HANDS-ON: The lightweight luxury of the new Bulgari Aluminium collection HANDS-ON: The lightweight luxury of the new Bulgari Aluminium collection

HANDS-ON: The lightweight luxury of the new Bulgari Aluminium collection

Zach Blass

Bulgari has revived a late ’90s classic with the new Bulgari Aluminium collection this year. A great blend of daily and luxury wear, these lightweight watches pack a heavy punch. While watch designs can be quite homogenous in a traditional industry, the new Bulgari Aluminium 2020 models are welcome revivals with their distinct Bulgari aesthetic.

Bulgari Aluminium collection

The case(s)

Bulgari Aluminium collection

These new models are fabricated in a great everyday material: aluminium. While aluminium is not considered a luxury material, when done right, it can provide a luxury experience on the wrist. The lightweight aluminium makes for an elegant yet sporty and smart-casual aesthetic. Bulgari, an expert in original design, has made it clear this is a Bulgari watch. The brand name can be found on the dial and twice on the surrounding text of the bezel, making this case triple stamped proudly with the name of the master Maison. It’s also embossed on the first rubber link of the strap on both sides of the case. However, given that the bezel and strap are in black matt materials, these branded elements are less obvious, and less blingy than they sound.

The crown guards protect the crown from shearing during physical activity. Both cases are fashioned in a compact 40mm and are water resistant up to 100 metres. Bulgari bills these watches as unisex designs, and their shock resistant matte black rubber bezels and aluminium cases make them fantastic “daily wearer” candidates for wrists of all genders and identities. On the chronograph model, the pushers are PVD treated to be a matching black to the bezel, the crown black PVD treated on all models. The casebacks of all the models are fabricated in titanium in contrast to its aluminium name – making them more secure and ready for daily activity.

The dial(s)

The Bulgari Aluminium time-only models

Bulgari Aluminium collection

The time-only versions of this lineup are available in two dial colours: white and black. Both the 12 and 6 markers are represented in Arabic numerals, with the remainder represented with dial-contrasting baton-shaped markers. Above each marker are squares (framed in silver against the white and red against the black), each filled with cream-toned Super-LumiNova to provide legibility in darker environments.

Bulgari Aluminium collection

On both configurations, the second hands are white and incorporate sporty eye-catching red accents that further increase the legibility of this daily wearer. The black-on-white date window at 3 blends a bit into the white dial, with it being in direct contrast to the black dial. Their case material, aluminium, is proudly stamped at 6.

The Bulgari Aluminium Chronograph Model

Bulgari Aluminium collection

The chronograph iteration is found with a panda and reverse panda dial (white dial with black sub-dials, and the inverse), sharing many design elements of its time-only sibling. Where it differs is through the addition of the chronograph display to the dial. In a popular tri-compax panda layout, the black registers are highly legible against its white backdrop. The date has also migrated from the 3 position to 4:30 to accommodate the chronograph movement inside the watch.

Bulgari Aluminium collection

Whereas the time-only models had skeletonised red lollipops at the top of the hands, in the chronograph iteration, only the pointing tip of the seconds hand has a red accent. The running seconds can be found at the 3 register, the elapsed minutes opposite at 9, and replacing the Arabic 6 numeral is a elapsed hour register at 6. The central seconds hand serves to display the elapsed seconds when the chronograph is activated and running.

The bracelet

Bulgari Aluminium collection

The rubber and aluminium bracelet found on this watch does create fixed length, but it wears well, creating a nice conformity around the wrist. Each side of the bracelet is stamped with the Bulgari name, bringing the total number of brand stamps to five – making it crystal clear this is a proud and distinct Bulgari original design. This bracelet really caters to its everyday purpose and is the perfect pairing for a watch water resistant to 100m.

The bracelet is fastened through an easy-to-use pin buckle, and includes a good number of loopholes which make it highly adjustable. Its black colour continues the theme of elegant and sporty design. These watches are capable of being paired with a suit or swim trunks – ready to wear in any situation.

The movement(s)

Bulgari Aluminium collection

The time-only watches are powered by the Bulgari manufacture caliber B77, which is Bulgari’s take on the renowned workhorse ETA 2892 movement. An ultra-reliable movement, capable of chronometer-level accuracy when adjusted in the right hands, it will keep service costs down and provide a highly shock-resistant engine for this sporting and smart-casual model. The chronograph movement, known as the manufacture B130, is also ETA 2892 based, leveraging the 2892-4 framework to provide robust and reliable chronograph experience in a compact package. Both have a total of 42 hours of power reserve.

While not the most complex and complicated watches, these entry-level Bulgari watches create an amazing everyday wear experience at an accessible price point for the brand. It makes a compelling first Bulgari for budding collectors, or those who just want a straight-up fun watch that cannot be accused of being unoriginal in design. Bulgari, yet again, proves they are masters of novel designs and these novelties are no exception.

Bulgari Aluminium collection

The Bulgari Aluminium collection price and availability:

The Bulgari Aluminium is AUD$4340 and is currently available. The Bulgari Aluminium Chronograph is AUD$6250 and is also currently available. For more details, visit Bulgari right here.

Made in partnership with Bulgari. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.