All that glitters is not gold

The Bulgari Bulgari Lady fuses feminine aesthetics with a self-winding movement. Ladies can choose a watch with delightful styling and mechanical virtue. Angus Davies waxes lyrical about this gorgeous timepiece from Bulgari.

Bulgari Bulgari Lady

The term, “All that glitters is not gold” is an everyday saying. The expression is derived from a line in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, except he wrote, “All that glisters is not gold.” It refers to the perception of something being seemingly precious but the illusion being subsequently dispelled.

However, when I hear the name Bulgari, I think of the finest jewellery gracing the felicitous figures which float across the red carpet. Any aspiring actress should familiarise themselves with Elizabeth Taylor’s exquisite jewellery. Should any starlet secure gems of equal provenance, then they can rest assure, they have arrived.

The Bulgari soubriquet has also adorned handsome timepieces. The Bulgari Bulgari was another creation of the famous and sadly departed, Gérald Genta. The maestro of horological designs penned some of the greatest and most iconic watches of the modern era.

The Bulgari Bulgari is available in different case sizes with a choice of steel or gold. It is the 33 mm self-winding gold version which is my favourite model. Bulgari offer a small version with a 26 mm case diameter and quartz movement. However, I can never emotionally engage with the inert character of quartz. It has to be mechanical to make me smile.

Bulgari make me beam with delight when viewing this modern feminine beauty. I am on a mission to extol the virtues of mechanical timepieces to all readers of ESCAPEMENT. Immerse yourself in the romance of horology with all the characterful nuances exampled by timed-served craftsmanship. There is no justification for buying quartz.

Those of inquiring temperament may query my title for this article. Well, this graceful watch glisters wonderfully, courtesy of not merely its rose gold case, but the brilliant-cut diamonds, mother-of-pearl dial and spinel adorned crown. There is virtue and profound quality in this sophisticated dainty.

The dial

Mother-of-pearl provides the canvas for Bulgari to express time with succinct delivery. Australia is the source of the white mother-of-pearl or Pictada Maxima. The dial is a model of clarity.

Bulgari Bulgari Lady

The hour and minute hands are gold with beautifully curving lines resembling the hips of a couture clad supermodel. They convey time with perfect diction, enunciating eloquently.

The central seconds hand is long and lithe, virtually kissing the inner bezel of the watch.

Bulgari have dispensed with numerals, selecting brilliant-cut diamonds in preference. This confers a deliciously decadent demeanour to the watch.

The case

The case bezel features the Bulgari Bulgari nomenclature, faithful to the 1977 original design. The horizontal plane of the bezel and vertical line of the caseband interface perpendicularly. This upholds the crisp quality of the design.

Bulgari Bulgari Lady

A case diameter of 33 mm is the judicious choice for the majority of wearers, reinforcing the feminity of the timepiece without the bulk of the larger cased version.

Bulgari expertly play with polished and brushed finishes. The case smooches with sunlight in a courtship ritual. The sparkling outcome is exuberant and effervescently engaging.

A cabochon cut spinel adorns the crown, shining and sparkling in a mere soupçon of light.

The movement

I simply could not purchase a watch which failed to tick to the metronomic beat of an escapement, even as a gift. There is no need to purchase a quartz watch, when you can select a self-winding Bulgari with beautiful finishing.

The automatic movement within this watch does not fail to impress with Côtes de Genève motif pleasingly featured. Bulgari have the expertise to produce high quality timepieces which harness a deep inner beauty, hidden from prying eyes.


The Bulgari Bulgari Lady whilst originally launched in 1977, received a makeover in 2011. The design is fresh and the beguiling looks have won many fans with the passage of time.

With Bulgari, all that glitters is not just gold, but several other luxurious materials harmoniously coalescing in pleasing concert. Yet, the greatest beauty is held within case, an industrious movement, steadily working to please and serve the fortunate wearer.

The Italian luxury brand has delivered a stylish timepiece with a design delightfully distilled with an intrinsic quality that only a mechanical timepiece can bestow.

Technical specification

  • Model: Bulgari Bulgari Lady
  • Reference: BBLP33WGL/12
  • Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 33.00 mm; height 7.65 mm ; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid case back.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds.
  • Movement: B77; self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph; 21 jewels; power reserve 42 hours.
  • Strap: Matt beige alligator leather strap on 18-carat rose gold pin buckle.

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