Four hammers and gongs, a minute repeater and a Westminster chime. While this inventory of horological functions might already make an impression on watch connoisseurs, the picture is far from complete. Activated by an innovative repeater slide, the striking mechanism of Bulgari’s new Grande Complication model L’Ammiraglio del Tempo, is presented with a detent escapement and a constant-force device; the latter is a regulating organ that embodies the ultimate level of horological complexity.
Meaning The Admiral of Time in Italian, L’Ammiraglio del Tempo refers to the maritime universe and evokes the era of sailboats and seafaring conquests of the history’s great naval powers. The detent escapement originated in the 18th century, a time when maritime nations vied for dominion of the world’s oceans. It was also a time when watchmakers competed to produce the most accurate time-keeping instruments. In an era when satellites did not exist, sailors determined their geographical position at sea by astronomical observation, as well as by using the most accurate possible time calculations.
Generations of watchmakers dedicated themselves to solving this conundrum. One of the most important inventions emerging from this period was the detent escapement, which provided a degree of reliability unparalleled at the time.
The elaborate 516-part movement used in L’Ammiraglio del Tempo is housed within a case belonging to the Daniel Roth line. One particular element plays a specific role in the activation of the striking system: one of the lugs is, in fact, mobile and serves as a repeater slide that glides from 7 to 8 o’clock to trigger the minute repeater. This innovative device ensures a smooth case middle that is unperturbed by the usual sideways protruding repeater slide. The 50 mm-diameter case frames a partially open dial revealing the detent escapement as well as the striking hammers and gongs. The “solid” part of the dial is made from a plate in black or blue gold according to the metal of the case. This ensemble is topped by a bell-shaped sapphire crystal that provides tantalising glimpses of the hand-crafted Côtes de Genève and circular-grained movement finishes.
L’Ammiraglio del Tempo is issued in two limited series of 20 in 18K pink gold, and 10 in 18K white gold. Each watch bears its individual number on the sapphire crystal disc adorning the crown.