Bulgari Diagono Ultranero Chronograph

Hands-on: "I flew with my Bulgari Diagono Ultranero Chronograph”

Does this watch loosen tongues? In any case, the flight attendant on this Geneva-Nice flight confided in me.

By Joel Grandjean

What could be more impersonal, smiling and sometimes sleek than a flight attendant on a short haul flight aboard a low-cost plane? It takes 45 minutes to travel from Geneva to Nice. In the meantime, the flight attendant has to handle the takeoff, announce that the flight is on time, that the weather is good above the clouds but not so good in Nice. Not only that, they also have to take you through the safety demonstration in an appalling climate of indifference. They furthermore have to be patient, especially when selfish people decide to use their credit cards instead of cash. They also have to go down the aisle pushing a full trolley, not too dissimilar to a Swiss knife, which offers from light food to captive shopping. No one, except for first time fliers, pays attention to the routine of a flight attendant, which is only punctuated by superficial exchanges. However, on that day, I was wearing this Bulgari, an icebreaker.

Bulgari Diagono Ultranero Chronograph

Masculine but…

It is amazing how the engraving “Bulgari” on the bezel can fascinate women. After all, even if it is on a round watch, the signature is visible from a reasonable distance. The three push pieces the watch features indicate that it is a chronograph. When you are on a plane, it happens that a flight attendant brushes past you, especially if you are not seated next to the window. In this case, my timepiece was up to its old tricks. It caught the eye of the flight attendant who gave me her usual smile. “Yes, yes, it is a Bulgari. No, no, the brand does not only manufacture incredible jewels but also made a respectable breakthrough in Swiss watchmaking some years ago; particularly with some most masculine complications and iconic collections”. At this, Julie, the chief attendant of this flight, wanted to know more. She was wearing a watch of some unknown brand, the kind that is bought on planes and which is not always Swiss Made. It was quite a trendy model and its size could well have fit a man’s wrist; a bit like my Diagono Ultranero Chronograph and its 42-mm diameter.

Bulgari Diagono Ultranero Chronograph

Finding myself in my element, I enthusiastically told her that this watch would fit her perfectly even if there is a quite masculine touch to the chronograph because its name is directly derived from the Ancient Greek word “agon” which means “competition”. I even made her try the watch on right there, during the flight. She then told me that flight attendants too face competition. We were getting along well and discovered that we shared a mutual passion for Greece, and so I told her that Bulgari produced the first Diagono a quarter of a century ago. Incidentally, I came to know how old she is because she mentioned that she was ten at the time. It was a baffling model, which, apart from its classic dial, sported the Discobolus of Myron, a universal symbol of sports strongly linked to the culture of ancient athletes. The strap of that first model was made in aluminum, which was light and resistant. At the time, the material was alien to watchmaking. The 2014 version that I was wearing that day honors this heritage as it is made with carbon and ceramic. The DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) - treated steel case - Julie’s eyes sparkled at the mention of the word “diamond” – is scratch-resistant and contemporary and its rubber strap has been strengthened with satiny steel inserts.

Bulgari Diagono Ultraner Chronograph

Promising conversation and a hypersensitive bezel

She then inquired about what I do for a living and was curious to know how I developed my passion for watches. I dodged the question a bit and brought our conversation back to the timepiece. I told her that it is water-resistant to 100 meters. With it, I could become a frogman or even a prince charming if some princess decided to kiss the frog. I know, my joke was cheap but her smile did not dim. At that moment, I don’t know what got into me because I started giving her some technical details of the watch. The timepiece houses the in-house B 130 caliber. I went to on explain that in-house meant that Bulgari did not buy its mechanical watch movement but carried out some research and then developed and produced its own exclusive one. At that point, I still had her undivided attention. I continued and showed her the back of my watch so she could admire the micro-mechanical view. I explained that the decorated rotor, which moves when I move, means that the movement is self-winding. It beats like a heart at 28,800 vibrations per hour and features 42 hours of power reserve. In other words, the watch, even though it is easy to wear, can be laid on a bedside table for almost a weekend without stopping.

At the word “weekend” and a watch laid someplace where sleep turns into unspeakable dreams and when time is supposed to stop, there was a moment of silence. She seemed to be caught in her thoughts. Did I delude myself? Honestly, if I had not borrowed this Bulgari to test and if its more than reasonable price of CHF 8,800 was below the risk to take, I would willingly have given it to her on the condition that we see each other again. I would have played it like this: “Wear it, try it, as it fits you so well too, give it back to me when we see each other again!” Did she think along these lines too? Nevertheless, we exchanged our phone numbers and email addresses. Thank you, Bulgari.

Bulgari Diagono Ultranero Chronograph
Also available with red hands, with a DLC-treated steel case, with steel and black ceramic crown and push-pieces and with a one-piece rubber strap with steel inserts and a pin buckle. This version is sold at CHF 8,800. The version with white hands is sold at CHF 8,500, whilst the two-toned version which features 18-K gold screwed bezel, crown and strap inserts costs CHF 10,500. They all house the B130 caliber.

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