“Maserati and Bulgari have a lot of elements in common—we have the same clients, the same passion for beautiful things and the same attention to details,” Fabrizio Buonamassa, Bulgari’s head of watch design, says as he guides a Maserati Levante SUV along Southern California’s serpentine Route 74, one of the most dangerous highways in the state. His résumé reveals another connection between the car and Bulgari’s new Octo Maserati GranSport and GranLusso: in an earlier life, Buonamassa was a designer for Maserati’s parent company Fiat, so he was prepared to apply his experience in automotive design to the new Octo Maserati GranSport and GranLusso watches.
“They are two different souls of the same brand,” says Buonamassa of the timepieces, with faces that read like tachometers. The GranSport ($12,800) has a slick profile with its black DLC-coated steel case and a matte black lacquer dial. The GranLusso ($30,700) is a refined take in 18K pink gold with an anthracite dial. Otherwise, the two 41-mm watches are made entirely in-house and are powered by the automatic BVL 262 movement, with retrograde minutes and jumping hours. Both versions are outfitted with an integrated, perforated and stitched strap that evokes the look of the Maserati upholstery.
Maserati’s trident logo appears on a dial for the first time. Above it, the hour is set in an aperture at 3 o’clock. Bulgari chose the jumping-hour movement to echo the rev counters on the brand’s dashboard. The indexes mimic the stylized font seen on the gauges. A single hand moves in a linear fashion up the left side of the dial to count off the minutes from zero to 60 before snapping back and starting again as the hour disc advances.
Given the strong Italian heritage and bold design ethos celebrated by both brands, this particular watch/automotive marriage, established in 2012, seems more harmonious than similar partnerships. “Maserati invented the GranTurismo segment in the 1950s,” says Buonamassa. “It was a different experience—it’s more luxurious in comfort compared with other brands that just make racing cars. And Bulgari makes something like this—we produce the thinnest watch in the world, but the design is also not so common. So Maserati and Bulgari have this kind of approach—not just performance, but also a taste for beautiful things.”