Very much in vogue in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, secret watches were so named because they kept time a “secret,” by hiding the watch dial behind a decorative hinged or swiveling cover. A secret watch looks no different from any other attractive (and often gem-studded) bracelet or pendant when closed, allowing the wearer to discreetly check the time on demand. On a more practical note, the cover serves as the perfect crystal protector, keeping it pristine and scratch free.
Secret watches have seen a resurgence of late among luxury brands, adding a new twist to time telling. Most recently, Bulgari is on point with two new stunning secret watches, unique pieces that meld high jewelry and rare currency with the art of watchmaking.
Ancient Green and Roman coins are a popular design cue for the Rome-based jeweler, and in the 1960s the company began incorporating this motif within its jewelry collections, specifically the Monete.
Shown here are the new Monete secret watches that artfully juxtapose antiquity with modernity in a style that is unmistakably Bulgari. The coins Bulgari chose for these creations were determined by relevance and rarity, and each conveys historical meaning while showcasing the company’s contemporary flair for the overall design.
The Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Monete is a secret wristwatch whose cover is an ultra-rare 4th century Roman coin that was struck to mark the twenty-year reign of Constantine Augustus (301-336 B.C). Inside is a spectacular view of the ultra-thin open-worked Finissimo Tourbillon movement that earned a world record for its svelte profile. The backside of the coin, which faces the dial when the cover is open, offers a similarly spectacular view. The 40mm pink gold octagonal case includes a complex opening system, which is smoothly actuated by the crown.
The octagonal Monete high-jewelry pendant watch features a tetradrachm cover depicting Alexander the Great (336-326 B.C.), King of Macedonia and conqueror of the Persian Empire, which opens to reveal the skeletonized gold tourbillon movement. The 41mm case is crafted in pink gold and set with diamonds and rubies. It is suspended from a solid 90-centimeter gold chain with geometrical links that is also set with diamonds and rubies. Prices upon request.