Review of Bellagio Bel Tempo ‘Ravello’ Series Tonneau Chronograph

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Model # GWC 12047-4
At a Glance:
Brand/Model:  Bellagio Bel Tempo Ravello Series Chronograph
Movement:  Japanese quartz
Material:  stainless steel case, leather strap with deployant clasp
Complications:  date display, chronograph timing in one second increments up to 60 minutes
Price:  MSRP:  $380 USD (fantasy); street price:  around $75 USD
Plenty of photos follow the review.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.
I’ll try not to gush too much in this review, but sometimes the term ‘value’ really hits home.  To me, value means quality for a good price and this Bellagio Ravello Series Chronograph hits the nail on the head with that definition.
This is the third Bellagio watch I have owned and while I know next to nothing about the genesis of the brand, who actually makes them, if it’s a Chinese ‘mushroom’ brand or if they’ll be around next year, each Bellagio I have owned has impressed me with a solid build quality and unique styling.  But this new Ravello Series chrono is the finest Bellagio I have owned yet and one that really sets a new standard in quality for the price.
I always want one or two really fancy watches in my collection for the rare occasion that I need or want to wear something more elegant.  I seem to buy dressier watches never to wear them, even though my intentions are sincere.  But in this case, I truly believe this Bellagio Ravello will see some wrist time.
I also have owned several tonneau style watches in the past and although I want to like the design, it seems they never get the appropriate wrist time, either.  This is the first tonneau chrono I have owned and maybe that will swing it for me, in combination with the above comments about dress watches.
This Bellagio Ravello is available in several color combinations, some with silver cases and some with gold tone cases.  Other variations have silver, two tone or black dials.  When I saw this model, I thought it just had a really classy look to it and believe me, when you see it in person, you are blown away by its combination of class, detail, functionality and style.  Wow!
The fully polished, curved all stainless steel case measures 37.3mm in diameter without the crown, 43.2mm from the inside of the lugs top to bottom.  Lugs are 22mm, case thickness is 11.8mm.  The polished stainless steel back is secured by four screws!  Yes, it does not snap on like you might expect.  I find this to be extremely nice, since many tonneau style watches have a snap back, but Bellagio spent the extra dough to secure the back with screws.  Bravo!
The mineral crystal is curved and doesn’t display any noticeable distortion.  The dial is really quite intriguing.  The outer part has partial exploding type Romans and is finished in a nice champagne shade of light gold, with the applied markers in silver.  The inner part of the dial is striped silver, with the subdials recessed slightly and ringed with a darker shade of gold.  The subdial dials themselves are silver with a grooved pattern.  All in all, a superb presentation.
A quickset date resides @ 6, with a 24-hour subdial @ 3, the chronograph seconds subdial @ 6 and the chronograph 60-minute totalizer @ 9.  The watch hands are silver with white luminous and the center seconds hand is plain silver.  Those paying attention will notice that I mentioned the chrono’s second hand is the subdial @ 6.  Yes, this is one of those rare watches that has the chrono second hand in a subdial, with the main watch second hand in the usual center second position.  Another bravo to Bellagio (at least for those who like this design).
The movement is a Japanese Seiko VD53B and operates and keeps time just like it should.  Another plus for me and I am glad that Bellagio installed a Seiko movement, as I am not a fan of Miyota’s ‘OS’ series of quartz chronos that seem to be everywhere.  Bellagio also lists the battery type (371) on the case back, which is another nice touch.  The watch is factory rated at 5 atm water resistance.
But, this watch gets even better!  The simple crown has wide flutes and is unsigned.  The chrono pushers are amazing.  They are sort of rounded triangles with subtle grooves in them and are fit into the case with the case having matching triangular openings.  This is something you don’t see every day, especially at this price point!  Superb!
The signed slightly padded medium brown croc-look strap is all leather and of decent quality.  Not cardboard-like as you sometimes see with watches like this.  The strap is 22mm wide at the lugs and tapers to about 19.8mm at the signed, pushbutton polished double deployant clasp.  Another classy touch, this clasp is as nice at what you’ll see on a $300 Tissot.
Bellagio even hits a home run in the presentation department, with a signed outer box with separate lid and a very nice padded and stitched inner box with a tasteful brown padded interior.  They even include a genuine Selvyt polishing cloth that’s made in England.  It doesn’t get much better than this at this price point.
With all these features, the screwed down case back, beautifully polished stainless case with cool pushers, the detailed multi-layer dial, the Seiko movement, the strap with polished double deployant and great box set me back a whopping $53 USD delivered to my door because I got it on sale.  I find it hard to believe and amazing at the same time that Bellagio can offer such quality and good looks for such a small price.
Pros:  great presentation, from the box to the watch, it all looks and feels right
Cons:  a signed crown would be nice, strap could have more padding
Verdict:  $53 USD for this?  Are you kidding me?  A runaway hit in the value department, this Bellagio Ravello defines what a quality quartz tonneau chrono should be.  Well done!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics!
Excelsior!
-Marc
UPDATE!
Yep, I sold this one about three months after I purchased it, because of the two reasons I opened the review with:  too dressy and the tonneau shaped case.  But don’t get me wrong, this watch is a superb value for the price and if you happen to find a Bellagio watch for sale, take a good look at it, as I feel you will be impressed for the price.
-MCV, 8-8-11

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