Even if most of the buzz has been generated around the successful Octo collection – and its multiple thinness world records – there is more than just one modern icon produced by the Italian watchmaker/jeweller. Based on a model introduced in the mid-1970s, the Bvlgari Bvlgari collection perpetuates this love affair between Bvlgari and its country of origin, with a deceptively simple design that actually incorporates multiple references to Italian culture. Today, the brand launches the Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities Editions 2020, inspired by the nine cities – Rome, Tokyo, Dubai, Paris, London, Ibiza, Milan, Mexico City and New York – that have hosted Bvlgari in the past.
A 1970s Background
The original design of the Bvlgari Bvlgari, with its signature cylindrical case and bezel engraved with the brand’s name and Roma, was first introduced in 1975 as a limited edition gift for 100 of Bvlgari’s best clients. With its unexpected combination of a yellow gold shine, a classic round case, engraved bezel and digital display (very 1970s indeed), this exclusive and rare watch was the starting point to one of Bvlgari’s most emblematic designs. In the same vein, its plaited rope with leather trim strap, reminiscent of the Roman attachments typically used in antiquity, it was still very much Bvlgari. This watch celebrated the deep connection of the Bulgari family to Rome and made Bvlgari the very first brand to engrave its name on the case of a watch. And the watch was a success.
Following this design language, the brand decided to launch the Bvlgari Bvlgari as a permanent collection as of 1977. If the plaited rope strap and digital display were out, what remained was the typical case, the engraved bezel and a dial with a combination of thin batons and Arabic numerals, which would all define this collection for the decades to come. This collection also consecrated the entrance of Bvlgari into the watch industry.
The Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities Editions 2020
Following the design codes introduced over 40 years ago, the modern Bvlgari Bvlgari collection is an interesting combination between these classic elements and contemporary watchmaking. Not a new watch per se, today’s Cities Editions 2020 is based on existing models, which we already presented here, playing on combinations of materials such as Black DLC, rose gold or patinated bronze. What’s new here is the exclusive distribution of the watches and what’s engraved on the bezel… The iconic “ROMA” at 6 o’clock isn’t the only version available anymore.
The case of the Bvlgari Bvlgari retains its sleek cylindrical shape inspired by the columns of ancient Rome monuments. Over the years, the design has slightly changed, the watch becoming bolder, and crafted in stealth materials. The case is also larger than in the past, now measuring 41mm in diameter. For this Cities Editions 2020 the case is matte blasted stainless steel with a black DLC coating. An 18k rose gold crown creates contrast.
Also a signature element of this collection, the bezel is still engraved and proudly bears the name of the brand. This bezel is also deeply rooted in the Roman culture, as it was inspired by the imperial Roman coins in which the name of the Emperor was engraved on the outside of the coin, leaving the centre free for his portrait. Specific to the Cities Editions 2020 is the engraving at 6 o’clock, which depending on the model chosen (and where you actually purchase the watch), will show Rome, Tokyo, Dubai, Paris, London, Ibiza, Milan, Mexico City and New York.
The dial is an ode to the earliest models too, as its design is basically identical to the original 1977 watch, yet with bolder shapes. The black lacquered grained dial has rose gold applied baton indexes and baton hands, as well as a discreet date at 3 o’clock.
The watches from the Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities Editions 2020 comes with two straps that can be used interchangeably: one brown calf leather strap and one black rubber strap with a woven pattern, echoing the plaited rope strap of the 1975 digital watch. It is delivered in a black grained leather pouch.
The beating heart of the Bvlgari Bvlgari watches is the in-house calibre BVL191 with automatic winding. Measuring 25.6mm in diameter, it features a cross-wide balance bridge and it operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour. A stop-seconds mechanism allows for precise setting. The winding is bi-directional and it can store up to 42 hours of power reserve. Turning the watch over, the calibre BVL 191 can be seen through the sapphire exhibition caseback. It is decorated with thin Geneva stripes and polished bevels.
Availability and price
Each watch in the new Bvlgari Bvlgari Cities Editions 2020 collection is inspired by the nine cities – Rome, Tokyo, Dubai, Paris, London, Ibiza, Milan, Mexico City and New York – that have hosted Bvlgari in the past. Priced at EUR 4,250, each version is only available in the respective Bvlgari boutique.
In addition to the watch, each Bvlgari Bvlgari City Edition 2020 comes with a set of twelve unique art prints created by nine talented young artists who were invited to share their own vision of those cities and their connection to the Bvlgari brand.
More details at bulgari.com.