The Italian brand Bulgari is known for its extensive collection of snake-style bracelet watches. Usually comprising no less than two “coils” that gently embrace a lady’s petit wrist, the bracelets are crowned with a snakehead-shaped case that usually houses a compact quartz movement. This new Bvlgari Catene (refs. 102038 BBCP31WGGD1.2T/12 & 102052 BBCP31WGG.2T/12) (“catene” means “chain” in Italian, if I understand it correctly), however, features a slightly less radical styling that may be especially appreciated by persons suffering from ophidiophobia: an irrational fear of snakes.
As you can see on the pictures, the watch comes in a standard circular-shaped body, which is attached to your wrist using a “necklace chain” bracelet. Still using the same “coils” concept, the design looks a lot less serpentine. Fashioned from rose gold, adorned with 60 brilliants totaling around 2.50 carats and nicely polished, the bracelet is secured to a wrist with a standard triple folding clasp, too, in 18-carat rose gold.
Although the expensive trinket doesn’t look as dramatic as, say, their gorgeous 2012 Serpenti watch, it still makes a pretty strong impression, especially when worn on a thin wrist of a supermodel.
Since the watch is powered by a pretty simple Swiss quartz movement (Bulgari prefers to call it Caliber B046), they managed to make the case quite compact: it measures only 31 millimeters in diameter, which makes it suitable for just about any lady.
Well, perhaps the nicely shaped setting crown with its rubellite (aka red tourmaline) cabochon is a trifle too long to my taste (it may also be painful if the cone-tipped stone will bite you in the back of your hand if you tend to wear your watches low on your wrist,) but otherwise the styling of this elegant piece looks almost perfect.
What you may not like about this new collection is how the trinkets are actually priced. Ranging in their MSRPs from $43,500 for a “plain” rose gold version (ref. 102052 BBCP31WGG.2T/12) to even more impressive $57,000 for ref. 102038 BBCP31WGGD1.2T/12 that is pictured on the photo above, the wristwatches are clearly far too expensive for an average Jane. On the other hand, given how expensive Bulgari jewelry usually is, I would say that the price is (1) actually predictable, and (2) precisely targeted at the luxury brand’s normal audience: people who drive cars like Ferrari or Rolls-Royce and happen to live in mansions that cost more than a small village in Italy.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Bvlgari Catene quartz watch (refs. 102038 BBCP31WGGD1.2T/12 & 102052 BBCP31WGG.2T/12) specification
Price: $57,000 USD (ref. 102038 BBCP31WGGD1.2T/12) / $43,500 USD (ref. 102052 BBCP31WGG.2T/12)
Movement: Quartz, Bulgari B046, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: No data
Power reserve: 3-4 years
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case material: 18-carat rose gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Rose gold and red tourmaline
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 31.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: White mother-of-pearl, natural
Hour markers: Diamonds (approx. 0.13 carats total)
Hands: Leaf-shaped, rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: “Necklace chain” bracelet in 18-carat rose gold with 60 brilliants (2.50 cts) of different size, secured with triple folding clasp in 18-carat rose gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Solid