The New, 38mm Bulgari Bulgari Brings Back the ’80s, in a Good Way

In glam gold, it comes in a perfect new size and is styled for peak nostalgia.

Are you ready for a return of the ‘80s? The 1960s and ‘70s were a golden age of watch design, but brands are now looking to other decades to spice up their vintage reissue repertoires. And the polarizing styles of that era are starting to look fresh again, or at least nostalgic. Ready or not, George Michael and the Bulgari Bulgari are here to rock your world.

Please feel free to hit play here and enjoy this article while listening to the sultry sax of George Michael’s classic, “Careless Whisper.”

Inspired by Roman coins and stemming from the pen of watch design celebrity Gerald Genta, the Bulgari Bulgari derives from the brand’s Roma watch of 1975. But it was the 1980s when it gained popularity, and a well-known picture of George Michael shows him wearing an example of the watch paired to his signature gold cross earring and five-o’clock shadow. It’s this model and vibe that the new watches seem to channel.

At first glance, the new Bulgari Bulgari might not seem like a major departure from the existing collection. The combination of case material and dial color are the only novelty here, you might be tempted to assume. This particular configuration might feel a bit ‘80s, but what’s most notable is that it’s rendered in a new size for the modern line.

You can already get automatic Bulgari Bulgari watches at 41mm or quartz ones in more petite sizes. The new watches, however, introduce an automatic model with a crowd-pleasing diameter. Its 38mm sizing is exactly what a lot of modern fans are calling a “sweet spot” nowadays. Smaller sizes are in fashion today, but let’s not forget that watches in the ‘80s were often even smaller.

Bulgari Bulgari
Bulgari Bulgari

It won’t necessarily win over detractors who sneer at the garish style of that glam decade, but it’s going to be even more attractive to a lot of enthusiasts who already embrace the era—or who just like the Bulgari Bulgari. I’m one of them. That giant logo branding with “Bulgari”-emblazoned bezel? Almost no other brand can get away with this kind of thing without being called a “fashion watch,” but Bulgari manages to pull it off stylistically and, of course, is beyond reproach in terms of horological chops.

Bulgari Bulgari
Bulgari Bulgari

Just as you’ll find in the existing 41mm Bugari Bulgari models, but now fit into a 38mm frame, the in-house BVL191 automatic movement beats inside. While it simply means “time only” in Italian, the brand referring to these movements mellifluously as “Solotempo” only adds to the charm. In addition to the 38mm automatic watches, the brand has also introduced quartz versions in 26mm and each comes in 18k yellow or rose gold variants. We look forward to variants in steel (or other materials) in the future.

Bulgari Bulgari
Bulgari Bulgari

Is the return of ‘80s styles a good thing? You’ll have to be the judge of that. But watch fans who were kids at the time are now of an age at which they can more likely afford luxury watches, and brands are happy to tap into their nostalgia. There’s a little bit of cheekiness in revisiting the ‘80s, but some styles that once looked over-the-top are starting to take on a different tint now that we’re safely and sufficiently removed from the era. Brands have been cautiously cherry picking inspiration from the decade, and we can expect more to come.

Tech Specs

Bulgari Bulgari Ref. 103967, 103968

Movement: Bulgari BVL191 automatic
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: 38mm wide, 8.75mm thick
Materials: 18k yellow or rose gold
Water Resistance: 50m
Strap: Alligator
Price: TBC

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