Hands-On: Bvlgari Aluminium Three Hand – The Diagono Lives on!
Aluminium is not a typical material used in the watchmaking world, but Bvlgari is not a typical company. The Italian watch brand has carved a bit of a niche for releasing expertly engineered watches with a healthy dose of Italian style.
When talking about Bvlgari, I’d forgive you for immediately thinking of the famous and successful Octo Finissimo. After all, this is the brand’s flagship model family and the one that’s famed for breaking all sorts of records in the watchmaking industry. That said, it’s not the only watch of note made by the Italian brand. Enter the Bvlgari Aluminium.
The Diagono lives on
The Bvlgari Aluminium is essentially a refresh of the old Bvlgari Diagono Aluminium family. The new, updated aluminium series represents the entry-level into the world of Bvlgari’s watches. These new watches have dropped the Diagono name and have some visual and mechanical updates too. One key visual factor remains, though, that being the signature hinge-type strap/lug combination.
…all that changed when I got this watch in hand.
Love it or hate it, it’s one of the Bvlgari team’s key aesthetic design choices. I’ll admit, at first, I found it kind of visually jarring, and it took me some time to come round to it, but come round I did. I think that rings true of the watch itself too. In the standard press images, I wasn’t incredibly hot on the design. It just didn’t inspire me, but all that changed when I got this watch in hand.
Starting things off, let’s talk about the case. It helps that the size is a sweet spot for me at 40mm. I’ve worn watches up to 44mm and as small as 36mm, and I can appreciate both. Indeed there is room in my collection for all sizes; I’m an inclusive collector. However, over time, I have found that 38-40mm seems to offer the right size to best fit my wrist. Before I’m crucified and reminded that there are other contributing factors to a watch’s visual impact, I know. Lug to lug and thickness et al. make a big difference, but 38-40mm is a good average starting point. It’s all subjective though.
More than just for tin cans
The Bvlgari Aluminium watches are indeed made aluminium. I bet you didn’t see that coming! Aluminium is somewhat of an unusual choice of material in the luxury watch industry and not one you’ll see very often. I don’t think I can name another aluminium cased watch off of the top of my head. While often associated with cans of fizzy pop, aluminium offers some key benefits making it a legitimate alternative to stainless steel. It is super lightweight and surprisingly durable.
…it will appease a wide range of collectors.
The rest of the design clearly displays its Diagono roots. The big, bold ‘BVLGARI BVLGARI’-signed bezel lives on; this time manufactured out of sporty black rubber. The crown and case back are made of titanium and are DLC treated to match the black bezel. The signature hinge-type lugs appear to be quite short, but you mustn’t forget to consider the fact that this ‘hinge’ adds on a little bit of extra length that isn’t immediately obvious. The total lug-to-lug length is about 48mm. As you can see, the notched strap attaches to the case with screws. Overall, this watch wears nicely and is plenty comfortable on the wrist. It’s a sensible size choice from the brand and will appease a wide range of collectors.
We have previously covered the chronograph model in a hands-on you can read here. That model came with just one dial option, but the time-only expands that choice to two options. In keeping with the monochromatic color scheme, those choices are black or white. If you were hoping for bright, vibrant colors then you may be disappointed. However, seeing as the case is made of aluminum, it lends itself to being anodized, so you never know, there could well be color in this watch’s future. Just not yet.
The rather eye-catching strap is a rubber affair. On each half of the strap, you will find two hinges with aluminium centerpieces visible. It is not one you’ll easily be able to replace with a third-party alternative, though. Firstly, the attachment system is proprietary and uses screws. Secondly, the case lugs have a small notch cutout for the strap to join. That’s not really a massive issue because I believe that the strap design is integral to the watch’s overall aesthetic. It would lose something if you were to swap it out. This may be a kicker for some of you who like to tinker with your strap collection!
This movement gets the job done nicely.
Finally, you may be wondering what engine is powering this lightweight beauty. It is officially the Bvlgari B77 automatic movement, but in reality, this is a solid if unspectacular ETA 2892-A2-based movement. Like its ETA counterpart, it has a standard 42-hour power reserve. This movement gets the job done nicely. Some may wish for a fancier in-house movement, but remember this is an entry-level Bulgari watch. Some sacrifices have to be made!
In all, I was nicely surprised by the three-hand Bvlgari Aluminium. It’s a cool watch and perfectly suited to someone looking for something a little different. Priced at €2.950, you can read more on Bvlgari’s website here.