Bulgari Octo: commanding presents for your man

Classical yet futuristic and elegantly sculptural, the newest arrivals in Bvlgari's cohort of Octo watches emit an aura that is irresistibly powerful.

Bulgari Octo L Originale chronograph all black

“The power of Italian style” is the strapline of Bvlgari’s Octo range of watches for men. And anyone who has slipped an Octo on to their wrist will agree that these watches emit an aura of power that any self-respecting Roman Emperor would have been proud to wield. So, just in time for Christmas, we present a line-up of the newest arrivals to the Octo cohort.

Bvlgari’s Octo watch arrived on the scene with a bang in 2012 thanks to its unusual silhouette of a circle within a square. The octagonal shape was inspired by the vaulting of the ceiling in the Basilica of Maxentius in the Roman Forum, but that is only half of the story. The genius of this design is how the rigorous symmetry of Roman aesthetics has been transformed into a contemporary icon. Lightening the load of its historical legacy, the eight corners of the case have been shorn off and every line reduced to a minimum. As Fabrizio Buonamassa, Artistic Director at Bvlgari, sketched and modelled away, a taut and refined form with 110 facets emerged. Every angle, corner and plane of its architecture has been meticulously honed to near-sculptural perfection.

But the story of the Octo is not just one of handsome profiles and elegant angles. This watch has great bone structure and the brains to match. The Octo has broken world records for the thinnest manual-winding tourbillon, minute repeater, automatic movement and automatic tourbillon. This year alone, two of the Octo models were finalists in the GPHG, the Oscars of the watchmaking world, as well as picking up 35 different awards around the world for both design and horological mastery – no mean feat for a company that, for the best part of its 135-year history, has been better known for its opulent jewels.

Combining a grand striking mechanism and perpetual calendar of Machiavellian complexity, the Grande Sonnerie Quantième Perpétuel is Bvlgari’s most complex watch creation to date.

The most astounding Octo is the Grande Sonnerie Quantième Perpétuel (above), which took a year to make and is Bvlgari’s most complex watch creation to date. As its highly descriptive name suggests, it combines a grand striking mechanism, which chimes both the hours and minutes with four miniature hammers, and a perpetual calendar of Machiavellian complexity that indicates the day, date, month and year along with the phase of the moon. The mechanism is regulated by a tourbillon – the final cherry on the top of this grande complication, of which only one will be made.

Bvlgari's Octo Monete watch allows you to read the time by flipping open a case cover set with an ancient Roman coin and can also be transformed into a pocket watch, worn on a handsome gold chain. 

For those with classical inclinations, Bvlgari’s Octo Monete (above) allows them to read the time by flipping open a case cover set with an ancient Roman coin of the emperor Constantinus Augustus. The dial offers a view into the skeletonised workings of its mechanics and the constant whirring of its tourbillon. Baguette-cut diamonds, considered the most masculine of all sparklers, adorn the rose gold case and, what’s more, the watch can be worn both on the wrist or transformed into a pocket watch on a handsome gold chain. 

Baguette-cut diamonds, considered the most masculine of all sparklers, adorn the rose gold case of Bvlgari's Octo Monete watch.

Thanks to Bvlgari’s very own manufacturing centre in Switzerland, it is able to combine its Italian design bravado with horological excellence. And when the Octo becomes finissimo – or ultra-thin – it manages to maintain a commanding presence, despite its reduced substance. Having collected numerous prestigious horological prizes and design accolades galore, this year Bvlgari turns its attention to materials. Like the Romans who chose pure and enduring marble for their monuments, Bvlgari has sought out distinguished materials for its watches, including lightweight titanium.

Bvlgari's Octo Finissimo Automatic Limited Edition in titanium is ultra-slim and ultra-light. The matt, sky-grey material is offset by blue hands and dial markings, creating a watch face of stark elegance. Price £12,200.

For men who covet not only an ultra-slim watch but a light one too, the Octo Finissimo Automatic in titanium (above) is both. The matt, sky-grey material is offset by blue hands and dial markings, creating a watch face of stark elegance. Powered by Bvlgari’s in-house self-winding movement, this watch would make any fan of contemporary design a very happy man on Christmas day.

With the Octo Finissimo Skeleton in titanium, Bvlgari cuts away metal from the components to give an edgy, futuristic look that reveals the timepiece’s beating heart.

If he prefers to observe the inner workings of his watch, the Octo Finissimo Skeleton (above), also in titanium, exposes the ticking cityscape of the watch’s mechanism. The level of detail goes beyond the merely mechanical as the movement has been skeletonised in a very Bvlgari way. A far cry from traditional elaborate, highly decorated skeletonised movements, Bvlgari cuts away metal from the components to give an edgy, futuristic look that reveals the timepiece’s beating heart.

Bvlgari's new Octo Finissimo Skeleton watch in DLC-coated titanium boasts a sleek all-black finish.

The two Black Edition Octos, the L’Originale Chronograph and the Skeleton (above), have an air of stealth and mystery about them. The chronograph is made of stainless steel and the skeleton in ultra-lightweight titanium, and both have been treated with a highly durable DLC (Diamond Like Carbon), giving a sleek, matt, all-black finish. Presented on a black rubber strap, the chronograph (below) is powered by the Manufacture Bvlgari self-winding BVL 328 Velocissimo column-wheel chronograph movement, with a 50-hour power reserve, while keeping perfect time on the Finissimo Skeleton is the BVL 128 SK hand-wound movement, which measures a mere 2.35mm and is housed in a 5.37mm case.

Classical, futuristic, powerful yet elegant – if your partner matches this description, it sounds like he is an Octo man to me.

Bvlgari's Octo L’Originale chronograph is made of stainless steel treated with a highly durable DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) and presented on a black rubber strap.

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