What do you get when you combine the radical innovative expertise of high-end timepiece maker MB&F with the traditional jewellery-making skills of Bulgari? The MB&F x Bulgari Legacy Machine Flying T Allegra apparently, the latest version of the Flying T (T stands for tourbillon) that was recently unveiled at the Dubai Watch Week.
Designed by Maximilian Büsser and Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Bulgari’s creative director of timepieces, the Flying T Allegra is manages to combine the crazy complications of a typical MB&F piece with exquisite and expertly cut stones that is a very Bulgari signature.
The idea for a collaboration came from Büsser, explains Stigliani. “The story started in Dubai, during my first Dubai Watch Week. Honestly, I remember so clearly. It was in 2018 and during the gala dinner. Max came to me and said, ‘Fabrizio, I would love to make a watch with you, because the work that you, your team are making with the Octo Finissimo is absolutely amazing!’”
And thus the journey began. The MB&F x Bulgari Legacy Machine Flying T Allegra stayed true to its predecessor, the Flying T, but incorporated new designs to reflect its upgraded status. The crystal is still bubble-shaped, and dimensions are almost the same: 39mm x 20mm while the original sits at 38.5mm x 20mm. The Flying T Allegra also retains the movement with the sunburst motif, as well as the angled dial visible to the wearer alone.
However, that is where the similarities stop and Bulgari fully enters the picture. The case has been redesigned and the lugs on this edition are shorter. (“The idea was to have a small, sort of UFO without any lugs”) Diamonds adorn the buckle, case, crown and dial while large colourful gems surround the tourbillon. And while it is tsavorite, amethyst, topaz and tourmaline on the white gold version, the rose gold sports an additional single round rubellite gem.
“We are the master of coloured gemstones, and the idea was to use, for the first time in a watch, [these] very thick stones with a different cut design. So as you can see, you have the brilliant cut, emerald cut, cabochon cut, drop-shape cut. This has always been our frustration in other watch designs; to have these amazing large stones that were impossible to use on the dial. Because you know that this is not a common watch design. To have this atrium effect created by the domed glass,” says Stiglani.
Both the white and rose gold editions are limited to just 20 pieces each, and retail at $185,000. Each timepiece comes in a presentation case that displays it in an aluminium orb encircled by a large, waterjet-cut metal ring; when dramatically tilted on a desk or dresser, it has the effect of a Saturn-like planet from some ultra-luxe universe far, far away.