Updated for the year 2013 with whole six new members -all showing different combinations of precious stones and precious alloys-, the gorgeous Bulgari Astrale collection now includes even more finely-cut gemstones of different shapes and colors and even more diamonds adorning their gold bezels. With the Astrale ref. AEP36D2CWL (reviewed here) looking the most appealing among them, it still retains the same simple quartz movement that some customers may find not exactly on par with the gadget’s recommended retail price of $27,000 USD.
Of course, the movement is usually not what high-jewelry timekeepers are bought for (hint: they are usually bought for the combination of jewelry and precious metal alloys put together by a skilled hand of an artisan,) so, I imagine, the Italian fashion brand will have no problem selling these expensive beauties.
Featuring the traditional Mediterranean luxury, the Astrale AEP36D2CWL comes in a medium-sized rose gold body with a peculiar, “multilayer” bezel, which is adorned with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling around 1.63 carats, and eleven gemstones, including green, egg-shaped peridots, violet amethysts and even bright yellow citrine. Together, the stones look like exotic fruits lying on a rose gold plate.
Since the precious and semi-precious stones take so much real estate on the timekeeper’s body, the dial opening is predictably small but is adequate for the task of telling time. The white mother-of-pearl dial serves as a perfect background both for the gold hour and minute hands and the traditional oversized BVLGARI inscription in its upper half.
The recessed, almost flush setting crown makes the watch not only more beautiful, less utilitarian in its look, but also allows for more daily comfort: at least, it won’t bite into the back of your palm at the time when you least expect it.
I am not sure whether the jewelry maker will introduce another version on a rose gold bracelet, but even this dark grey satin strap looks like an adequate choice for this Italian beauty.
As for the movement, it is still a simple Swiss-made quartz job that was “personalized” for Bulgari and given a new “Caliber B033” designation. I am not sure about its reparability, but, guesstimating the price tag of this watch to be comparable with a price of a compact city car, I think that, if the worst happens, it won’t be too expensive to simply throw the faulty caliber into a dust bin and replace the quartz engine with a new one.
Bulgari Astrale Jewelry (Ref. AEP36D2CWL) specification
Price: $27,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Caliber B033, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case: Rose gold, 18-karat
Size: 36.00 mm
Dial: White mother-of-pearl
Hands: Rose gold, polished
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Satin strap with 18kt rose gold folding buckle and round clasp with BVLGARI logo