Comparative Watch Test: Bulgari Bulgari vs. Hermès Dressage

Bulgari Bulgari & Hermes DressageIn this exclusive watch test feature we compare two steel automatic watches, the Bulgari Bulgari and the Hermès Dressage, from brands known for their high style.

The names Bulgari and Hermès probably make you think of leather goods, silk scarves or jewelry rather than watches. But Bulgari, headquartered in Rome, has been marketing watches since 1977, and Hermès, based in Paris, for even longer, since the 1920s. The Ermeto pocketwatch, manufactured for Hermès by Movado, was unveiled in 1928. It was followed by other models designed by Hermès but made by Swiss watch manufacturers. Hermès learned from these companies and set up its own watch division, La Montre Hermès, in Bienne, Switzerland, in 1978. In 2006, Hermès acquired 25 percent of the movement maker Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier SA, which was founded in 2003 by the Sandoz Family Foundation as a sister company to the Parmigiani Fleurier brand. In 2012, Hermès unveiled the H1837, the brand’s first proprietary movement, designed by Hermès in collaboration with Vaucher and manufactured by Vaucher. The movement is named for Hermès and the year the brand was founded, 1837. This is the caliber used in the watch we reviewed, the Hermès Dressage.

Bulgari has been making jewelry since 1884. Its first watch, the original Bulgari Bulgari, was designed by Gérald Genta and was so well received that the company expanded its timepiece division. (The watch is so named because “Bulgari” is printed twice on the bezel, on the upper and lower halves. The company spells the Bulgari name with a Latin-alphabet “V” instead of a “U” in order to evoke the brand’s Roman origin.) That watch was the ancestor of the model we reviewed.

Bulgari Bulgari & Hermes Dressage

Bulgari Time was established in Switzerland in 1980. In 2000, Bulgari took over the Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta brands, thus acquiring the ability to make movements. Three years ago, Bulgari joined the LVMH Group, whose watch brands include Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith. Last year, Bulgari debuted its first caliber: the BVL 191, which is used in the watch we reviewed. It was developed and is produced in-house: the movement’s components (plates, bridges and wheels) are fabricated at the Bulgari manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds and the movement is assembled at Bulgari’s facility in Le Sentier (the former Daniel Roth factory). As with all of Bulgari’s movements, the “191” refers to the number of components in the caliber. Both watches have sapphire casebacks, which offer a good view of each caliber. Each caseback matches the watch’s styling: the back of the Hermès Dressage is angular and affixed by four screws; the back of the Bulgari Bulgari is round and held in place by eight screws. Both constructions contribute to water resistance to a depth of 50 meters.

Bulgari Bulgari & Hermes Dressage - bracelets

Click here to download the full test article, including specs, scores, and prices for each watch, from the WatchTime online store for only $2.99.

This article was originally published on August 28, 2014, and has been updated.

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  1. daPhantom1

    It has always amased me that the more one pays for a mechanical watch the less water resistance it may have. eg. The Bvlgari Bvlgari with an eight screw back and only 50m water resistance.
    [yes, I understand that the crown stem sealing and the crystal sealing also play a part]
    However, notwithstanding that,
    Even cheap casios and many others have a screw threaded back and offer 100m. I could under stand the eight screw design if it added more than the usual water resistance – but alas no.

  2. Donald Sherwood

    Absolutely a ridiculous number of pop-up ads, one after another. It spoils what could be a very interesting and informative publication.

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