Bulgari unveils bigger, bolder 2006 collection

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Bulgari unveils bigger, bolder 2006 collection

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Big, bold and beautiful perfectly described the New 2006 Bulgari Watch Collection presented on June 28 atop the Park Hyatt hotel in southern Seoul. In the Presidential suite, over 60 pieces from five major collections of Bulgari watches were part of a picturesque scene in front of an entire north-facing wall with a breathtaking view of glass-and-steel skyscrapers.
According to Asha Langdown, the external relations director based in Singapore who flew in for the event, big, bold watches will be de rigueur for a while. “Big watches are not just for men; they are worn by women as well,” she said. “And they are complicated watches with functions like a Tourbillon and chronograph, GMT dates and so on.”
Swiss-made innovative technology has brought the Bulgari Bulgari collection, of which the vintage line was originally created in the 1940s, up-to-date. The iconic watch with a 42-millimeter (0.15 inch) diameter curved case and a hand-finished metallic bracelet has more than 100 components. The leather-band version now features brown and black crocodile skin.
The Diagono Titanium watches, featuring natural black rubber bracelets, have been renewed with a bigger, bolder design. Measuring a grand 44 millimeters in diameter in the titanium and aluminum case, the strong yet extremely light watch is functional while maintaining the popular Bulgari look.
Bulgari currently has seven retail locations in Korea, including stores inside the Avenuel, Hyundai and Galleria department stores in Seoul and Lotte in Busan. Gerome Baudy, who has led Bulgari Korea since 2004, says his job is to “strengthen the Bulgari brand in Korea.”
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Just like other luxury brands wanting growth in foreign territories, Bulgari has duly followed a step-by-step marketing expansion formula: Start with a big bang and then educate through the media. Last year, the Assioma line was introduced at a swank party at the W Seoul Hotel in eastern Seoul ― helping the brand to be noticed by the public. The next step for the product and others to be integrated into the target market is educating consumers through the media, Mr. Baudy said.
“Through education, we hope to show the true side of the Bulgari brand, especially watches, and we have interesting products that can appeal to people who love watches,” he added. “We focus on educating about more complicated watches and [the brands’] know-how as a fine watch maker.”
Both Mr. Baudy and Ms. Langdown believe that Koreans are “potential” watch lovers, and that the market has great potential for growth. Ms. Langdown, who travels around the Asia-Pacific region, is particularly impressed with so many Korean magazines specializing in the luxury industry. “Even compared with Japan and Hong Kong, I can see that Korean magazines have sophisticated, fashionable and strong visuals,” she said, adding that Koreans tend to favor big-brand names more than the actual or collector’s value of a product. “But, I can see the magazines do not provide detailed information nor knowledge about fine watches, so consumers can develop their taste and eventually become collectors. That’s the role of the media, yet it seems to be missing in Korea.”


by Ines Cho
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