How daring can one be in watchmaking?

Those who like revolutions and those who dislike change: should design shock or reassure?

bulgari aluminium GMTThere are two different schools of thought in design. There are those who consider an iconic product 'untouchable', and those who are not afraid to revolutionise the look of a classic. The dividing line is the judgement of the public.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Fabrizio Buonamassa, Bulgari's creative director, on the subject of the relaunch of the famous Aluminium, who says: 'When Antoine Pin (director of Bulgari's watch division, ed.) gives me the OK to go ahead with the re-launch of the Aluminium, he asks me: "How do you want to do it? I answer that I don't want to touch it, because we would have made a mistake with the 99%. The design of this model is iconic of the brand, with the screws, with this hinge designed at the time by Gianni Bulgari, so I replied that I didn't feel like it, because it wouldn't have come out a more beautiful watch than this one'.
The new Aluminium, in fact, does not betray the lines of the original and at most the company has decided to play with the colours of the dial, for the production of some special editions.

audemars piguet royal oak offshore music edition

In contrast, this week Audemars Piguet presented a particular Offshore Music Edition, with a design that disrupts the canons of an icon (even if it is not the classic Royal Oak, but its sporty and flashy 'brother') and that has triggered trance-like judgments among enthusiasts, confirming that when one dares to intervene intrusively in the design of a symbolic product, one runs a risk.

audemars piguet royal oak offshore music edition

Yet a mistake is not always made. Indeed, those who immediately cry sacrilege often forget that it is also by daring that some brands have saved themselves from oblivion. This is the case, for example, with Hublot, which was completely revolutionised by Jean-Claude Biver in 2005, when he introduced the Big Bang, an undeniably successful watch. With much larger numbers than Carlo Crocco's iconic Hublot of the 1990s, which had also been revolutionary with its combination of gold and rubber.

Beyond personal taste, what do you think: how much can you dare in watchmaking?

hublot big bang