Established back in 1884, the Italian fashion house celebrates its anniversary with a rose gold version of its Bulgari Sotirio 125th Anniversary Edition. With its symmetrical art-deco dial and a so-called “hunter” case back cover that is becoming more and more popular for the last couple of years, the timepiece produces a strong impression. In fact, it looks like the most Italian (if not “Roman”) among recently introduced “Swiss Made” devices.
Of course, Sotirio’s main point of attraction is the aforementioned flip-over case-back that basically serves two purposes. First, it provides extra protection to the sapphire crystal that allows you to admire the in-house self-winding movement when you pop up the solid gold cover. Second, it makes the limited-edition timekeeper look (and feel) even more exclusive: there is a certain kind of magic that comes into play when you take the device off your wrist and open the back like you would have opened a century-old pocket watch.
Just like one may have expected (if he or she knows the story behind the Italian brand), the collection inherited its name from the company’s founding father of Greek origin Sotirio Bulgari who is also known by his real name of Sotirios Voulgaris.
The famous Greek founded the luxury brand in 1884 when he finally settled in Rome, Italy, and opened there his second shop (he established his first office in his home village Paramythia, Greece where it still successfully operates.)
Well, you can dive right into the company’s glorious history in a respective Wikipedia article or on their corporate website, so let’s get down to business.
Inside the case beats the in-house Caliber BVL 250 automatic movement, which is made of exactly 250 moving parts and is just 3.73 millimeters (0.146in) thick.
Well, it is still twice thicker than the JLC Caliber 849 powering the gorgeous Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control 1833 Ultra Thin model, but it’s still thin for a movement that features a seconds hand and a calendar complication.
The Sotirio‘s silvered dial is nicely decorated with a vertical Cotes de Geneve pattern and is also partly skeletonized on the 3 o’clock to reveal about 10 percent of the calendar’s rotating wheel.
To somehow balance the things, Bulgari’s designers counterweighted the calendar cut-out with vertical guilloche decoration on the 9 o’clock.
The resulting X pattern on the dial makes the Sotirio similar to the Diagono Retrograde Moonphase that the jeweler has unveiled last back in 2008.
This is, as far as I know, the first wristwatch that doesn’t bear a larger-than-life BVLGARI logo on its bezel and this is a good thing.
The timepiece will start selling in September of 2009 at a recommended price of 29,000 CHF. They plan to make no more than 125 of these ultra-luxury beauties.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Bvlgari Sotirio in Rose Gold specification
Price: 29,000 CHF (around 25,000 USD or 19,500 EUR)
Movement: Caliber BVL 250, automatic, in-house, Swiss Made
Power reserve: 55 hours
Case: 18-karat rose gold alloy
Dial: Silver with golden numerals and hour markers
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Brown alligator leather
Case-back: Sapphire with rose gold “hunter” back cover