Established back in 1884, the Italian fashion house celebrates its anniversary with a rose gold version of its Bvlgari Sotirio 125th Anniversary Edition wristwatch. With its symmetrical art-deco dial and so called “hunter” case back cover that seems to becoming more and more popular during the last couple of years, the timepiece produces a very strong impression. In fact, it looks like the most Italian (if not “Roman”) among recently introduced “Swiss Made” devices.
Of course, the 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 the cover is removed. Second, it really makes the limited edition timekeeper look (and feel) even more exclusive: there is clearly a certain kind of magic comes into play when you take the device off your wrist and open the back like you would have opened an century-old pocket watch.
Just like one may have expected (if he or she knows the story behind the Italian brand), the watch is named after 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 (the first one was established in his home village Paramythia, where it still successfully operates.)
Well, I think you can get acquainted with the company’s glorious history in a Wikipedia article or on their corporate website, so let’s get down to business.
The watch comes powered by an in-house Caliber BVL 250 automatic movement, which is made of exactly 250 moving parts and is just 3.73 millimetrs (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 quite 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 watch quite similar to the Bvlgari Diagono Retrograde Moonphase that was unveiled last Summer.
This is, as far as I know, the first wrist-watch that doesn’t bear a larger than life BVLGARI logo on its bezel and this is really a good thing.
The timepiece will start selling in September of 2009 at a recommended price of 29,000 CHF.
Production is limited to 125 units.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Bvlgari Sotirio automatic watch specification
Price range: 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 material: Gold
Case diameter: N/A
Case height: N/A
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