LVMH Watch Week: Bulgari Announces Four New Octos
With new complications and innovative finishes, the Italian jewelry house continues to push the boundaries of haute horology.
Let’s cut to the chase. The Bulgari Octo is an exceptional collection of timepieces. Arguably the most important launch of the 2010s, and every year the Octo continues to surprise us with incredible advances in technology, complications, and finishes. Which is why we’re so happy that Bulgari brought four new versions to LVMH Watch Week in Dubai.
We are living in the cross-roads of a technological, commercial, and industrial revolution. And the success of the Octo is a sign of our era. At the time Bulgari designers began working on the Octo, the company had already started up a long-term strategy of vertical integration by buying up manufacturing facilities such as the Le Sentier manufacture, GG&DR. And the Italian house moved its Design Centre from Rome to Neuchâtel, Switzerland. This meant that the luxury brand was better able to bring its mechanical expertise up to the level of its jewelry making legacy.
The result, a polished and satin-finished, eight-sided case with round bezel and an octagonal flange on the dial. Just as easy on the eyes was the in-house, self-winding Bulgari Calibre BVL 193 movement with three-hands, date functions, and a power reserve of 50 hours with two barrels.
The Octo quickly became a pillar of the Bulgari collection. And in 2014, the brand surprised the watch world with the Octo Finissimo. This manual-winding Finissimo featured an in-house movement that was only 2.23 mm thick.
Between 2014 and 2018, Bulgari quickly smashed several records: thinnest manual-winding tourbillon, thinnest automatic tourbillon, thinnest minute repeater, thinnest automatic time-only watch, and thinnest chronograph in the world, measuring only 6.9mm thick.
The hits just kept coming as 2016 saw the brand continue to experiment with elegant finishes, like the Ultranero Finissimo Skeleton with its “very black” steel case with D.L.C. (Diamond-Like Carbon). Then the manufacture set a second world record with the Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater. It took five years to bring this watch to market, and it required an innovative titanium case and dial to make the chimes ring out loud and proud.
We’d be here all day just listing all the advances the Octo has made in its short existence, but we know you want to get to the newness.
At LVMH’s Watch Week in Dubai, Bulgari announced four special new faces of the Octo.
The biggest news is the supper skinny Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater. This is an update of the record-breaking 2016 titanium-cased Minute Repeater, but this version comes in sand-blasted rose gold. The incised hour markers emphasize the company's Italian design codes and small seconds counter at 6 o’clock. These openings help to further amplify the chimes.
This model is powered by the same BVL362 self-winding caliber and comes on a brown matte alligator strap that complements the frosty finish of the case.
The brand is also making waves by welcoming two new, satin polished, and non-monochromatic timepieces: the Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin Polished Steel and the Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin Polished Rose Gold. Both feature distinctive black lacquered dials. The steel edition has an integrated steel bracelet, while the rose gold gets a black alligator strap.
And finally, Bulgari performs new feats in finishes with the Octo Finissimo Automatic in Black Sandblast-Polished Ceramic. Ceramic is a delicate substance to create with, especially when working with an ultra-thin 5.50 thick case. But it’s worth it for the payoff — the case and bracelet are coated with a super hard, alternating shiny and matte surface that reflects light in a fresh way.
The Octo Finissimo Steel, Rose Gold, and Black Sandblast-Polished Ceramic are also new and noteworthy because the brand is also positioning these 40mm watches as unisex, marketing them to both men and women. I mean women were already wearing Octos anyway, but it’s always nice to be seen.
And it’s even nicer to be seen wearing an Octo.
(Images provided by Bulgari)