Back in March, the Bulgari presentation at Baselworld 2019 featured a star-studded line-up. Chinese actress Shu Qi and her Hollywood counterpart Olivia Wilde, together with artist David Alexander Flinn were on hand with CEO Jean-Christophe Babin to unveil two exceptional timepieces: the Serpenti Seduttori and Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic.
“Our capability of fusing edgy, magnificent Italian design with the ultimate Swiss engineering and craftsmanship—this is why I talk about Rinascimento from Bulgari. It is truly a revolution of design and technology,” Babin described the new Rinascimento (Italian for renaissance) that “breaks the mould of Swiss watchmaking.”
What this means is that for each of its debuts, Bulgari’s objective is to rewrite the codes for contemporary watches with an unexpected, fearless and creative twist.
As always, this year’s stunning novelties exemplify Bulgari’s bold creativity that leverages on the Maison's unique heritage in the making of iconic modern timepieces. For ladies, the Serpenti Seduttori is Bulgari’s latest incarnation of a cult watch that has not only passed the test of time but which continues to evolve with fierce audacity, designed to be more beautiful and more sublime from year to year.
The Serpenti Seduttori’s tagline of “born to be gold” alludes to how it makes time feel more precious by casting a golden glow on all of life’s beautiful moments.
Emblematic of Bulgari’s Roman jeweller DNA, the watch is crowned in cabochon-cut gemstones. For 2019, the Serpenti Seduttori is keeping it exclusive, being available only in rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, and diamond pavé.
Having fronted the campaign for Lucea in 2014, Shu Qi followed up with a special appearance at the unveiling of the new Seduttori. After the press conference and away from the spotlight, she entered the interview room, looking bright and spirited, and wearing a rose gold and full pavé Serpenti Seduttori.
“Born to be gold” could easily describe the award-winning actress, and her enduring beauty and cinematic career. Her trajectory is not unlike that of the Serpenti — perpetually morphing into ever more ravishing versions as it continues to evolve.
Here is an excerpt of our conversation with Shu Qi herself during Baselworld 2019:
When and how did your partnership with Bulgari begin?
It was in 2014 when I received an offer to work with Bulgari. I was very happy with the prospect which felt very exciting to me. That was how we started. I am very honoured to represent Bulgari and to venture into its universe.
What does Bulgari represent to you?
My first impression of Bulgari, before I started working with them, was that it was a very grand, luxurious brand with much history. I was under the perception that high-end watches and jewellery were only worn by the successful or the affluent. Over the last few years, the scenario and market conditions appeared to have changed. After my partnership with Bulgari, I think it has made much progress with respect to its constant interest to be more inclusive and to cultivate a more youthful spirit.
What is it like working with a brand like Bulgari with more 130 years of legacy?
It is wonderful that they have been involved in philanthropic projects over the years. (Since 2009, Bulgari have partnered with Save the Children to help the world’s most marginalized children by investing in education, emergency response, poverty reduction and youth empowerment programs.) Also, Bulgari takes great effort to protect, nurture and build upon its history and legacy.
What have you learnt about Bulgari that continues to excite you?
Bulgari, from my experience and as I mentioned earlier, is constantly responding to the market to cater to different conditions, and different people and consumers, be it for jewellery or watches. Every year, they continue to create and release new products that are different and with new designs.
Can you share your thoughts about the new Serpenti Seduttori model and how it appeals to you?
I tried on the Seduttori today and it is awesome. While the Serpenti is highly representative of Bulgari, Seduttori is a very different interpretation of the iconic Serpenti motif this time. I love that the Serpenti Seduttori achieves what any wristwatch creation should—it flows on the wrist so smoothly that you don’t even feel you are wearing something—and it is also a piece of jewellery.
I also love the design which reminds me of the different facets of Bulgari and its jewellery universe. The Serpenti Seduttori is a very strong evolution which sublimates the design of the iconic symbol of the Serpenti icon.
In 2014, you fronted the campaign to launch the Lucea collection. How are Lucea and Serpenti Seduttori different for you personally?
They are obviously quite different. I like them both very much, and the experience of wearing each of them is different. Most importantly, this is a “good” thing because it makes you want to have them both (laughs).
With Lucea, its diamond embellishment makes it complete, causing the work of art to come to life. For Serpenti Seduttori, the design and craftsmanship are what make it very enticing and covetable. For me, the desire to own a Bulgari creation is elevated every year because of the constant innovation of its watch collections.
You are an accomplished and award-winning actress with more than two decades in the industry. What do you enjoy most working on different film genres?
How shall I put it? There is not much difference. I am an actress and so it is necessary to adapt to all kinds of environment— films, dramas, documentaries or commercials—regardless of independent or blockbuster productions. As an actress, the important thing is to play the role well, and for whichever role I play, I need to put in my best effort, and the right input and attitude.
What can filmgoers expect from your upcoming movie, Shanghai Fortress?
I can’t really say as I have not watched the film. It is still in production (at the time of the interview). Because Shanghai Fortress is a science-fiction type of movie—which is rather rare in Chinese cinema—we were filming without a “proper” set and just shooting in front of a blue or green backdrop to facilitate post-production computer graphics manipulation. You don’t really know what it is going to be like until you see the actual film.