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The Bulgari Diagono Ceramic
Bulgari, say the name and the vision is of magnificent gems, fabulous jewellery, with exquisite settings and Italian flair for design and so it was as creators of fine jewellery that Bulgari first gained renown. Now, however, it presents luxury items across a wide range of products from beautifully styled handbags, exquisitely crafted accessories to fine perfumes. And of course it makes watches, with the same attention to detail and cutting edge design which exemplifies its other collections.
In the 1940s it began its watch making enterprise. In 1977 it presented the classic Bulgari Bulgari watch and in 1982 established at that centre of Swiss haute horology, Neuchatel. Twenty years ago it launched the Diagono, its name we are advised is of Greek origin and meaning “competition”. In 2012 it has added to that collection with the launch of the Diagono Ceramic range, a quartet, two for the men and two for the ladies.
Those for ladies are 37mm diameter, offered in steel or satin-finish pink gold with white ceramic bezels, white mother of pearl dial and brilliant cut diamonds marking the hours. They have an iridescent quality. In form it is like its male counterpart with the Calibre B130 self-winding movement and three sub dials but they are deliciously feminine with the jeweller’s art on display to complement that of the watch maker.
Those for men scream masculinity. Again there are two versions steel or 18 ct. pink-gold, dials either silver toned or gold toned. With the attributes of a magpie and a predilection for gold, my eye is drawn to the latter version and in focussing on the men’s watches I am indirectly commenting upon all members of this quartet. All ooze elegance, two radiate feminine charms and two display rugged handsomeness.
The dial is raven black against which the hour batons stand out forcefully, silver or gold in colour according to the version selected, some reduced in length to accommodate the sub dials. Only at 12 o’clock is there a number indication.
All three sub dials lay below the 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock markers occupying the lower two thirds of the dial. That at 3 o’clock depicts the seconds; that at 6, the hours. The minutes are shown at 9 o’clock. The simple dials have broad chapter rings which in the gold edition exude warmth. In each case sturdy hands point out the progress of time.
The principle hands are facetted and like the hour batons treated with Superluminova. Those in the silver version are, like the hour markers, rhodium or gold-plated.
A small date aperture is sited at 4.30, simple and discrete.
Clear viewing is afforded by the sapphire crystal glass which is not only scratch resistant but also glare proof.
The surrounding black ceramic bezel is satin finished and has the double Bulgari Bulgari logo engraved upon it although not as wide as on previous Diagono models. In consequence the dial is larger and more visible.
The men’s version is predictably larger at 42 mm. It is carefully sculpted and I think its lines are highlighted more in the gold because of the greater contrast in colour between the gold and the black, not as forceful in the steel.
Modern in its lines, its shape is rugged in outline and yet smooth in its finish.
In the gold I love the way in which the form of the ceramic screwed down crown is emphasised by the contrasting shining of the smooth gold base and top and the vertical grooves around its cylindrical shape. The appearance is more subtle in the silver. The screw at the top echoes those on the lugs.
The ceramic chronograph pushers are ridged and strong in form and yet in the feminine versions seem so much more like cushions, softer, because of the colour. It’s the same structure but a contrasting effect, skilful design exemplified.
Bulgari has earned high regard for its creation of complicated movements.
As stated all versions have the self-winding Swiss Calibre BVL 130 movement.
The 37 jewel movement has a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and affords a power reserve of 42 hours.
As anticipated with a watches of this quality attention has been placed on the finishing so that within reside exemplary Côtes de Genève engraving, circular graining and snailed motifs, sadly not for public gaze because it has a solid case back but we know it is there.
The men’s version is water resistant to a respectable 100 metres and the ladies’ to 50 metres.
With the contrasting colour tones and finishes there is a predicable variation in straps. Those for the men are either black rubber with steel inserts or in my preferred version, having them in pink gold. In the ladies’ versions the choice is white rubber and steel or the gold inserts. Straps are secured by a pin buckle, again steel or pink-gold.
The screws attaching the strap are characteristic of Bulgari and a distinctive feature of the interhorns.
Swiss made appears in small letters at 6 o’clock but the Bulgari name features prominently on the dial and on the Bezel and quite rightly so. If you can create a watch of this beauty in form, shaped to perfection and so wonderfully fashioned and presented then it merits the name to be exalted.
- Model: The Bulgari Diagono Ceramic
- Case: steel or 18-carat pink gold; diameter 42.00 mm (men's); diameter 37.00 mm (ladies’); water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres) on men's version; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres) on ladies' version; sapphire crystal to front.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; chronograph; date.
- Movement: Calibre BVL 130, self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 37 jewels; power reserve 42 hours.
- Strap: Mono-block black rubber with steel or 18 ct. gold inserts for men, white rubber for ladies. Steel or 18ct pink gold pin buckle according to model