Geneva Watch Days: Bulgari’s New Octo Finissimos Continue to Go Beyond the Eleme

Geneva Watch Days: Bulgari’s New Octo Finissimos Continue to Go Beyond the Elements by Using a New Material

In June, we learned Bulgari’s contribution to Only Watch 2023’s upcoming charity auction is an Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Marble featuring a titanium case and bracelet covered with a Verde di Alpi marble. Now, the brand is continuing its “Material Odyssey” at Geneva Watch Days by presenting two Octo Finissimo watches, an Automatic and a Perpetual Calendar, with cases and bracelets made using its new CarbonGold material for the first time.

By Ash Longet
PR & Business Development

It is unequivocally true, at least in my mind, that the Octo Finissimo is responsible for placing Bulgari on the radar of watch collectors and sparking an engaging discourse about the limits (or lack thereof) in watchmaking within our community.

In fact, if, in some crazy scenario, I was forced to pitch the Octo Finissimo to someone who had never seen nor heard of it but only allowed a mere 10 seconds in which to do so, my message would be: It is a horological masterpiece that seamlessly marries suave sophistication and technical prowess with a generous sprinkling of Italian allure, resulting in a modern and distinct timepiece that dances effortlessly between the realms of style, substance, and charisma.

A Model of Twists & Turns: The Octo Finissimo’s Material Odyssey Begins

Since 2014, Bulgari has artfully woven into its Octo Finissimo a slew of complications, achieved 8 world records, and used an array of materials. However, this creative voyage not only underscores the brand’s dedication to innovation and pushing the horological envelope, it also celebrates the very essence of craftsmanship and design.

And although Octo Finissimo watches, like the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT (Ref. 103661; $17,600), were initially encased in steel, as each new material stepped onto the stage, the Octo Finissimo transformed into a tangible tapestry of opulence and technical finesse, redefining the landscape of sport luxury timepieces.

In 2017, for instance, Bulgari unveiled the Octo Finissimo Automatic (Ref. 102713; $15,900) in titanium. And what struck me the most about its 40mm case boasting an entirely matte finish is the titanium’s overarching gray hue, which presents a flexible aesthetic that harmonizes with the intricate architecture of the Octo Finissimo’s case.

Moreover, this launch marked the harmonious convergence of an ultra-thin philosophy with a sense of tactile comfort – a fusion that potentially encapsulates the very spirit of contemporary horology.

Next, Bulgari’s audacious spirit truly shone when they ventured into uncharted territories with the Octo Finissimo Automatic (Ref. 103077; €19,700) in black sandblasted ceramic. Of course, black often makes objects look smaller, but this Octo Finissimo’s velvety matte black surface, made from ceramic and sandblasted to perfection, defies this notion.

As a result, the 103077 is a shape-shifting enchantress that uses features like the bold, pronounced angles of its stepped bezel and its cloak of absolute blackness to operate incognito.

Then, Bulgari demonstrated a fearless embrace of luxury and tradition by incorporating gold into the mix. More specifically, rose and yellow gold added a touch of opulence to the line and mirrored the brand’s rich heritage in jewelry craftsmanship. But this infusion of precious metals transformed the Octo Finissimo into more than just a timekeeping instrument; it became a wearable work of art.

For example, I fell in love with the Octo Finissimo Automatic (Ref. 102912; €49,500) in sandblasted rose gold immediately. It strikes a visceral chord in me that goes beyond any form of physical attraction and speaks directly to my relationship with the world of fashion.

Meanwhile, the new Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Skeleton Chronograph (Ref. 103796; €260,000) in yellow gold that was announced last week is clearly the apotheosis of solid yellow gold watchmaking with its uncanny resemblance to Roman sculpture.

The polished surface of the gold captures light in a way that emphasizes its form, much like how the chisel marks on a sculpture enhance its texture. On top of that, the visual depth of this piece is underlined by an artful skeletonization of the dial.

That leads us to the two newest Octo Finissimos released by Bulgari earlier this week at Geneva Watch Days 2023: the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic (Ref. 103779) and the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 103778).

CarbonGold Metamorphosis

Following up on Bulgari’s contribution to the upcoming Only Watch charity auction – the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Marble, featuring a titanium case and bracelet covered with a Verde di Alpi marble – Fabrizio Buonamassa and his team continue their “Material Odyssey” by merging the lightness of carbon with the dazzling essence of gold to create the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic ($26,800) and the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Perpetual Calendar (€100,000).

Crafted from featherlight, anthracite-hued carbon with a muted texture, the cases, bracelets, and dials of both these new releases possess an airy quality. Moreover, this high-tech canvases are adorned with indices, hands, and crowns meticulously gilded in polished rose gold. And while the material fusion at the heart of CarbonGold has its roots in 1993, the siren’s song of exploration and experimentation has led to the discovery of novel alloys and synergies, creating the captivating juxtaposition of luxury and innovation on display here.

Bulgari’s calibre BVL 305 imparts an extraordinary profile of a mere 2.75mm to the timepiece. And I have to say, in this fresh carbon rendition, the super-slim, timeless perpetual calendar complication – which doesn’t require resetting until 2100 – takes on an unmistakably modern appearance.

Inside Beauty

Finally, Bulgari’s hallmark of the “Estetica della Meccanica” (or “Aesthetic of Mechanics”) is also beautifully displayed via the transparent caseback of both these timepieces.

Held securely by eight precious metal screws resembling micro-sunbursts against the carbon surface, the sapphire casebacks of the 103778 and 13779 unveil a striking interplay of contrasts like rose gold bridges adorned with Côte de Genève decoration and an oscillating weight made of rose gold-plated platinum.

So, while the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic (Ref. 103779) and the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 103778) evince unconventional, fearless aesthetics, they also deliver precision via technical excellence without sacrificing the brand’s flair for the dramatic. For more information, visit Bulgari’s website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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