Bulgari’s Anniversary Festivities are Underway with the Release of the New Octo

Bulgari’s Anniversary Festivities are Underway with the Release of the New Octo Finissimo Sketch Series

The Roman brand welcomes three limited edition variations of its beloved Octo Finissimo by reprising and expanding on its popular sketch dial Octos from 2022.

By Cait Bazemore

The year 2024 marks an important milestone for Bulgari: the brand’s monumental 140th anniversary. To kick off the celebration, the famed Italian watchmaker has just unveiled three jaw-dropping limited edition variations of the Octo.

For the first time, we get the brand’s unique illustrated dial concept revealing the movement’s back in lieu of the dial as if you were admiring the watch from the reverse, through an open caseback.

Back to Front

Every watch enthusiast knows the joy of flipping a watch over to discover an exhibition caseback revealing the movement in all its glory. After all, oftentimes, the reverse of the watch and all its intricate parts are just as alluring as the dial itself, and sometimes, even more so. Thus, with its latest Octo models, Bulgari takes this notion and brings it to the forefront in a highly artistic and poetic way.

Instead of a skeletonized dial to reveal the captivating inner workings on the dial side, the brand has elected to render the movement through an illustrated dial that recreates that magical experience of turning a watch over and marveling at its movement.

A Sketch is Worth 1,000 Words

For the Italian brand, the notion of the “sketch” is a sacred one. From the Renaissance onwards, Italian artists kept their sketches or “schizzi” preciously for their students, for their archives, and to improve the final piece. In watchmaking, the sketch has also been a vital tool, particularly for Bulgari and its development of the Octo line.

The brand has used a combination of hand drawings and technical innovations to aid in the development of the record-breaking, ultra-thin calibres that have come to define the collection. But, of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Bulgari employ the sketch concept on the dial of an Octo.

Back in 2022, the brand released the Octo Finissimo Automatic 10th Anniversary and Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic 10th Anniversary, giving us a look at Bulgari’s first take on the sketch concept with dials incorporating Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani’s original sketches of the Octo Finissimo dial in place of the traditional indices and sub-dials.

Now, in 2024, Bulgari continues to elevate this integral part of the creative process with the latest Octo Finissimo Sketch models. However, this time, the sketches reveal the soul of a watch because what we see in the signature sketches on the dials are the key features of the Octo’s incredible calibre: the micro-rotor, escapement, bridges, rubies, and intricate finishing details, such as Côtes de Genève and circular graining.

The Octo Finissimo Automatic Sketch Series

For the new Octo Finissimo Automatic Sketch series, Bulgari has released three different variations: two standard limited editions with 280 pieces in steel and 70 in rose gold, as well as an iteration equipped with a chronograph and GMT.

Regarding the first two, both measure 40mm, maintain a thickness of 6.4mm, and are powered by the in-house BVL 138 calibre with an impressive 2.3mm height and a 60-hour power reserve. Moreover, Bulgari has opted for a monochromatic backdrop, allowing the sketches, rendered once again by Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, to take center stage.

On the 280-piece steel version, the Octo Finissimo Automatic BVL 138 Sketch (Ref. 104163; CHF 15,200), we get a more contemporary and sporty look with an interplay of varying shades of gray from the steel surfaces of the case and bracelet to the sketch dial in carbon as if drawn directly on the watch in pencil.

Meanwhile, the 70-piece rose gold iteration – the Octo Finissimo Automatic BVL 138 Sketch (Ref. 104165; CHF 47,400) – takes on a more elevated appearance, yet here, the shades of gray comprising the sketch take on more contrast and really pop against the warm backdrop.

As a final cherry on top (or rather on the back), the sapphire caseback is etched with “EDIZIONE LIMITATA” and “1884 – 2024” to commemorate the brand’s 140th anniversary.

In addition to these two, Bulgari is also offering a third variant limited to 140 pieces: the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT BVL 318 Sketch (Ref. 104192). Rendered in stainless steel, this model is equipped with a chronograph and GMT and incorporates the same sketch dial of the movement with a 30-minute chronograph counter at 6 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock, and a second time zone display at three o’clock.

To accommodate the additional functionality of its calibre BVL 318 movement (which broke records upon its debut in 2019 at just 3.3mm in height), this model comes in slightly larger proportions with an oversized 43mm case and a height of 8.75mm. Finally, this iteration is also topped off with the same engraved exhibition caseback celebrating 140 years.

Final Thoughts

Over the past decade, Bulgari has notched a whopping nine world records for its Octo Finissimo line, including the slimmest three-hander, slimmest automatic chronograph, and slimmest tourbillon.

So, although the latest addition to the Octo family – the all-new Octo Finissimo Sketch series – isn’t continuing the record-breaking streak, it represents a different legacy, one that exemplifies the art of watchmaking when distilled to its core: the synergy of art and technique.

For more information about the new Octo Finissimo Sketch series, visit Bulgari’s website.

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