More than a few top-tier watchmakers have employed clear sapphire to construct cases in recent years. Among them is Bulgari, which has utilized the versatile corundum to illuminate select limited editions at least since 2011. And just two years ago Bulgari’s sapphire bridges, case sides and crystals allowed light to enliven the Tourbillon Saphir Ultranero, a dramatic play of shadows, green luminescence and sunlight.
Bulgari earlier this year continued to employ all these elements with its Octo Tourbillon Sapphire, which today debuts with a new pink gold skin. Where the premiere piece in this 44mm collection was clad in shadowy black DLC titanium, this latest iteration revels in luxury.
Yet, despite the change in case material, the watch’s mechanical manual-wind tourbillon continues as the star performer on a skeletonized green-lit stage. The flying tourbillon movement, Bulgari’s Calibre BVL 206, is made visible from all angles thanks to clear case sides, front and back. Green bars made of ITR2 (a material filled with carbon nanotube particles) and SLN, a high-tech luminescent material, brilliantly light up the movement. These green bars sit atop eleven black DLC bridges that double as hour-markers. As such, the bars cleverly serve to both support the movement and to denote hours and minutes.
The tourbillon is not all Bulgari sets on its own stage within this piece. As another pleasant effect of skeletonization, the watch’s time-setting works are also on display. Bulgari decided to use the opportunity to create a specialized setting method that avoids the need to pull the crown away from the case.
Here’s how it works: One press on the crown reveals a red dot in the micro-aperture at 3 o’clock, signaling that the time may be set simply by rotating the crown. Once the operation is complete, another press causes the dot to vanish and locks the time-setting mechanism.
Bulgari will release the Octo Tourbillon Sapphire in Pink Gold as a limited edition of twenty pieces, each priced at $78,000