The launch of the Bulgari Aluminio in 1998 created quite a stir. Its unusual combination of black rubber and lightweight aluminium resulted in an unconventional but highly attractive, eye-catching sports watch with a slick Italian soul. In 2020, Bulgari staged a much-anticipated comeback of the Aluminium with automatic movements and an increased water-resistance of 100 metres in time-and-date, chronograph and GMT models. This summer, Bulgari revisits its GMT Aluminium in a limited edition decked out in the colours of Italy’s majestic Amerigo Vespucci training ship.
Amerigo and America
America is named after Amerigo Vespucci (1451-1512), the Florentine explorer and navigator who proposed a revolutionary theory that the lands Christopher Columbus reached in 1492 were part of a separate continent from Asia. The first use of the name “America” (a Latinised version of Amerigo) appeared on a 1507 map by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, depicting the new continent, which incorporated vital data collected by Vespucci during his voyages to the New World.
The Naval School
The Amerigo Vespucci is a tall ship of the Marina Militare used as a training ship for navy cadets. The young naval apprentices learn to navigate with traditional equipment using sextants to calculate the position of the ship and climb the masts to ensure the rigging of any of the 26 canvas sails. Regarded as one of the most beautiful Italian ships in the world, this full-rigged three-masted vessel was built in 1930 in the style of the 74-gunships of the late 18th century. The Amerigo Vespucci is easy to spot with her black hull emblazoned with two white stripes and golden trimmings.
Travel the world and the Seven Seas
A GMT is a fitting complication to honour the heritage of a maritime voyager like the Amerigo Vespucci and an immensely practical complication for today’s travellers crossing time zones. Designed with user-friendliness in mind, the GMT complication offers local and home time at a glance, and both functions can be set at the crown. Like the earlier Aluminium GMT model, the Amerigo Vespucci shares the same specifications and comes in a 40mm aluminium case with a slim height of 9.70mm. Aluminium is exceptionally light (75% lighter than steel and 40% lighter than titanium), and the case weighs just 68.6 grams. The distinctive matte white radiance of the aluminium can be appreciated on the lugs, case sides and the articulated links of the strap. Fitted with a black DLC-coated titanium crown flanked by crown guards and protected by a sealed caseback, the watch is water-resistant to 100 metres.
One of the most distinguishing features of the Aluminium collection is the thick rubber bezel inscribed with Bvlgari Bvlgari. Picking up on the vessel’s black hull, the rubber bezel of the Aluminium Amerigo Vespucci is black, matching the black rubber strap. Home time can be tracked on the bright yellow and black anodised aluminium 24-hour flange with white numerals indicated by a central yellow arrow-tipped hand with lume. The yellow and black details on the sloping GMT flange and dial are meant to reference the golden trimmings and black railings of the Amerigo Vespucci.
The dial’s centre is black with bold white indications, designed to evoke the Amerigo Vespucci’s black hull with white stripes. Large Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock and long white hour markers, all treated with Super-LumiNova, ensure accurate readings of local time in poor light conditions. The missing marker at 3 o’clock is replaced with a rectangular date window with a white background and black numerals.
Other yellow details include the minute track and the tip and circular counterweight of the central seconds hand. Naturally, the hour and minute hands are also liberally painted with Super-Lumi-Nova. Another detail that references the Italian provenance of the watch and the vessel is the Italian flag that appears above 6 o’clock.
The sealed titanium caseback is engraved with “Nave Scuola Amerigo Vespucci” and the motto “Non chi cominicia ma quel che persevera” (Not he who begins, but who perseveres). Hidden beneath is the BVL calibre 192 based on a classic Sellita SW 330. This automatic movement, which allows the GMT hand to be adjusted in one-hour increments at the crown, beats at 28,800vph and delivers a power reserve of 50 hours.
Availability & Price
The Bulgari Aluminium GMT Amerigo Vespucci is a limited edition of 1,000 pieces and is delivered in a special mahogany wood box. The price is EUR 3,950 or CHF 3,820.
For more information, please visit Bulgari.com.