Bulgari introduced three new models in its iconic Bulgari Bulgari men’s watch collection at Baselworld 2013, including the line’s first chronograph and tourbillon timepieces. Each new watch contains a manufacture movement crafted in Bulgari’s ateliers in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Sentier, Switzerland.The Bulgari Bulgari made its debut in 1977, on the heels of the runaway success of the limited-edition Bulgari Roma, a digital watch that was given as a Christmas gift to Bulgari’s top 100 clients a few years earlier, in 1975, and that of another limited edition, issued in 1976, that was available only at the Bulgari boutique in Rome. (Bulgari has released a new, limited mechanical version of the Bulgari Roma, as part of the 2013 collection.)
The inspiration for both the original Roma and the first Bulgari Bulgari was an ancient Roman coin on which the effigy of the emperor was encircled by engraved inscriptions. Famed watch designer Gérald Genta — who also provided the designs for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, among other classic watches — applied this design element to the watch’s bezel, which bears the two “Bulgari” engravings from which the model derives its repetitive name. The cylindrical shape of the case is also influenced by ancient Rome, specifically by the columns of Roman temples. Over its 36 years of existence, the Bulgari Bulgari has evolved only slightly from its original design, with quartz movements being replaced by mechanical ones, the dial and case size expanding to satisfy modern tastes, the lugs fitting the strap more snugly, and the bezel narrowing slightly to draw more attention to the engraved Bulgari logos.
Bulgari’s new Bulgari Bulgari watches for 2013 include a three-hand model with date, in both 39-mm and 41-mm case sizes; a column-wheel chronograph; and a tourbillon with an extra-long power reserve.
The updated, 250-piece Bulgari Roma, with its jet-black dial and black alligator strap, is one of the 39-mm watches; the other has a rose-gold case, a lacquered and polished ivory white dial and alligator strap. The 41-mm versions are available in two dial colors and in either rose gold or steel cases, on alligator leather straps or steel bracelets. There is also a two-tone Bulgari Bulgari with rose-gold and steel on both the case and bracelet.
The new movement powering the three-hand Bulgari Bulgari timepieces, Caliber BVL 191, was developed entirely in-house, with the mainplate, bridges and gear train produced at Bulgari’s manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds and final assembly taking place at its facility in Le Sentier. It has a 42-hour power reserve and an instantaneous (three-minute) date display, and features automatic winding via a ball-bearing-mounted rotor. The movement also includes a stop-seconds function that blocks the balance when the crown is pulled out and an efficient disconnecting system that saves wear and tear on the pinions simultaneously saving energy while the watch is winding. Caliber BVL, like the other Bulgari calibers used in the new watches, is also meticulously embellished, with côtes de Genève, snailed and sandblasted decorations, bevelled and polished bridge rims, circular satin-brushed wheels, burnished pivots, chamfered sinks, and domed, polished screw heads.
The new Bulgari Bulgari Chronograph, equipped with automatic Caliber BVL 328, comes in a 41-mm stainless steel case with either a black alligator strap or matching steel bracelet. The watch has a central chronograph seconds hand, a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The case has a screw-locked crown and screw-down caseback and is water-resistant to 50 meters. The movement, which uses a column-wheel system for the chronograph function, has a power reserve of 50 hours.
Rounding out the 2013 Bulgari Bulgari selections, and what the company refers to as its “crowning piece” is the Bulgari Bulgari Tourbillon, which boasts a movement, Caliber BVL 263, which is crafted entirely in Bulgari’s Le Sentier workshop and carries a power reserve of 64 hours. The tourbillon is visible through an aperture at 6 o’clock on the black lacquered dial and is mounted on a bridge made of sapphire. The 18k rose gold case is 41.5 mm in diameter and features a rose-gold crown set with a polished ceramic disk. The movement is automatic, with a bidirectional rotor that is circular-grained and chamfered.