Review: The Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central

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Bulgari reveals the Papillon Tourbillon Central at the ninth Salon Internacional de Alta Relojeria in Mexico City. This new piece features a concept central tourbillon, jump hour display and an interesting interpretation of a ‘butterfly’ minute display.

Signed by Daniel Roth, the unique mechanism bears two independent, retractable, diamond-shaped hands on a supporting disc. The minutes are successively indicated by each of the two hands. The first is positioned on the segment and thus signals the progression of the minutes, while the second one stays in a fall-back position. The Papillon system also has the advantage of using less power in comparison with the classic minutes indicator and therefore has a longer power reserve.


The Bulgari Papillon Tourbillon Central, fitted with a Papillon centre tourbillon, jumping hours mechanism and a minutes display complication. As this model pictured is a prototype, the minute arrow non-indicator hand is at 180 degrees. A production model’s hand will be flipped to 90 degrees when not indicating the minutes.


Central flying tourbillon Calibre BVL 266. The 60 seconds tourbillon beats at 3 Hz or 21,600 vph.

The Papillon Tourbillon is powered by a hand-wound manufacture movement, a central flying tourbillon Calibre BVL 266. Apart from a patented unique Papillon minutes indicator, the watch houses a jumping hours by disc display on ceramic ball bearings. It beats at 21,600 vph (3Hz), and has a 60-hour power reserve.


The see through caseback reveals the handiwork of Daniel Roth. The movement has a 60 hour power reserve with the indicator at the back of the movement.

The movement is decorated by hand with circular graining, gold engravings, sunburst cloisonné motif and straight graining. While the dial side has a one of a kind display with a central tourbillon, the movement back plate hides almost the entire movement and leaves more to be desired. Similar in case design as the Bulgari L’Ammiraglio del Tempo Minute Repeater, the Papillon tourbillon is sized at 45 mm in diameter and is 11.9 mm thick. The watches come in two precious metals in either 18k pink gold or 950 platinum.


The Papillon Tourbillon Central is sized at 45 mm in diameter and 11.9 mm in thickness. It uses a box-type sapphire crystal and a sapphire inlay in the crown.

Now that we have most of the watch described, let’s jump straight to the meat. The meat lies in the dial side. Interesting to note is Bulgari’s affinity with ‘cult’ watchmakers. For instance, the late Gerald Genta, and now Daniel Roth. Some may raise questions such as “Is Bulgari a fashion brand?”, how then can it legitimately sell its watches? Similar to Montblanc’s Minerva, Bulgari’s tie-ups with Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth, as arguably famed watchmakers at different points in time, adds legitimacy to the brand’s timepiece collection. Genta’s signature Octo case designs, jump hours, retrograde minutes have now become a staple in Bulgari’s watches. Apart from Genta’s influence, this Papillon model draws its cues from a more Daniel Roth perspective. For obvious reasons. We can see some of his design inflections on the Papillon dial. Jumping hours, and a 60 minutes half dial display.


We find the watch to be a very interesting piece. Not for the usual independent watch type gimmicks with movable parts, but for its mixed heritage across watch makers. That said, the complication type while fascinating, has its own set of competitors in the market and making a lasting impression maybe particularly difficult. The watch is limited to 10 pieces for the platinum version and 30 pieces for the pink gold version.


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