” Hyde said.
The exhibit will feature 87 jeweled and precious metal pieces from the Buccellati collection, including bracelets, necklaces, candlesticks, chalices and coffers.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a commemorative cup created by Gianmaria Buccellati in honor of the exhibit. While the collection will stay at the Smithsonian until Feb. 25, the cup will become part of the museum’s permanent collection.