Bulgari’s sapphire tourbillon is nothing new. It has been available in limited editions for a number of years, using the GG 8000 calibre manually wound tourbillon movement (70-hour power reserve, 21,600 vibrations per hour). Whether set with baguette diamonds or resplendent in precious metal cases, the emphasis with these models has always been on a classic look.
All that changes with the arrival of the new Bulgari Tourbillon Saphir Ultranero, which as its Italian name suggests, comes in a technical all-black look with a DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coated titanium case. This already sporty allure is enhanced to unique effect by the use of microtubes inside the case that are filled with bright green SuperLuminova as a continuation of the luminous green hour markers. This vivid colour is all the more striking against a background that consists solely of deep black and transparency. Even the hour and minute hands are skeletonized, further highlighting the luminous arrowhead tips and making the watch supremely legible – something that is not necessarily a given for a highly skeletonized piece like this.
This look works all the better with the architecture of the case, whose protruding screws give the resemblance of a porthole (or maybe even a submarine hatch, if you take a look at the highly tactile crown), but one that is paradoxically see-through. Since the movement is mounted on a sapphire crystal plate and both the barrel drum and tourbillon carriage bridge are skeletonized, the transparency is optimum.
There are only two downsides to the Bulgari Tourbillon Saphir Ultranero. The first, as with any tourbillon, is its price. If you want to make a statement with this statement watch, you will need a spare 200,000 Swiss francs (to put that into context, for the same price you could buy 29 of the latest Octo models for your friends and keep one for yourself). For those with the cash, though, it remains a worthy contender in the technical tourbillon category. But that brings me to the second downside: only 30 are available worldwide.