How things have changed. The Bulgari Roma was introduced exactly 40 years ago not as a standard production watch, but as a solid gold free gift for Bulgari’s 100 most important customers. That watch, launched in 1975 when Bulgari’s watchmaking was just a sideline to its principal jewellery business, nonetheless presented some features that would become Bulgari trademarks, such as the coin-like shape and the inscriptions “Bulgari” and “Roma” on the bezel, based on Ancient Roman coins. The rope strap with leather trim was an additional quirky extra. And the watch had a digital display, at the height of fashion in those years. The success of that piece led to a whole series of Bulgari Roma watches, and the addition of the “Bulgari Bulgari” range with the double inscription on the bezel.
This year’s Bulgari Roma Finissimo celebrates both the anniversary and the brand’s stature as a Manufacture, capable of creating superb in-house movements that break records for thinness. The case is 41 mm in diameter and just 5.15 mm thick.
Inside, the manually-wound Calibre BVL 128 is 2.23 mm thick. It runs at 28,800 vph (4 Hertz) with 65 hours of power reserve, with a power reserve indicator – a very useful feature of any manually-wound watch – on the reverse side of the movement. The 36 mm movement produces a high torque and, according to the brand, it will be developed with additional complications in the future. It can be seen through the sapphire caseback, with fine movement finish.
The three versions available comprise a limited edition model of 40 pieces in yellow gold; a version in pink gold with silver opaline dial, and a version in steel with polished black lacquer dial. The latter version shows how the brand, like several other top-tier watchmakers, is paying attention to extending its price range downwards.
The Bulgari Roma Finissimo limited collector’s edition (40 pieces) is reference BB41BGLXT – 102359, price around €23,000.