The Octo All Blacks Special Edition watch celebrates the two partners’ shared values
The world’s best-known rugby team has been crowned 2015 World Cup Champion. New Zealand’s All Blacks team won the final against Australia on Saturday October 31st on the pitch of London’s famous Twickenham stadium, thereby confirming their status as the best current international team. Bulgari naturally joins in celebrating this victory as official sponsor of the “Kiwis” and creator of the Octo All Blacks watch in tribute to the prestigious team.
Rugby is said to have been invented by a young pupil at Rugby School, William Webb Ellis, who transgressed the rules of soccer in around 1823 by picking up the ball to score a goal. This variation of the game became popular at universities such as Oxford and Cambridge and the sport was codified in 1846. The first official international match was played between England and Scotland on March 27th 1871.
The Southern hemisphere discovered rugby through a strong English presence in that part of the world. From 1872 onwards, teams known as Pakehas (meaning Europeans) were formed in New Zealand, mainly composed of colonists, military men and Maoris.
Their black kit, purported to stand for mourning wear in anticipation of their adversaries’ defeat, has earned them the “All Blacks” nickname. This outstanding team has earned its rank as the world’s best rugby players thanks to an extremely physical and team-based style, backed by a mental strength that they invoke by their now famous pre-match ritual. This ceremony that involves the fearsome ‘Haka’ war cry is based on a ritual dance performed and sung by South Pacific islanders for events such as welcome festivities or the start of a fight. For the All Blacks, this ritual that is now a well-known feature in stadiums the world over has become a combination of Polynesian traditions with a demonstration of power intended to strike awe into their opponents.
Bulgari enjoys several longstanding ties with the All Blacks.
First of all, on a historical level, the New Zealand Rugby team was officially selected in 1884. That same year, the unique descendant of a Greek family of goldsmiths, Sotirio Boulgaris, decided to continue perpetuating the expertise of his ancestors from the tiny village of Epirus by opening his first boutique in Rome on the Via Sistina, between the Piazza di Spagna and the Trevi Fountain. His named was given an Italian twist and in tribute to the age-old creations in which he dealt, he decided to introduce the historical Roman “V” into the spelling of the “Bvlgari” brand name.
In 1905, Bulgari, already renowned for the refinement of its jewellery creations, opened a splendid boutique on the Via dei Condotti in Rome, to which the entire world would flock to discover the creative feats on display. That same year, the New Zealand team toured Europe, especially making a name for itself in England with an unbroken string of victories, and was dubbed “All Blacks”. Like Bulgari, its fame was firmly established.
The All Blacks team has achieved global celebrity which it owes – just like the artisans of the Maison Bulgari – to universally recognized excellence that is constantly cultivated and renewed. Like rugby players who tirelessly train and look for new game plans and winning tactics, the master-watchmakers and designers of the Manufacture Bulgari ceaselessly innovate and invent in defying both matter and time measurement.
Team unity and a resolutely sporting spirit are the predominant all-round factors, backed by a blend of determination, imagination, creativity and elegance.
As Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, points out, the two names are synonymous with perfection, each in its own domain, and this new watch making collaboration conveys a number of mutual values. “I’m particularly thrilled by the All Blacks’ victory. The prestigious New Zealand team testifies to an exalted vision of performance and the universal values of sport. Our Octo All Blacks sports watch is a creation that consolidates the fruitful partnership with the legendary team. It embodies the values shared by the two excellent brands, both universally acknowledged as standing for intense passion, commitment, teamwork, success and victory, each in its own field. Design, performance and the sporting spirit are expressed in stunning style by this special-edition watch representing an ideal blend of technical sophistication and refined design.”
The Octo All Blacks is a compendium of mechanical and aesthetic power. Issued in a special edition presented in an evocative box shaped like a rugby ball, the watch maintains all the characteristics composing the singularity and worth of the Octo watch. This model with its resolutely contemporary design is inspired by Italian creative genius rooted in ancient architectural perfection and in the innovative visions of Leonardo da Vincit. In this instance, the 10.55 mm thick case with its 110 facets and 41.55 mm diameter is coated in Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) exactly like the black jersey of the All Blacks team. This dark shade endows it with even greater strength and elegance, in harmony with ultra-modern chic as well as sports protocol. The individually numbered case-back reveals the movement through a smoky sapphire crystal adorned with the All Blacks’ silver “Koru” fern emblem.
Just as with top-rate athletes, the heart of power and efficiency lies in their movement. That of the Octo All Blacks draws its precision and excellence from the finest Swiss watch manufacturing traditions. Developed and assembled by hand in the Swiss Jura within the Bulgari watch Manufacture, the 28-jewel mechanical self- winding Calibre BVL 193 keeps exact time in step with its 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) and has a 50-hour power reserve. It also displays the date through a dial aperture at 3 o’clock.
The date window might almost go unnoticed, along with the polished and brushed black hour-markers, given the powerful personality of the Mana – the mesmerising Maori mark – that appears to be tattooed on the dial base. The Mana is a symbol of life and an historical warrior’s attribute that has become a symbol of sporting vitality, perseverance, courage and excellence, lending an almost mystical touch to the game in order for each member of the team to give full expression to his Mana.
Thus, by wearing the new Octo All Black firmly held to the wrist by a black alligator leather strap with a natural rubber lining and secured by a pin buckle that is DLC- treated like the case itself, each individual will be able to reveal his own Mana – like a sign of belonging not only to the passionate rugby-loving community, but more broadly to the valiant heritage of the Maoris and their age-old culture. These of bravura and performance are destined to affirmed both on the land and in facing the elements, since the watch is water-resistant to 100 metres.
For New Zealanders, rugby is far more than just a gentleman’s game: it is Life itself. It is Mana. For Bulgari, the Octo All Black watch is far more than just a commemorative timepiece. It is a symbol of shared values, of the fruitful encounter between two hemispheres.
Colombo Jewellery Stores, located at No. 1 Alfred House Gardens, Colombo 03, are the exclusive agent for Buglari Watches in Sri Lanka.