The Bulgari Octo Finissimo line has received a lot of praise for its impressive list of industry firsts including the thinnest tourbillon movement, the thinnest minute repeater movement and the thinnest automatic movement. Secondly, watch media and watch enthusiasts alike have praised the unique design of the Octo Finissimo as one of the most remarkable new watches out there.
Like many, I also love the fact that Bulgari had the guts to start making incredibly thin in-house movements to break a number of industry records and I also appreciated the design of the first few watches that were introduced using a combination of shapes that define the unique character of the Octo Finissimo.
It wasn’t until Bulgari introduced the Octo Finissimo Automatic in 2017 however when the watch really found a place in my heart and the hearts of many. With the Octo Finissimo Automatic, design and technique were combined in a way where it becomes something truly special. It’s this feeling of looking at a watch and concluding it looks completely unique but at the same time it feels natural as if this is exactly how it should be. The Octo Finissimo Automatic catches the eye because of its combination of shapes, simple but elegant design of the dial, incredibly thin profile and its beautiful execution in sandblasted titanium that features the beautifully designed titanium bracelet that makes it truly special. The bracelet is elegant, so it complements the slim profile next to being industrial to complete the sophisticated industrial look that defines the character of the Octo Finissimo. It’s this unique character that could make the Octo Finissimo a true watch classic over time. That is if Bulgari finds a way to keep growing the Octo Finissimo line without losing that spark of magic.
Thus far Bulgari has been smart with introducing new additions to the Octo Finissimo line. The company has chosen to either introduce new technological achievements or introduce new materials in line with the characteristic sandblasted titanium we have come to know for the Octo Finissimo Automatic. Most of the new technological masterpieces have also been introduced in highly recognizable sandblasted titanium but the Octo Finissimo has also seen Automatic versions released in sandblasted 18kt rose gold and a beautiful version in sandblasted stainless steel. What Bulgari has done well is protect the distinct look and feel of the watch, so you always instantly know it’s the Octo Finissimo and not one of the other watches in the Octo family.
At Baselworld 2019 Bulgari introduced the highly praised Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT in titanium. The watch is recognized for being the world’s slimmest mechanical chronograph watch. Obviously, it attracted a lot of attention but in the slipstream, the brand also introduced the Octo Finissimo Automatic Ceramic and the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Ceramic. Two watches that are another smart step in finding new materials for the Octo Finissimo. Once again Bulgari has chosen to use sandblasting as the style of the watch resulting in a black ceramic Octo Finissimo with a stealthy matte black look that can only be described as very stylish.
The first of the two models is the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Ceramic (ref. 103077) that is another addition to the Octo Finissimo Automatic range. As mentioned earlier the Octo Finissimo Automatic has been released in titanium, steel and rose gold versions and this ceramic version is a great addition in both in materials and colour. The watch is powered by the familiar Bulgari in-house developed and record-thin caliber BLV 138 that is just 2.23mm thick and visible through the transparent case back. The movement is placed inside a 40mm diameter case that is only 5.5mm thick and water resistant up to 30 meters. Next, to the ceramic case, the crown and dial are also made of the same sandblasted black ceramic to create a clean matte black overall look.
The automatic movement features a platinum micro-rotor and has a 60-hour power reserve. The watch displays hours and minutes and has a small seconds hand replacing the 7 and 8 ‘o clock marks on the dial. It’s this relatively small feature that gives the dial its character. If I had one question – just to see – it would be what the Octo Finissimo would look like without the small seconds indication? Would it lose its character with regular 7 and 8 ‘o clock hour marks or does it become even better? And what would happen if you would replace the 12 and 6 ‘o clock marks with regular hour markers. Obviously, the answers to these questions will always be a matter of opinion. But it would be interesting to see whether these executions would work or if they water down the iconic value of the Octo Finissimo Automatic? For now, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Ceramic is a smart addition to the Octo Finissimo line-up and with a price of €15.500 it is an extra choice in the same price bracket as the titanium version and the steel version of the Octo Finissimo Automatic.
The second ceramic model that was introduced is the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton Ceramic (ref. 103126). Now I have to be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of skeletonized watches and I’m aware this is an acquired taste. For me, in many cases, it creates an uncomfortable clash between classic overall style and ultra-technical looks of the movement. Next to that many pulling off a skeletonized watch and managing to keep the readability good can also be a challenge. I know that’s not necessarily what you buy a skeletonized watch for. What can I say? I’m a practical guy. With that said, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any incredible examples of how beautiful a skeletonized watch can be. Audemars Piguet has managed to create some amazing examples in their Royal Oak Concept series and another great example is the Cartier Santos Skeleton ADLC “Noctambule” that was introduced earlier this year at the SIHH 2019. In general, skeletonized watches work best when the watches already have a more modern and industrial style to avoid a clash in styles. And in case of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Skeleton Ceramic it does work very well.
The Octo Finissimo Skeleton Ceramic obviously profits from the overall style of the Octo Finissimo. Bulgari has taken the same 40mm black ceramic case as for the Automatic Ceramic and placed the in-house produced manual winding BVL 128SK caliber inside. The 2.35mm thick skeletonized movement displays hours, minutes, small seconds and has a power reserve indicator for the 65 hours power reserve. The end result is a very nice skeletonized execution of the Octo Finissimo. What works specifically well is that the movement is fairly easy on the eyes and it gives you the change to read the time quickly when necessary and enjoy the movement when you want to. Another reason Bulgari made a smart move with using the black ceramic colour as the basis for the watch is that it creates the right contrast. The matte black colour is the perfect colour to bring out the features of the open-worked movement. If Bulgari would have chosen to use titanium or steel for this watch, it probably would have been less impactful. The price of the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Ceramic is € 24.500,00 and for that money, you get a part of the quickly building legacy of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo.
Overall Bulgari has produced two additions to the Octo Finissimo line-up that work very well. I can only hope that Bulgari will be as thoughtful in the future as they are now with their new introductions to the Octo Finissimo range and it has the potential to become a watch icon over time.
More information via Bulgari online.
Jorg has been working in marketing & communications for 15 years. He is specialised in developing brand strategy, brand portfolio, brand design and brand communications. Besides, he loves watches and the stories that make them worthwhile. He can be spotted... read more