BY ERIK SLAVEN
Notwithstanding the use of gold and other precious metals, brands often use uncommon materials for watch cases to help them stand out. Bronze, titanium and even carbon fiber are examples. BVLGARI has again embraced aluminum for its second generation of entry level models, which differs from stainless steel in both appearance and weight. The brand currently offers aluminum three-hand and chronograph models, but a stylish GMT watch is now joining the pack. This one adds a bit of color to the more monochromatic collection and maintains a relatively accessible price.
The overall design stays true to the aluminum line with a rubber exterior bezel and classic BVLGARI double engraving, partially integrated rubber strap and familiar dial elements. The collection’s black bezel and strap are replaced with navy blue this time, adding a softer yet still muted tone. This gives it a nautical vibe as well, similar to a piece like the blue Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur. Like the other aluminum models, the case diameter is 40mm and both the crown and case back are titanium for added durability. The partially integrated strap design adds some visual complexity with a cylindrical lug style and exposed screws. The strap itself has aluminum “links” and a pin buckle, which is a signature design of the collection. The case is water resistant to 100 meters.
The dark blue and silver color palette is broken up by a red and blue “Pepsi” internal bezel. It’s designed for the GMT hand with 24-hour numerals and the two colors allow for a quick day/night reference. The main dial is a matching blue and shares design elements with the other models, including long applied indices with Super-LumiNova and oversized Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock. The hour and minute hands have somewhat small lume inserts at the tips, while the seconds hand has both a red tip and circular counterweight. The GMT hand has a red triangular tip with lume, adding to the red spatter within the dial. The square indices between the numerals on the blue section of the internal bezel are also outlined in red. An unframed, almost generic date window sits at 3 o’clock and curiously cuts into the internal bezel. I wouldn’t call it an eyesore, but overall execution could’ve been better.
Keeping things running is the B192 automatic GMT caliber, based on the ubiquitous ETA 2893-2. It beats at 4Hz (28,800vph) with a 42-hour power reserve, which is improved from the base movement’s 38 hours. Functions include central hours, minutes, hacking seconds and date with a quickset GMT hand.
The BVLGARI Aluminum GMT Watch is available at the brand’s website and participating retailers for USD $3,500, which falls between the three-hand models and chronograph. A bit expensive, but well priced for such a piece from the brand.
Visit BVLGARI here.