Time Zone: Bulgari’s Aluminium

The Bulgari Aluminium watch is perfect for checking how long before lunch while wafting around a Roman resort

Bulgari Aluminium chronograph

Silversmith Sotirios Voulgaris might have been Greek, but ever since he moved to Rome and chose to call his first jewellery shop “Bvlgari”, the Bulgari name has been as synonymous with the Eternal City as it is with Italy.

Watches joined the Bulgari line-up exactly 45 years ago as part of a company shake-up instigated by the founder’s grandson, Gianni – but it wasn’t until 1998 that the audacious Diagono Aluminium arrived.

Bulgari Aluminium chronograph

An instant hit with Italy’s jet set, it combined the luxury cachet for which Bulgari was famous with workaday materials – aluminium for the case and rubber for the bezel and bracelet.

Although discontinued after less than a decade, the “look” is now back in the form of the 40mm Aluminium and Aluminium Chronograph watches which are heavily based on the ’90s original, but have been gently tweaked by Bulgari’s urbane and effortlessly stylish watch boss Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani.

Alitalia Jumbo jet 747 – 1998

Cool, light, waterproof and legible, they’re just the job for those long, lazy days on the famous Roman beaches of Santa Marinella, Sperlonga and Ostia. 

And don’t worry about being out-styled by the peacocking locals; the Aluminium is as chic as watches get…

Bulgari Aluminium, from £2,430; bulgari.com

By Simon de Burton. Simon is a journalist and author who writes for the FT’s How to Spend ItBritish GQ and Boat International, among others

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