Fine Jewellery | 27 November 2014
An enamel and emerald 'Serpenti' bangle wristwatch by Bulgari, circa 1968
Sold for £68000
An enamel and emerald 'Serpenti' bangle wristwatch by Bulgari, circa 1968, the highly flexible triple coil serpent's body with turquoise and white enamel scales, to a similarly enamelled head with pear shaped emerald eyes, the head hinged to reveal a concealed watch movement by Jaeger LeCoultre, 17 jewel Jaeger LeCoultre back wind and set movement, signed Jaeger LeCoultre and Bulgari on the dial, and signed Bvlgari to the back of the snake's head with Italian control marks, in a brown leather bound velvet fitted Bulgari Roma box
Introduced in the late 1940s, Bulgari initially constructed their Serpenti watches from hollow 'tubogas' coils of interlocking strips of gold, but by the 1960s the enamel versions were elaborately handmade from sheets of gold which were screwed and pivoted together, with a white gold spring inside the bangle giving the incredible flexibility. The Serpenti watches found celebrity acclaim when Elizabeth Taylor was photographed wearing a gold and diamond version on the set of 'Cleopatra' in 1962. The enamel versions begun to be produced from around 1967 onwards in exotic colour combinations, such as the example offered here.
Triossi, A., ¾tween Eternity And History: Bulgari: From 1884 To 2009: 125 Years of Italian Jewels', Skira, Milan 2009, Exhibition Book, pp 188 - 199 for the history of Serpenti watches and illustrations of some of the different colours produced by Bulgari
Chapman, M. & Triossi, A., 'The Art Of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita And Beyond: 1950 - 1990', DelMonico Books & Fine Art Museums of San Francisco 2013, Exhibition Book p 60 for original design sketches of enamel Serpenti watches, and pp64 - 67 for illustrations of similar examples of Serpenti watches from the1960s
Triossi, A. & Mascetti, D., 'Bvlgari', Milan 1996, pp250 - 252 for illustrations of other similar enamel Serpenti watches
Overall excellent condition with very light wear. Two white enamel scales have very minor scuffs and nicks, including very small enamel loss by one eye, otherwise no overall apparent chips, nicks, scratches or scuffs to the enamel. The emerald eyes are original with no chips or nicks.The fastening outer clip on the Bulgari box is broken. Movement in need of an overhaul and balance staff.
Thursday 27 November 2014, 3.00pm
24 Maddox Street
Sale day from 9.30am