Thinner. Lighter. Stronger: A Look At Bulgari’s New Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic Carbon
This daring timepiece combines the best of Bulgari’s jewelry and watch-making skills: technical prowess, disruptive design, and innovative use of materials.
First, I must acknowledge the fact that I am biased when it comes to Bulgari. I love all things Octo. Yet, I will be clear-headed when describing the daring new Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic Carbon because its aesthetic and technical achievements speak louder than any purple prose that I might compose to convey my passion for this timepiece.
While the watch won’t launch officially until Baselworld later this month, lucky visitors to Watches & Wonders Miami got the chance to preview the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic Carbon. Here’s the breakdown.
Tourbillons have never been more desirable than at this point in time. Even though they are super expensive, the more exclusive these super complications are, the more collectors want them.
Bulgari stands out the crowd because not only is their flying tourbillon beautifully set in an open-worked dial, it is also a technological marvel. The caliber BVL 288 has a with a ball bearing system which has helped reduce the thickness to a mere 1.95 mm. And the automatic movement with its innovative peripheral oscillating weight has a nice 52-hour power reserve.
When this caliber was introduced in 2018, housed in a titanium case, it became the world’s thinnest automatic tourbillon ever produced.
Case material counts when it comes to complications. Traditionally deluxe mechanisms have been dressed up in precious metals. And these high-end materials and the craftsmanship required to create such an instrument are the reasons that the price of a tourbillon usually starts in the five digits.
To make tourbillons more accessible, brands are playing around with case materials, such as stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. These innovations sometimes help lower the price point (though not in this case), but they also make them more wearable, which is also valuable.
The 2019 version of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic comes in a case and bracelet crafted from carbon CTP (Coal Tar Pitch). Generally, the more complex a watch is, the heavier it feels. This material makes the watch feel light as a feather on the wrist.
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic Carbon is also a robust timepiece. You won’t be afraid to wear this lest you scratch or dent the case or damage the delicate tourbillon. And if it does take a few dings, the wear just makes it look even more distinguished.
THIN IS IN
With the introduction of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic Carbon, Bulgari has set another record: the thinnest automatic carbon watch available on the market.
Bulgari is celebrated just as much for its jewelry as its watches, and the superslim silhouette, easy-on-the-eyes design, and lightness of the carbon case and strap (which has a three blade folding buckle —an engineering marvel in of its self) make this timepiece makes wearing the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic Carbon feel as comfortable as wearing the most luxurious, bracelet.
The rules of style are changing so rapidly anyway. There was a time where one wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a watch with a tux. Now it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a chronograph and tennis shoes on the red carpet. And while the carbon lends a slightly sporty finish, the thinness and elegance of the classic Octo design would make it fit in more formal settings.
WALKING ON AIR
The ultimate goal in owning a tourbillon is to have and hopefully show off an example of watchmaking at its finest. So what’s the point in having a watch that’s so precious that you can’t wear it? With the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic Carbon, it’s Bulgari’s goal to make a timepiece is robust enough to wear every day.
To return to my entirely biased opinion, it's rare when I can say that wearing a watch actually made me feel euphoric, but the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic Carbon did just that. Because it's limited to only 50 pieces, that sensation will become more elusive (limited editions definitely trigger the FOMO response in the brain). After I tried this timepiece on, I immediately started petitioning my colleagues at Watchonista to chip in and buy it so that we could take turns wearing it.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)