Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I believe it was in 2015 that Bulgari first debuted the Papillon Tourbillon Central as an extension of the Daniel Roth brand that they absorbed some years back. By now, all that is left of the Daniel Roth brand DNA is the "Papillon" name, distinctive case design, and movement architecture that exists within Bulgari's exclusive haute horology department. In other words, even though all the Daniel Roth branding is gone, those familiar with watches from the last 20 years will know the origin and recognize the DNA of this model. For everyone else, it is another interesting element of the dynamic Bulgari brand.

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Before speaking about the uncommon topic of central tourbillons, I'd like to for just a moment address those people who for whatever reason still dismiss brands like Bulgari as a "serious watchmaker" because the company's logo also exists on women's purses and fragrances. If you feel that owning a "fashion house" watch is "wrong," then you are only as correct as the quality of the watch itself. Moreover, if you feel that you are somehow "less of a serious watch lover" for wearing anything but a timepiece from a company who exclusively produces watches and nothing else, then you are unfortunately limiting yourself from enjoying a great number of truly impressive watches. But, I digress. If you're interested in reading more about this topic, check out my Point/Counterpoint discussion with our own James Stacey here.

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I, for one, like the blend of Italian-inspired design aesthetics with the mechanical magic that only comes from a carefully assembled and meticulously designed Swiss caliber. Indicating just the time, the Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central is yet another timepiece which is all about the emotion that can be elicited by playing on how we convey the simplest of information like the time.

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On
The Urwerk UR-210S

When I think of successful modern analog watches which are really good at showing the time in a way that doesn't use traditional hands I think of Urwerk. Even though the "satellite" concept of how their watches indicate the time isn't new, it is easily the most impressive rendering of the "wandering hour hand" concept. The beauty in said Urwerk watches is that they challenge the notion that time indicated in an analog manner is most efficiently done with three hands. They bring up a legitimate question as to whether or not that method of displaying the time can be improved upon.

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Admittedly the practice of indicating the time on analog dials via hands which operate in a continuous linear motion isn't just effective from a legibility standpoint, but is also very efficient mechanically since fewer parts need to do even fewer things. Thus, experiments on how we play with the notion of how to indicate time, such as on Urwerk watches or the Papillon by Bulgari will always be more complicated, and thus more exotic and expensive.

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On
The Urwerk UR-210 Clou de Paris

The reason I keep mentioning Urwerk is that while the Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central does not function in the same manner, the operation of the minute hand is sort of similar. This isn't the first Papillon watch around, as I stated earlier, as it pre-dated the Bulgari name on the dial, but this is the first time I recall it being moved a bit more to the periphery of the dial versus being right in the center.

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The way it works in the Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central is that two hands alternate to indicate the minutes along the track that makes up a half-circle on the bottom part of the dial. The hands rotate into place when being used, and when one reaches the end of the minute scale it rotates horizontally and the other hand takes over. This prevents the need of a jumping retrograde hand - which only adds to the wear and tear on the movement given all the jumps. The solution for indicating the minutes is both elegant and clever.

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On

My only complaint is the fact that Bulgari decided to go with a mirror-finish for the hands which renders them difficult to see in various lighting situations on the dial. Making these already smaller hands for the minutes a bit more conspicuous would have been a good idea. Perhaps in the future, though, as Bulgari is only producing a total of 40 pieces of the Papillon Tourbillon Central.

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central's next quirk is in how it indicates the hours. Here we have a jumping hour mechanism which displays the hours in 24-hour format via a window at 12 o'clock. I am actually not sure I am aware of any jumping hour watches of this nature which prefer a 24-hour versus 12-hour format as it requires an even bigger disc to place all the numerals on.

  • Martin

    Fantastic watch, visually and tehnically appealing, like the size, the combo of “time reading” and I wouldnt mind having a Bulgari logo on my wrist that s 4 sure…
    My only regret these watches are only made through limited gold/plat. editions. Why not making the steel version without tourbillon, I think that would look equally good

    • Martin

      And affordable (forgot to mentioned)

      • IanE

        ‘And affordable’ – speak for yourself! [Still, I know what you mean, in a relative sense.]

        • Martin

          Wanting and dreaming, at least I can do only that…affordable is always relative sense 😉

  • ??????

    What we know about papillon? A dog, a film and a book.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8646544b49c3af2e31cfec0004e01d9b036273bb856575ae1ad2ccdc56fbef41.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a2ed6aafe2cc4bd40dd34a645c60d3906762c55a8215a400286948548faf553a.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/52c2dbd5dda0a623b07167d4d5fd2c97bcc8a2ee1013d21747a69ab0155d574f.jpg
    But no, it is a butterfly in French and a central tourbillon must resemble one indeed. BVLGARI is definitely capable of creating amazing haute horlogerie while free from covering bezels with their name.

    • hatster

      …a butterfly….

  • David Williams

    Clever and interesting, but maybe its primary purpose isn’t telling the time.

    Anyone else agree that the Omega and the Haldimann look much better?

    • SuperStrapper

      I don’t, no. The haldimann is not even a watch, so I’m not sure how it can be part of he conversation, and the open worked look of the Omega doesn’t do it for me. As an aside, I don’t know that I would consider a tourbillion from a brand like omega. It’s just not a strength of theirs.

      • David Williams

        Ha, yes, the H8 lies somewhere between unconvincing conceptual art and a bad joke – good-looking case though!

      • BTW Haldimann makes legit awesome watches, including readable central tourbs. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbf712e8e864e37f8039c1753fdbe75a993e2a6f4d3a8b7a357f945e6337378a.jpg

        • SuperStrapper

          oh, i know, and they are usually the busness. But I always feel like they do it under duress and would rather just produce nothing but non-watches that arent watches but from a distance look like watches.

          • It’s the other way around. I know someone who works closely with him and the “art” pieces make up a minuscule proportion of their output for very particular clients, but the watch media inversely covers them to the far greater proportion.

          • SuperStrapper

            so watches have their own CNN and MSNBC?

          • You are live right now – so swearing!

          • Shinytoys

            The Haldimann is beautiful. First time I’ve seen one.

          • Turn to page 52 and 169 😉

          • Shinytoys

            another bonus…thanks

  • I wouldn’t care whose name was on the dial – it could be called the Charles Manson Special Edition – if I had the means, I’d plunk down my AMEX Black card and have the shopkeep deliver it to my yacht, posthaste.

    The Yacht also being called “The Charles Manson”.

    The only problem I’d have is choosing between the platinum and the rose gold:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6827b8f2412c5ea7c24d8ae446c90115730f9add1154ce95bc1172ca668b187b.jpg

  • Marius

    This is a technically interseting watch that also happens to be quite attractive. The only aspect that I don`t like is the black ring sorrounding the tourbillon; that looks rather cheap, to be honest.

    Personally, I find the Omega tourbillon much more attractive, not to mention the fact that, as far as I know, Omega was the first brand to use a centrally-mounted tourbillon.

    Another “problem” that I have with this watch is that I am a very big Daniel Roth fan. As a result, I would much rather spend this money on ordering a watch from the man himself. Today, Daniel Roth manufactures two-minute tourbillons under the name Jean Daniel Nicolas. Besides getting an almost completely handmade watch, you are also getting one of the most important watchmakers manufacturing your timepiece. For those who don`t know, Daniel Roth was hugely important for the development of modern-day Breguet. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7fe1f14df6c239bf731b652716ca6d92863808c44dba7c24520d5b5b8030584f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f9e72e3efe13e262667671e14a93bd85798a9c27d6c5a3a99d9d01a1ec684446.jpg

    • Shinytoys

      top initial picture is very nice…

      • SuperStrapper

        Interesting how 2 distinct looks are achieved with the same movement. I also prefer the more traditional case shape over the pinched waist look. The crown looks rather crude on that one and more thought should have been put into the implementation.

  • SuperStrapper

    Thinking of central turbillons, I always conjure images of the vintage Omega. I didn’t know they were still producing them.

    Regardless, tis is interesting, but appears like a few item just didn’t make it to the final cut. This is not a watch that Roth would have produced. The ‘handset’ just look like unfinished scraps of metal. In both shape and function they lack elegance and form. While I can understand where you were going with it, I wouldn’t put URWERK in the same conversation as a watch like this. URWERK is the epitome of cool and unique watchmaking from where I sit, and they make it seem so effortless (i.e. no superfluous tourbillions required). Even the movement view here leaves some to be desired.

    I like the concept for Bvlgari to be chasing down, but this watch needs a few phases of evolution methinks.

    • That Omega is the reason I am obsessed with watches. It was my first real hit on the horological pipe.

  • Berndt Norten

    Love everything about it except the seemingly SevenFriday look. Good grief is this a case of trickle up design?

  • Shirley Furby

    Would like a picture of the pink gold front. I like it. Nice report with good pics.

  • BNABOD

    1st pic I thought to myself “hum heck no” this is really poorly finished piece but then with the better pictures later on in the article the Bulg certainly grew on me. I would say the ring of plastic of whatever it is made off around the tourbillon could have been simpler and classier and so could the minutes. at these price points I expect nothing less than spectacular and when it falsl a tad short it is a bit of a let down.

  • DanW94

    Much prefer this Bulgari to the Omega that’s shown. Love the jumping hours, and the manner in which the minute indicators switch is pretty slick. And even though they’ve become somewhat redundant at this point, I’m a sucker for a tourbillon (even though they’re way out of my price range). A great looking watch IMO.

  • Hands down (pun intended) my favorite Bvlagri.

  • hatster

    OK, so I can’t actually find anything to like about this watch. But that is what makes this industry/blog interesting….

  • At least Urwerk has the full amount of hash marks on the minute scale. This Bvlgari only has three hash marks between every 5 minute indicator. That bugs me.

    • SuperStrapper

      The 00, 10, 20, etc all count as marks, as do the 55, 45, 35 etc. Whereas the URWERK does the same, but puts them behind additional hash marks. It does make for a cleaner rewarding experience, although some will say that the URWERK is ‘busier’. Those people should be burned.

      • Yeah, the 5 in 50 is 51 and the 0 in 60 is 59. I hate that.

  • Shinytoys

    I have to say, Bvlgari can do little wrong with their watch designs. This model is quite fetching…

  • J O

    Is the time on the cover photo 4:10? If not, I have no idea how to read it.

  • Yanko

    The back of the watch looks sooooooo cheap.

  • J O

    So the hour is in the place of the usual day number – military time 16:00 = 4:00 pm so I guessed correctly 4:10 …odd little arrangement.
    Certainly a different approach to design, not one I would want, but it is a conversation piece.

  • Ulysses31

    Despite the sophistication shown here, the result is somewhat “cheap” looking, with rather flat, uninspiring sections on the dial. Not what I would expect from Bulgari.