The Bvlgari

Categorised as ART., LITERATURE.

It was announced this morning that Louis Vuitton had unveiled a plan to takeover Italian Jewleller Bvlgari for some £3bn. It seems that luxury brands aren’t as damaged by the economic downturn as the rest of us, due in part to huge economic growth in China (eat that Joseph McCarthey).

That’s beside the point, here is a story about a Bvlgari watch…

Robert Anthony Fischer left his house on Tuesday the 20th October in Knightsbridge, he followed the same route he had undertaken the past 15 years of his life, he passed the same gleaming white houses that used to remind him of his success but now fade into the day to day narrative that facilities his opulent façade. He turned the corner of Chesham Place onto Belgrave square where he was greeted, as he had been for the past 5,568 days that he had made this same journey, by a large Proctor & Gamble billboard, not just any Proctor & Gamble billboard, this was the heart of London’s elite, people that bought their car insurance from exclusive clubs did not appreciate billboards emblazoned with nodding dogs, the billboards of Kensington carried items of sophistication, the height of elegance and fashion.

This particular advertisement carried the image of a tall slender man, hair slicked back, a strong defined jaw line, clean shaven, wearing a black handmade suit (most probably Milan due to the cut Robert decided), a crisp white shirt with a large open collar. At the bottom of his left arm a Louis Moinet Magistralis rested comfortably, the defining piece of the picture, the exquisite time piece rested effortlessly promising to count the hours and minutes of a lifetime lived to the greatest excess, the watch was less of a time piece than it was symbol of who one was and who one would always be. Robert’s attentions now turned the Bvlgari his wife had bought him, he felt somewhat embarrassed at the piece, it was brash and loud, it was jewellery, had no culture, no esoteric value and therefore had no place on a man of his stature, a piece he deemed barely suitable for the counterfeiters on the southern coast of Spain and the northern shores of Africa.

The weight of the watch bore down on Robert and he was unable to concentrate on much else, how abrasive it felt, as if he had offended the culture of this elite neighbourhood, if anyone was to ask him the time… Disaster. He often asked the time of strangers, he would examine their response and what their wrists carried, an immense feeling of satisfaction would arise when he saw some of the pieces displayed, how could a man truly look himself in the mirror with a digital wristwatch on, the embarrassment of it, the embarrassment of looking like an illiterate child in a world of educated and competent men.

Robert now began to compare himself to the man in the advert, the tall, strong willed gentleman, timeless in his appearance but the height of modernity in his essence, a staple of effortless perfection that Robert could never achieve. “What had the woman been thinking when she picked this out?” Robert muttered under his breath. He contemplated that it in no way fit his appearance, the image of the timepiece against his fair skin burned onto his mind, bore away at his self consciousness, the size of the face almost seemed to be increasing, the dominant Bvlgari logo was relentless in its testament to all who beheld its image and the open chrome mechanics constantly in a state of movement almost gave the piece an unstoppable life force.

Robert thought back to his father and the wristwatch he had worn his whole life. A low key affair. It was a brown Seiko that mechanically displayed the day and time. He specifically remembered the broken wrist strap that had split into three parts, the leather exteriors and the material frame that lay in the middle. More importantly he focussed on the coppering that occurred on the strap hinges because they were not only cheap but mass produced, a generic piece that captured his fathers heart and seemed now to define his person, a person in stark contrast with Robert’s own mentality that success was an external issue. He was a man who could have afforded any watch he wanted, any artefact he fancied but was contented with this singular and ever reliable glass faced Seiko. When all else had failed for him the Seiko was an ever present and enduring reminder of who he was, that stood the tides of wealth and even defeat. The weight and implications of the hideous Bvlgari bore into Robert’s mind, its increasing presence was beginning to unstitch the character he had created of himself, a blot on the narrative of what he deemed to have been an otherwise spotless existence.

Out of habit Robert reached his left arm out to collect, from the same vendor as he had always done, the early morning edition of the day’s Daily Telegraph as he left Wilton Crescent and made his way up Wilton Place. Instinctively he reached forward as he left the thoughts of his father behind him, at the same time he felt the icy brush of his cuff against his left wrist and immediately thought of the horror that lay beneath, his inadequacy would be exposed to all if he were to reach forward. Robert pulled his arm to his side and placed his hand into his left trouser pocket ensuring it was deep enough to entirely cover the the bottom of his arm. Robert had now stopped and was violently and repeatedly depressing the power button of the mobile phone that sat in his trouser pocket, the seeming weightlessness of the phone only made him think deeper about the magnitude of the Bvlgari, the sheer size, weight and power compared to its function. He stepped forward and with his right hand placed a two pound coin at the vendors till then picked up his newspaper, he briskly moved forwards with the paper tucked under his right arm to avoid any possibility that the vendor could offer him any change and thus force him to reveal his unoccupied left arm and possibly behold the Bvlgari on the stark November morning.

Robert glanced at the paper he now held in his right arm, he was unable to concentrate on the images in front of him, the dense black fonts that depicted the atrocities of the world and the failings of his own country contorted across the page, the thin paper became dampened from his fingers as he tried to make sense of what held in his hand. The Bvlgari swarmed with the images of violence and the Prime Minister’s contorted face, his heartbeat was intrinsically matched to the mechanical movements occurring on his wrist, all were now in unison, each second his eyes flicked past another line of the text, “workers to cope in the pre-Christmas period but is… crippling services in the weeks leading up to Christmas… One military official told CNN troops had seized control of… The army is up against 10,000 battle-hardened … backed by “elements linked to the global arrogance” – a euphemism for the United States and Britain… Many members are furious about the “retrospective” limits… 15,000… 85,000… 120,00 members… 60 million items…”

In his confusion Robert looked down at his wrist to see how much time had passed during this episode, his wrist was bare, only wisps of blonde hair faced him, the time of his age.

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