《BVLGARI @ The Automaton Watch》

BVLGARI ~ The automaton watch: Il Giocatore Veneziano brings an ancient, almost forgotten, tradition back to life. This minute-repeating wristwatch with an automaton takes its theme from a painting by Caravaggio, the 16th-century Italian artist. Produced in a limited edition it ranks among the outstanding creations in watch-making. The old tradition of associating timepieces with automata has almost entirely disappeared from the watchmaking landscape. Il Giocatore Veneziano, signed by Bulgari, stages an ingenious comeback for this heritage. The wristwatch is doubly impressive: a complexity of mechanisms activates both an automaton and a minute-repeater besides telling the time. Patterned on the automata of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Il Giocatore Veneziano restores the art to its rightful place in a brilliant demonstration of micro-mechanical intricacy.
Caravaggio’s The Cardsharps, painted in the late 16th century gave birth to the idea of Il Giocatore Veneziano as the mechanical allegory of a dice player. The delicately painted automaton with moving arms rolls two dice to give 504 random numbers. Dangerously addictive to inveterate gamblers, the throws of the dice are not easy to guess. The unique mechanism for the automaton operates independently from the repeating work, which is activated on demand. The Giocatore Veneziano automaton can be brought into play with the minute-repeater or independently. The minute-repeater strikes the hours, quarters and minutes. It took three years of development to turn watch-making prowess into an authentic novelty. The minute-repeating Il Giocatore Veneziano is entirely finished by hand in the way of the old watchmakers and in the style of the amazing automaton pocket-watches of the 17th century that featured mythological themes or scenes from daily life.
While adhering to watch-making’s traditional values, Il Giocatore Veneziano proclaims its modernity. The watchmakers designed an automaton wristwatch worthy of the name: unlike other products in which the automaton is linked to the minute-repeater, the two devices are here entirely independent of one another — a special and rare feature. Every aspect of this watch reflects its exceptional character, from the traditional craft methods that ensure the automaton’s reliability, to the hours, quarters and minutes strike of the repeater — a reminder of the days when time was heard rather than seen. It thus returns to an old tradition with all the advantages of a watch of today. This masterpiece of complicated watch-making, comprising more than 500 parts and many specific components, is entirely finished and assembled by hand.

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