Bulgari Aluminium Ducati Special Edition Chronograph And Riding The Ducati Streetfighter V2: Italian Icons Photofest!
by Ian Skellern
It’s not easy to understand the value of a brand, which is a shortcut for knowledge: if I’m in the market for a family car and I neither know much about cars nor have interest (or time) in doing a lot of research, I might simply opt for a Toyota because one thing I do know is that Toyota makes reliable cars. On the flip side, if money is no object and I want a supercar Ferrari is likely to be the first on the list.
One of the reasons for the increasing prices and scarcity of many watches by big watch brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe is that large numbers of horologically uneducated consumers have decided that they want high-end mechanical watches. And lacking in-depth knowledge of both the market and the vast numbers of timepieces available, they go straight to well-known brands with good reputations they have heard of (you don’t need to know anything about watches to “know” that Rolex is good) and that are in demand (validation by many others).
Brands build their reputations (and value) by several means, including marketing and (hopefully) making good products over a long period of time. The bigger the brand, the more it can afford to spend on marketing and the more products it is likely to make over time, so the value of the brand increases.
But there are very few brands that punch way above their weight in terms of value because of the sheer passion they inspire. And one of these rare brands is Ducati. Even those who know nothing about, and have little interest in, motorbikes are likely to know that Ducati makes absolutely fantastic fast bikes that don’t just inspire passion, but generate lust!
So when Bulgari‘s motorbike-loving product creation executive director Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani decided that a partnership would be a great way to introduce a new chronograph variation to the Aluminium collection, Ducati sprang immediately to mind. And when he pitched the idea to Ducati’s director of style Andrea Ferraresi, the reply was a resounding yes!
Both Ducati and Bulgari are Italian brands with long histories of shared values of lightness, technology, design, and a deep passion for beauty.
Ferraresi shares that, “The collaboration with Bulgari is based on many elements that we have in common, first and foremost the fact that it is another Italian brand for which design is much more than a corporate asset, it is a true raison d’être. The quest for lightness, obsessive attention to detail, the use of fine materials and the creation of a distinctive and immediately recognizable design are the values that have inspired us in this project. Working on this project with Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Bulgari’s product creation executive director, whom I have known for 15 years, was a way of bringing together our passions: motorbikes and high-end watchmaking.”
Bulgari Aluminium Ducati Special Edition chronograph
You don’t have to be a Ducatisti to appreciate the Bulgari Aluminium Ducati Special Edition chronograph, but if you are you may notice that it features an eye-catching Ducati red dial with its three subdials (running seconds, elapsed minutes, and hours) inspired by the engine rev counter graphics on Ducati motorbikes: black backgrounds, white indexes, and red hands. The font of the only hour numerals (at 10, 11, and 12 o’clock) is also the same as those on Ducati’s instruments. The hour and minute hands are tipped with white Super-LumiNova for optimal legibility.
The 40 mm diameter case is in aluminum, while a black rubber bezel embossed with “BVLGARI BVLGARI” both protects the crystal and complements the (also embossed) black rubber strap. Both the crown and chronograph pushers are made of titanium.
“I had a great pleasure to visit once again the Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale in Italy and exchange with Andrea Ferraresi, discussing the many parallels between motorbikes and watches, our common passion for the beauty of the mechanics, and the Italian design approach,” said Bulgari’s Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. “For this special collaboration, the Bulgari Aluminium model was a natural choice due to its combination of materials, sporty character, and iconic look. The red color and the recognizable font that we use for the numerals on the dial are a nod to the captivating universe of Ducati motorbikes.”
The case back is in titanium, coated with hard-wearing black DLC and engraved with both the Bulgari and Ducati logos and limited edition number.
And in a nice touch, the watch comes in an anodized aluminum case with a soft black rubber interior.
The 40 mm diameter aluminum case is an optimal size for wearing comfort and legibility, and I found it fit easily under a tight leather jacket. My only gripe is that I’d prefer that the white date wheel match the red dial rather than break the look. Or even better, no date at all.
While this limited edition of 1,000 pieces is likely to be snapped up by the Ducatisti, it’s also just as likely to be appreciated by those attracted to its striking red dial.
An afternoon riding a 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2 around Geneva and France
What made the Bulgari Aluminium Ducati Special Edition chronograph even more special for me is that I had the chance to wear it for an afternoon while putting a 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2 through its paces thanks to Bulgari – not that I managed to stretch it anywhere near its limits.
The Streetfighter V2 features a 955 cc Superquadro V2, Desmodromic fuel-injected engine putting out 112.3 kW/153 hp of power at 10, 750 rpm through a six-speed gearbox, all mounted (appropriately considering the watch I was wearing) on a monocoque aluminum frame. The throttle is ride-by-wire as in modern aircraft.
My last two motorbikes were a Suzuki GSX-R1100 and a Harley Davidson Night Rod, which both had a lot more low-down torque than the Streetfighter V2; however, I quickly learned that its engine had more power than I ever needed once it started spinning over 3,000 rpm.
Pulling out of Ducati Geneva on an unfamiliar sportbike into busy traffic (and in front of Ducati staff and many more experienced riders) was daunting, but the Streetfighter V2 took the stop-go streets in its stride and felt light, responsive, and easily managable. And once it had a few revs it accelerated like a rocket.
The Streetfighter V2 is a fun bike, not a long-distance cruiser, and I think it would feel right at home on a race track. And while we (understandably) didn’t get an opportunity to put the bikes through their paces on a track, we did get out of Geneva into neighboring France to climb the winding road up the Salève mountain, which offers stunning views overlooking Geneva and the lake.
That was a highlight for me by itself as, despite living near Geneva for 25 years (before moving to central France a few years ago), I’d never been up the Salève before.
The afternoon was a great way to get some quality wrist time with the Bulgari Aluminium Ducati Special Edition chronograph and riding time with the Ducati Streetfighter V2, both of which perform flawlessly.
For more information, please visit www.bulgari.com and/or www.ducati.com/ww/en/bikes/streetfighter/streetfighter-v2.
Quick Facts Bulgari Aluminium Ducati Special Edition chronograph
Case: 40 mm, aluminum, 100-meter water resistance
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber BVL 130, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency; power reserve 42 hours
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph
Strap and buckle: black rubber bracelet and pin buckle
Limitation: 1,000 pieces