16:15:30

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor engaged in Rome

Bvlgari

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Westime Stories
Hand Holding a Watch

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At 16:15:30 , on May 10, 1962, crazy lovers Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor slipped away from the shooting of “Cleopatra” and passed through a secret door inside the Bvlgari boutique in Rome. The seducer offered his mistress an emerald and diamond brooch as an engagement gift.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor’s passion for jewelry was legendary, and her collection was one of the most extraordinary in the world. At the Christie’s auction in 2011, Liz Taylor’s, Bvlgari brooch broke all records by becoming the most expensive in history.

Bvlgari Emerald
Bvlgari Emerald

Addicted to jewels, the “woman with violet eyes” placed them at the heart of her sentimental life, worthy of a colorful novel. Married eight times to seven different men, Liz Taylor made headlines with her romantic escapades that have long fascinated the public.


In 1961, in Rome, on the set of the movie “Cleopatra”, in which she starred, the diamond and man-eater met Richard Burton, who played the role of Mark Antony. In the Eternal City, “the most beautiful woman in the world” bowled over her on-screen partner and swooned over the Bvlgari jewels, to which she remained faithful all her life.

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“One of the main advantages of filming Cleopatra in Rome was undoubtedly the proximity to the Bvlgari store. I often went to visit Gianni Bvlgari in the afternoon, and we spent hours exchanging anecdotes.” she said. 

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The secret of the emerald

Both married, Liz and Rich fell madly in love with each other and began a stormy relationship, closely followed by the media. Their passion became the center of world news, to the point where the pope expressed his outrage. Harassed by the paparazzi, the illegitimate couple decided to seal their union with a marriage vow. The lovers entered through a hidden door within the Bvlgari boutique on Via Condotti to choose Liz’s engagement gift: a platinum brooch set with an octagonal emerald from Colombia, surrounded by brilliant pear-shaped diamonds. A gem she would wear on many occasions, stitch on her wedding dress two years later and which was auctioned in 2011 for an astounding $6’578’500!

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Remembering their escapades, the actor joked: “The only Italian word Elizabeth knows is Bvlgari”. And his precious partner declared: “Richard was so romantic that he always found an excuse to offer me a jewel”.

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Splendor and decadence

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Somewhere between fiction and reality, the most famous Hollywood couple in the world lived through a tumultuous relationship tinged with alcohol, passion, violent arguments and heartbreaking separations. Married in March 1964, they divorced in 1974. They remarried in 1975, only to divorce again in 1976.


Over 12 years, they rounded up two marriages, two divorces and eight films shot together. Sometimes venerated, sometimes hated, the beauty with the amethyst-colored eyes remained the heartbreaker’s “eternal lover”, although he married five times, twice with her. A love that would survive until their last breath, the legend says.

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The Bvlgari watches exquisitely merge the Swiss watchmaking precision with contemporary Italian design. From highly sophisticated mechanisms to the most precious materials, the Bvlgari timepieces for men and women are a masterwork of craftsmanship, reflecting the distinctive style of the Roman Jeweler.
Four Bvlgari Watches

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about bvlgari

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The beginning of the Bvlgari brand can be traced back to 1881, when Sotirio Voulgaris left Greece and reached Naples where he opened a small shop with a Greek partner, Demetrios Kremos. After the shop was robbed, they were forced to close it and headed to Rome, where Sotirio opened his first own store in Via Sistina.

Although Bvlgari probably sold watches from the very beginning of the business, the first existing models and watch designs date back to the 1920s and featured the contemporary Art Deco trends and an emphasis on the precious setting rather than on the movement.

The 1950s saw the rise of the company’s international fame, as the era of Dolce Vita began, and Rome became “the Hollywood on the Tiber”, and, as a result, movie stars and celebrities from the whole world became acquainted with Bvlgari.

In 1975, it released the BVLGARI ROMA gold digital wristwatch with the exclusive launch of a limited series of 100 pieces, and, in 1977, the BVLGARI BVLGARI emblematic collection was born in a double engraving, as the coin inscriptions of ancient Rome.

In 2004, Bvlgari introduced its first Grandes Complications watch entirely manufactured in-house and featuring a tourbillon movement, and a year later the Carbon Gold, a limited-edition BVLGARI-BVLGARI chronograph, was released.

Bvlgari continued to break world records on the front of extreme watch slenderness with the release of the Octo Finissimo Automatic in 2017 and of the 3.95mm-thick Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic in 2018.

bvlgari timeline

The business flourished and in 1894 Sotirio opened another store in Via dei Condotti, 28, and italianised his last name, followed by the opening of another shop in Via Condotti, 10, which is still the point of reference of all the Bvlgari stores in the world today. The items sold included jewels and elements of personal adornment featuring the trends of the time, mainly impacted by Art Déco and French design.

When Sotirio died in 1932, his two skilled sons, Giorgio and Constantino, continued to grow the business with entrepreneurship and creative zest. Bvlgari made its mark in the watchmaking field in the 1940s, when the brand introduced wristwatches in the form of snakes, designed as gold-coiled serpents (Serpenti) worn wrapped around the wrist and terminating with a jeweled head concealing the dial.

In the 1960s, the brand established its trademark style by creating lavish jewels characterized by a sense of volume and striking color combinations.

In 1982, Bvlgari Time Switzerland S.A. was created in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, which oversees the creation and production of all Bvlgari watches. Their success led the brand to carry out a vertical integration strategy at the beginning of the third millennium, in order to increase its watchmaking expertise, quality standard, and to have total control of all component manufacturing processes.

A new Serpenti watch collection, a contemporary reinterpretation of one of the brand’s most beloved icons, was launched in 2012, followed by the Serpenti Incantati in 2016, a line that fuses two arts that are very familiar to the brand: fine watchmaking and high jewelry.

1881

The beginning of the Bvlgari brand can be traced back to 1881, when Sotirio Voulgaris left Greece and reached Naples where he opened a small shop with a Greek partner, Demetrios Kremos. After the shop was robbed, they were forced to close it and headed to Rome, where Sotirio opened his first own store in Via Sistina.

1894

The business flourished and in 1894 Sotirio opened another store in Via dei Condotti, 28, and italianised his last name, followed by the opening of another shop in Via Condotti, 10, which is still the point of reference of all the Bvlgari stores in the world today. The items sold included jewels and elements of personal adornment featuring the trends of the time, mainly impacted by Art Déco and French design.

1920

Although Bvlgari probably sold watches from the very beginning of the business, the first existing models and watch designs date back to the 1920s and featured the contemporary Art Deco trends and an emphasis on the precious setting rather than on the movement.

1932

When Sotirio died in 1932, his two skilled sons, Giorgio and Constantino, continued to grow the business with entrepreneurship and creative zest. Bvlgari made its mark in the watchmaking field in the 1940s, when the brand introduced wristwatches in the form of snakes, designed as gold-coiled serpents (Serpenti) worn wrapped around the wrist and terminating with a jeweled head concealing the dial.

1950

The 1950s saw the rise of the company’s international fame, as the era of Dolce Vita began, and Rome became “the Hollywood on the Tiber”, and, as a result, movie stars and celebrities from the whole world became acquainted with Bvlgari.

1960

In the 1960s, the brand established its trademark style by creating lavish jewels characterized by a sense of volume and striking color combinations.

1975

In 1975, it released the BVLGARI ROMA gold digital wristwatch with the exclusive launch of a limited series of 100 pieces, and, in 1977, the BVLGARI BVLGARI emblematic collection was born in a double engraving, as the coin inscriptions of ancient Rome.

1982

In 1982, Bvlgari Time Switzerland S.A. was created in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, which oversees the creation and production of all Bvlgari watches. Their success led the brand to carry out a vertical integration strategy at the beginning of the third millennium, in order to increase its watchmaking expertise, quality standard, and to have total control of all component manufacturing processes.

2004

In 2004, Bvlgari introduced its first Grandes Complications watch entirely manufactured in-house and featuring a tourbillon movement, and a year later the Carbon Gold, a limited-edition BVLGARI-BVLGARI chronograph, was released.

2012

A new Serpenti watch collection, a contemporary reinterpretation of one of the brand’s most beloved icons, was launched in 2012, followed by the Serpenti Incantati in 2016, a line that fuses two arts that are very familiar to the brand: fine watchmaking and high jewelry.

2017

Bvlgari continued to break world records on the front of extreme watch slenderness with the release of the Octo Finissimo Automatic in 2017 and of the 3.95mm-thick Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic in 2018.

watch icon