L’Ammiraglio del Tempo from the Bulgari Daniel Roth series is a grand complication timekeeper that unifies some of the most intricate and challenging complications in horology. It is not only equipped with a striking mechanism that includes four hammers and gongs, as well as Westminster chimes, but also with a detent escapement and a constant-force device that enable an exceptional performance. The immensely complicated movement which is comprised of 516 components is visible at the bottom section of the dial and thus the skeletonzied movement reveals its main strong points. Additionally, the striking mechanism of the watch is activated in an original way that does not need an inclusion of an additional slider which would impair the purity of the case’s lines. The watch is also made with the use of precious materials; namely its large case and the dial are made from gold. Bulgari Daniel Roth L’Ammiraglio del Tempo is made in two exclusive editions. There are 20 pieces in red gold and just ten in white gold packages. The price of the newcomer is very high as it can be expected and measured to around $381,025.
Marine Chronometer Origin
The name of the new Bulgari timekeeper – L’Ammiraglio del Tempo is the Italian phrase which means the Admiral of Time. A probable reason for such name is one of its exquisite and very demanding traits – the presence of a detent escapement which is quite different from Swiss lever escapements which are omnipresent in contemporary timekeepers. This type of escapement first arouse in the 18th century in the era of great naval expeditions. Its main purpose was to enable better accuracy which was of paramount importance when navigation on the sea depended on a punctual timepiece. The improved performance of detent escapement is based on three of its traits: the minimal interference with the balance that oscillates, its improved energy efficiency and the fact that it does not need any lubrication. These characteristics are based on its very construction. Contrary to its Swiss lever counterpart where the said lever transfers the energy from barrel spring to the balance in two impulses, a detent escapement creates just a single impulse which regulates the amount of energy which is transferred from the barrel spring, as well as the energy’s redistribution to the balance. In yesteryears, this was a crucial difference that resulted in better accuracy.
Despite its superior precision, detent escapements are still extremely rare in wristwatches because they are very difficult to create on a smaller scale and because of some of the common problematic issues that are associated with their functioning. One of the crucial faults of this sort of escapement is its excessive sensitivity to shocks. Bulgari overcame this problem by altering the design of a detent arm. It is supplied with an added safety roller which prevents the slipping and unlocking of the escape wheel. Another possible danger is the inclusion of a cylindrical hairsping that was used in old marine chronographs. This solution is also characterized with better precision, as well as a greater risk of malfunctioning. The potential excessive rotation that can occur when a cylindrical hairspring is included was neutralized with an addition of a pinion that connects it to a security wheel.
Additionally, the manually-wound movement of the new Bulgari watch that beats at a slow rate of 14,000 vph is supplied with a constant-force device, a mediating spring located in the movement’s gear train that ensures that the regular torque is transmitted to the escapement regardless of the state of its 48 hour long power reserve.
Furthermore, Bulgari L’Ammiraglio del Tempo piece is equipped with a striking mechanism. Namely, it features Westminster chimes which match the sound of the striking mechanism on the Big Ben. This sort of trait means that the mechanism creates a short melody on every quarter of an hour and all of the quarters are sounded differently. For the first quarter, there is only one bar of four notes, while every subsequent one is signified with the inclusion of another bar of four notes to the melody.
The fact that L’Ammigraglio del Tempo has a minute repeater is clearly visible since four gongs and hammers of its mechanism can be seen on the skeletonized section of the dial. What is not so clear is the means for the activation of the mechanism. Unlike the watches with the same complication, this watch does not include a visible slider or a push-piece which would trigger the audible indication of time. This is because the slider is actually cleverly disguised. It is in fact hidden in the lower left lug which can be tilted 30 degrees to the left side. After that, the minute repeater sounds the correct time. This sort of solution is not only original and interesting, but also very functional from the design angle. The lack of the additional slider prevents the disruption of harmonious lines of the case which has the recognizable styling of the Daniel Roth series. Moreover, the clarity and overall quality of the sound that the minute repeater emits is top-notch, once again proving the brand’s prominent place as one of the most successful manufacturers of watches with a striking mechanism.
By the way, the irregularly shaped housing of the watch features the length of 50 mm, the diameter of 45.75 mm and the thickness of 14.9 mm. Considering that the watch is made with an 18 K gold casing, the larger dimensions certainly raise the price of this superbly complex watch even further. The construction of the housing also includes sapphire crystals on both sides of the case, while the supported water resistance of the watch is 30 meters. Bulgari L’Ammiraglio del Tempo is coupled with a leather strap which locks with a simple pin buckle.
There are two versions of the watch. The more numerous is the one with a red gold case and an upper section of the dial which is also made of gold and painted in black (the face also features skeletonized golden hands and four Roman numerals). This version is made in 20 pieces. Even scarcer (10 piece edition) is the second version in white gold. This variation is made with a blue dial. Both restricted series of the model feature attachments in the same color as their dials.