Maybe not as classy and well-advertised as the major Swiss-based manufactures, the relatively young Bertolucci brand is nevertheless capable of producing a sort of wristwatches characterized by their stark and well-balanced design. Their new Serena Garbo Chronograph (ref. 3188.8.131.52D), for example, features a surprisingly rich design language with lots of well-chosen details that together form a solid quartz timekeeper: a rare thing in a niche dominated by watches featuring crude (sometimes, deliberately so) approach to design.
Just like one may gather from the name of the collection, the Serena Garbo Chronograph features a movement with a standard chronograph function.
Powered by a “Swiss-made” ISA quartz caliber 8162/220 that you can find inside many affordable quartz chronographs and sports a battery with an impressive life span of three and a half years, the new watch features a tri-compax dial layout.
However, instead of the usual “chronograph hours + minutes + small seconds”, there is a lot more useful combination of a 30-minute chronograph totalizer at 10 o’clock, a subsidiary seconds display at 2 hours, and a circular oversized “day of the week” indicator at 6 o’clock.
The small (if not plain tiny) date aperture, which is on this movement normally placed at 4 o’clock, has also been transferred to 6 hours to add some extra symmetry to the dial, which features a bit too much of off-centered indicators. Although the dial’s styling certainly has some art-deco flavor, the watch as a whole looks surprisingly modern thanks to its black glossy bezel and black bracelet inserts of the same color and finish.
Frankly, I am not overly impressed with the setting crown: its shape not only sounds like an off-key note here but also makes it a bit uncomfortable to operate the timekeeper.
As usual, you can operate the chronograph function with just a pair of polished stainless-steel push-pieces located at 2 and 4 o’clock. The former starts and stops the chronograph and the latter performs the split/reset function. Unlike the crown, the pushers look ergonomic enough for comfortable operation.
Bertolucci decorated the dial with a pattern that resembles the omnipresent Cotes de Geneve stripes, but thinner and, well, more decorative. As it is customary for this price range (the watch will retail for an impressive $2900,) there is a nice sapphire crystal with an anti-glare coating to protect the dial from dust, water, and such. As you can see, the long and wide hour markers, as well as the skeletonized hour and minute hands are bigheartedly covered with bluish luminescent compound, which basically means that nighttime legibility will never be a problem (at least in case that you wear this little beauty on your wrist giving it a chance to recharge).
Although quartz calibers are usually packed into compact cases, the Serena Garbo Chronograph sports a large stainless steel case 41 millimeters in diameter and just 12mm in height.
The thick case provides the watch with a certain presence, which is usually reserved for mechanical, self-winding models, but still keeps it wearable even with tight-cuffed shirts.
The watch gets some extra appeal thanks to the glossy black-colored bezel, setting crown, and elements of the bracelet.
No info on pricing yet*.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
* UPDATE ON PRICE: The Serena Garbo Chronograph is currently sold at €2900. Sounds expensive considering that for the price you can get a nice ETA 7750-powered chronograph from a reputable Swiss-based brand.
Bertolucci Serena Garbo Chronograph specification
Price range: €2900 (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Swiss Made
Complications: Date, day of the week, chronograph
Power reserve: A couple of years
Case: stainless steel, some elements coated with PVD
Diameter: 41.00 mm
Height: 12.00 mm
Dial: Black, decorated
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Stainless steel with PVD coated elements