Unboxing the $4,600 Bulgari Gran Turismo Watch

In a GTPlanet exclusive, we can reveal the contents of the limited Bulgari Aluminium x Gran Turismo Special Edition watch box set courtesy of avid Gran Turismo memorabilia collector and GTP site member Jules_r.

One of the biggest surprises of the 2023 Gran Turismo World Final was the announcement of a collaboration between the game and luxury fashion jeweler Bulgari. The link-up itself wasn’t necessarily the surprise — after all, GT has previously twinned with Bulgari’s stablemate at Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Dior — but the two-fold output from it certainly came out of left-field.

Gran Turismo 7’s players would see one part of it, through a newly created Vision Gran Turismo concept car, designed by the man behind the Fittipaldi EF7 VGT, Fabio Filippini. This will become available to buy in the game at the end of February but was in fact added to GT7 in update 1.42; without the second part of the collaboration you’ll only be able to see certain other players and the AI driving it.

That second part is the Bulgari Aluminium x Gran Turismo Special Edition watch, a GT-themed timepiece which marks both the collaboration and the tenth anniversary of the Vision Gran Turismo project. At a total production run of just 1,700 pieces — 500 with a yellow dial (SKU 104006), and 1,200 with an anthracite dial (SKU 103893) — coming it at $4,600 each, it’s quite the collector’s piece.

Even for such an avid collector as Jules, who we’ve previously featured following his purchase of an original Gran Turismo Racing Pod, it was a steep price: “When I heard the details of the watch, which was when I was at the Barcelona event, I figured £4.5k was way too much to spend on something that I likely wouldn’t use,” he told us — adding that it’s more than twice as much as the pod cost.

Given that we’re writing about his purchase though, it’s obvious that he eventually changed his mind: “I couldn’t stop thinking about it… I’m a serious collector, and serious collectors just don’t say no!”.

It’s a good job too, as the initial run of the watch (with the exclusive DLC code) was only on sale for a specific 24-hour period and prospective owners would have to apply through an anti-scalping system called EQL Run Fair. “I went through the process from the hotel room on the Sunday evening after the event, but before feeding myself!” says Jules.

Jules was one of the 50 lucky applicants to be selected, and a little over a week later, the watch arrived in its special, one-day only form of the box set. The remaining examples of the watches are available as standalone items, with the 450 yellow items exclusive to Bulgari’s boutiques and the anthracite pieces available in other stores.

“Opening it up was quite an experience, as you would expect. Even the outer ‘shipping’ box is nice quality, and when opened has the Bvlgari logo printed on the inside of the box. The black presentation box has a very high quality feel about it… it’s like a cloth-textured covering and has the Bvlgari X Vision GT inscription on the inside of the lid in reflective print, like foil.”

“After removing a couple of pieces of very nicely folded tissue paper you see the contents of the box. The model car and watch case are mounted in their own sections with a little wallet which was just floating around in there. This contains various documents and the QR code which is on an aluminium, credit card-sized plate.”

That QR code is the key to getting yourself a free example of the Bulgari Aluminium Vision Gran Turismo car in Gran Turismo 7. However, in a little twist, the tickets for these cars are only delivered to the game on the 25th of each month, which means that Jules hasn’t had the early access to the car yet as he didn’t scan it until more recently!

The car model presents as a vacuum-molded speedform depicting the upper half of the Vision GT car, with the watch in its own separate presentation case in the lower half of the box.

That leaves the watch itself, which is one of the 500 yellow-faced items. As we noted in our initial article around the unveiling, this features GT-typeface numerals — with an enlarged “10” on the minute dial to mark VGT’s tenth anniversary — and the Vision GT logo etched on the diamond-like carbon (DLC) treated titanium caseback.

Bulgari Aluminium fans will note the characteristic rubber strap with aluminum links, while the watch — a Caliber B381 chronograph, with the Sellita SW300 movement and a Dubois-Depraz module — is water resistant to 100m. We’re going to assume Jules won’t be testing this particular functionality out!

There was yet more to come too, as Bulgari dispatched another mystery item to Jules. “That evening I got an email from FedEx to tell me that a package was on its way from Switzerland. I didn’t have a clue what it was!”

This transpired to be an exclusive print of the design sketch of the Bulgari Aluminium Vision GT, signed by Bulgari’s Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani and dated December 3 2023. You might note that it also includes the Italian spelling of Barcelona too, suggesting that the print is one of a handful signed by Stigliani at the World Final.

The drawing itself also shows some highlights of the car, including the central projector headlights, the black rubber-clad roll hoops (inspired by the Aluminium’s strap) and the wheels designed to look like rotating casement screws.

It’s certainly an impressive piece of memorabilia and one that we’re pretty happy is finding a home in a collection as broad as Jules’s — which you’ll be able to see soon on his “extreme collection” website, granturismocollector.com.

“The whole opening experience was almost worth the crazy price! It really was nicely presented and I’m pleased that I spent the money,” says Jules.

“It is crazy, but as someone pointed out, watches can be a very good investment so who knows, it might not have been quite as crazy as at first thought!”

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