The Bulgari Roma was created in 1975, the same year Bill Gates founded Microsoft. Flared pants and high boots were in fashion, and watches were slim and minimalist, with digital technology just emerging. The Bulgari Roma was revolutionary for its time. The movement was digital, and it was the first fashion watch to be marked prominently with its maker’s logo, which was engraved on the Roma’s wide bezel. The Roma was produced as a one-off special edition, as a gift for the best 100 clients of founder Sotirio Bulgari. It was also a tribute to the beauty and influence of Rome: the engraved logo was inspired by the mark of sovereignty on ancient Roman coins, and the braided strap – a departure from the bracelet straps of the day – was made of plaited rope with leather trim, reminiscent of ropes used by the ancient Romans. Thus, modern elements were combined with classic references, and an iconic timepiece was born. Orders for the watch flooded in from all over the world (from both men and from women), and Bulgari decided to extend its production, introducing an analog series with traditional hour markers and two hands, called Bulgari-Bulgari.
The Bulgari-Bulgari Roma has been further updated over the years, and remains an important part of the Bulgari timepiece collection. There are automatic, chronograph and even tourbillon versions, as well as anniversary editions that have become collectors’ items. This year, the brand is introducing four new editions to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Roma: the Bulgari Roma Finissimo, Bulgari Roma Finissimo Tourbillon, Bulgari-Bulgari Solotempo and Bulgari Roma Tubogas.
The Roma Finissimo anniversary edition has a 41mm case made of 18k yellow gold, and contains an ultra-thin, hand-wound mechanical movement created by Bulgari, the Caliber BVL128, with a 65-hour power reserve. The case is a mere 5.15mm thick. There will be 100 pieces of the yellow gold anniversary edition with a black lacquer dial. There is also a pink gold version and a steel version.
The Roma Finissimo Tourbillon is a 41mm pink gold watch that is also extremely slim, 5.15mm and it contains Bulgari’s hand-wound flying tourbillon Caliber BVL 268, the world’s thinnest hand-wound tourbillon.
The Bulgari-Bulgari Solotempo has a 39mm case made of 18k pink gold (with a black alligator strap) or steel (on a brown alligator strap). It contains the Bulgari-made automatic Caliber BVL 191, with a 42-hour power reserve and an instantaneous jump.
The Roma Tubogas celebrates another of Bulgari’s signature design creations. The Tubogas bracelet, developed by Bulgari in 1980, marks an important fusion between jewelry and watches, which honors Bulgari’s roots as a jeweler. The articulated gold bracelet coils around the wrist like a snake. It is also a subtle design reference to the exhaust pipes of beautiful cars of the Roaring Twenties. The new Roma Tubogas has a 26mm steel case topped with an 18k pink gold bezel engraved “Bulgari Roma” and an 18k pink gold crown set with a tourmaline cabochon. It has a brown lacquer dial with a sunray effect and 12 diamond hour markers. The double-wrap Tubogas bracelet combines 18k pink gold and steel, and is available in two sizes. The movement is quartz. Only 1,975 pieces will be produced, in honor of the year the Roma was founded. Each piece will be numbered: ie. (1 out of 1,975).
All of the new pieces in the Bulgari Roma collection were introduced at the Baselworld fair earlier this year, and are now available at Bulgari boutiques and top retail jewelers.