Bulgari has teamed up with Steve Aoki to create the Aluminum Steve Aoki, a funky version of its aluminium-and-rubber watch. Launched in 1998 and then revived last year, the Aluminum is an entry-level, lightweight sports watch that’s been given a subtle but fun twist with the “O” from the American DJ’s signature incorporated into the dial.
Born in California – his father founded the popular Japanese restaurant chain Benihana – Steve Aoki is one of the world’s most successful DJs, having collaborated with various musicians from Maluma to BTS. A fixture in the “Top 100” rankings by industry publication DJ Magazine, Mr Aoki also has his own streetwear line, making this collaboration with the Roman jeweller a natural evolution.
A hit upon its revival last year, the Aluminium is cheerful and affordable, while having an easily recognisable Bulgari design. Its design is strong enough that I find it to be one of the most fascinating watches in its price segment, despite the generic movement. The only downside of the Aluminium is the softness of the metal, which means the watch case will show wear more quickly than a steel watch. And careless wear will result in a case that looks very worn.
The Aluminum gets better with Steve Aoki collaboration. The DJ’s emblem on the dial is modern, bold, and a perfect match for the spirit of watch. But it’s also discreet – hardly visible during the day at arm’s length – preserving the classic design.
Notably, Bulgari’s collaborative editions are often tasteful – the Octo Finissimo designed by architect Tadao Ando being an obvious example – resulting in unusual but appealing designs with discreet details.
But unlike the Octo, the Aluminum is one of Bulgari’s most affordable products, resulting in a collaboration that’s playful and accessible to most, not only because of its affordability, but also because it’s a “special” rather than limited edition.
The collaborative elements are subtly incorporated into the watch – just Steve Aoki’s signature on the case back and dial – without changing the original Aluminium design that’s simple but effective.
As with Mr Aoki’s profession, the action starts at night. The entire dial, save for the hands and indices, has been painted in Super-Luminova, creating a glowing face reminiscent of backlit digital watches from the 1990s.
And the rest of the watch is stock Aluminum, which means the robust ETA 2892 inside, as well as a useful 100 m water resistance. Notably, the watch is featherlight, with its case in aluminium and bezel in rubber, while the bracelet is a mix of the two materials – rubber links with aluminium hinges.
Key facts and price
Bulgari Aluminium Steve Aoki
Diameter: 40 mm
Water resistance: 100 m
Movement: B77 (ETA 2892)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Strap: Rubber link bracelet
Limited edition: Total quantity unavailable
Availability: Only at Bulgari online store and boutiques
Price: US$3,050; or 4,260 Singapore dollars
For more, visit Bulgari.com.
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