As a watch brand, Bvlgari has only recently come into my purview by virtue of the Octo Finissimo Ultra. The Ultra was the thinnest mechanical watch in the world for a while. I admired the engineering prowess that went into making it. From a design standpoint, however, it wasn’t my cup of tea. Digging deeper into the brand’s catalog, one will find the Bvlgari Bvlgari, known by some as the “BB”. This is a collection that sits better within my horological inclinations and perhaps yours as well.
Bvlgari is a brand that has been extensively covered on Fratello, from the Octo Finissimo and the modern, moderately priced Aluminum to the BB, which RJ covered back in 2020. One of its oldest lines of watches, the Bvlgari Bvlgari has always been a fan favorite. It has reasonable proportions and, for the most part, uses a classic design language. I’m glad to be able to tell you about the 2022 iteration of the Bvlgari Bvlgari, which comes with black DLC cases and bracelets in quartz and automatic versions. So let’s dig in!
A bit of history and overview
Founded in 1884, Bvlgari started making jewelry watches for women in the 1920s. The brand officially established its watchmaking arm in the late 1970s and would go on to acquire the Gérald Genta and Daniel Roth brands in 2000. One of its first and best-known watch collections was the Bvlgari Bvlgari. It debuted in 1977 and has been revisited multiple times in the past 45 years. There have been several limited editions, such as the one covered by RJ two years ago. For the most part, the BB has had modest proportions and has been quite successful among Bvlgari’s female clientele.
Often featuring 23–33mm cases made of steel, rose gold, and with or without precious stones, these watches were made for a jewelry-minded market. But regardless of their size or materials, their design is iconic for a good reason. The bezels show a Roman-coin-inspired double logo and the dial strikes the perfect balance between elegance and functionality. As a modern brand, Bvlgari thought it was time to add a larger size as we will discover below.
The 41mm Bvlgari Bvlgari 103540
The reference 103540 is the most masculine of all the Bvlgari Bvlgari models. This reference commands attention with a 41mm case and a black DLC treatment all around (except for the crown). All the markers are applied, and the ones at the 12 and 6 are emphasized with Arabic numerals. The pencil-style hands are slim like the hour markers, creating a nice visual balance. A discreet date window at 3 o’clock integrates well with the marker’s design. The double logo, a signature of this collection, is deeply engaged on the bezel.
More importantly, the 103540 comes with the 26-jewel manufacture caliber BLV 191. This movement beats at 28,800vph and provides 42 hours of power reserve. From a specifications standpoint, the 103540 is very close to the Roma limited edition that RJ wrote about. Indeed, the case size, movement, and dial layout are the same, but here, we have a lack of rose gold accents. One key difference between this and the smaller Bvlgari Bvlgari models is the steel crown with a ceramic insert. The smaller BB models normally come with a crown set with a stone.
Other noteworthy specifications include the full DLC-coated bracelet with a folding clasp, the black lacquered dial, and 50 meters of water resistance. The 103540 retails for €5,100 including VAT.
The 33mm Bvlgari Bvlgari 103557
The 103557 safeguards the typical BB dimensions with a 33mm case. Like its bigger brother, this reference features stainless steel construction and an all-black DLC treatment. The hour markers are also applied, and the ones at 12 and 6 o’clock are Arabic numerals. Besides having a quartz movement, the 103557 differs from the 103540 by having no date and a more traditional Bvlgari cabochon crown (a cabochon is a stone that has been polished, not sculpted, and is generally flat on one side). It’s worth noting, however, that this cabochon is ceramic. Like many smaller Bvlgari Bvlgari models, the 103557 is powered by the B043 quartz movement. This movement displays just the minutes and hours, and the watch comes with 30 meters of water resistance and a black lacquered dial. The 103557 retails for €3,850 including VAT.
The 103540 and 103557 are just two of the many new releases from the Italian brand. Of all of its collections, the Bvlgari Bvlgari may be the most popular worldwide, though watch enthusiasts tend to love the Octo Finissimo. The brand seems to have paid much attention to the latter in the past few years. Thus, adding a subtle air of novelty to the long-standing Bvlgari Bvlgari collection makes sense. And the brand did so by offering two all-black models in different sizes and equipped with different movements. If you are into having matching accessories with your partner, this is the perfect pair of watches!
For more information on these two new models and all other releases, please check out the official Bvlgari website.