Hands-On – The New Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati GranSport & GranLusso

This couldn’t really be more of an Italian affair… Since 2012, the two Italian brands Bulgari and Maserati have worked in partnership for the creation of dedicated watches, inspired by the world of luxury and sports cars. The first two editions, a complex Octo Quadri-Retro in 2012 and a bold Octo Velocissimo in 2014, were equipped with chronograph movements. However, for their latest joint creation, the new Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati, we’ll have something completely different in terms of display, but still with the same sports-car inspiration behind.

Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati GranSport

Even if the two Italian brands Bulgari and Maserati have been in union since 2012, it couldn’t be considered a highly prolific partnership. Indeed, in 5 years, only 2 watches have been created. And in fact, knowing how this industry can “milk” some ideas to a point close to annoyance, it seems that having a few, yet well curated dedicated editions, is actually more relevant. In 2012, the first watch created by Bulgari for Maserati was a complex chronograph with 4 retrograde indications and jumping hours – very Daniel Roth indeed. This Bulgari Octo Quadri-Retro Maserati (see an example here) was quite something. Later, in 2014, Bulgari came out with a second Maserati-inspired watch, the Octo Velocissimo Chronograph, which we presented to you here. The latter was equipped with a 5Hz column-wheel automatic chronograph (based on the El Primero, as Bulgari and Zenith are both owned by LVMH). As both were based on a sports-car theme, the use of chronograph movements was almost compulsory.

Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati GranLusso

Now in 2017, a new watch continues the partnership between Bulgari and Maserati. This time, if the sports-car inspiration is even more obvious, the designers and watchmakers wanted something other than a chronograph to make you feel that you’re not only driving a Maserati, but also wearing one on the wrist… And in fact, this new Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati – available in two versions, GranSport & GranLusso – is even more clever than the two first collaboration pieces. And in order not to spoil the exclusivity of these pieces, they will be reserved only for owners of a car bearing the Trident brand emblem (meaning Maserati), and will be available only in Bulgari Boutiques.

Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati GranSport - GranLusso

Left, the luxurious gold GranLusso version – right, the sporty DLC-coated steel GranSport version

There will be 2 versions of the Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati available. The first one is the GranSport, which is based on traditional colours used by the Italian car-maker, meaning black and bright blue. The case is black DLC-coated steel, with a black dial, silver indexes and hands, and several blue accents all around. The second version, based on a more luxurious, less sporty inspiration, is the GranLusso, with an 18kt pink gold case, dark grey dial and gold accents all over the dial. Otherwise, both watches are technically equal.

Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati GranLusso

What we have with the new Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati are two watches that are resolutely Bulgari, with a hint of Maserati feel. Well tempered, the collaboration remains discreet and well blended. The case is the emblematic Octo, which combines an overall octagonal shape with a round bezel. Sharp angles, multiple facets, several surface finishings… This case is recognizable amongst a thousand. It is here presented in a 41.5mm diameter, knowing that this specification should be considered slightly different, as this octagonal shape tends to feel larger on the wrist. The Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati has considerable presence, yet it wears comfortably.

Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati GranLusso

What definitely helps the comfort – and also complement the look – is the integrated leather strap. Indeed, its shape allows the watch to be balanced and to “hug” the wrist. It has a nice perforated style, with contrasting blue stitchings on the GranSport version (again, Maserati’s iconic colour), which feels reminiscent of automobile upholstery. A folding clasp, in gold or black DLC-coated steel, depending on the version, completes the package. Overall, there’s no doubt about the provenance of these Octo Retro Maserati… They are clearly Bulgari pieces.

Let’s now look at the main highlight of these Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati models: their display. As we said, the two first collaboration-pieces were chronographs, a natural inclusion for sports-car inspired watches, even if it is one that is not really original. With the 2017 watches, Bulgari brings something very cool, and in fact totally relevant to the theme. Simple, clean, legible, the dial of the Octo Retro only displays 2 indications: the minutes and the hours. Yet, it does it in a complex, original way, with a retrograde minute hand and a jumping hour display, placed in a window at 3. Besides the mechanical interest of this display (which again feels very Daniel Roth Papillon… and it’s no surprises, as Bulgari took over Daniel Roth a few years ago), the resemblance with a car dashboard is striking.

Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati GranSport

Large applied Arabic numerals indicate the tens of the minutes and, just like on a sports-car rev-counter, they should be multiplied by 10 (see the inscription at 6 o’clock). The GranSport version has a textured black dial with silver applied indexes, numeral and hands, while a few blue accents enlighten the design. The other version, the GranLusso model (meaning Grand Luxe), has a dark grey dial with sun-ray brushing and applied indexes, numerals and hands in pink gold, matching the case. The Maserati logo is also visible on the dial of the latter.

Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati GranLusso

To power the Octo Retro Maserati GranSport & GranLusso, Bulgari uses its in-house calibre BVL 262, which is based on the classical BVL 191, used for instance in the Octo Roma or the Solotempo collection. This movement, with a 26.2mm diameter, a 42h power reserve and a 4Hz frequency, is the standard offer of the brand. Yet here, it has been largely modified to integrate the retrograde minutes/jumping hours complication. Seen through the sapphire caseback, it has a pleasant decoration, with thin Geneva stripes and polished bevels on the main bridge. Ps. that caseback alone is already quite a design monument…

Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati GranLusso

These Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati models are reserved for Maserati owners only and will be available exclusively in Bulgari Boutiques. The black DLC-coated GranSport version is priced at 12,500 Euro / CHF 11,900. The 18kt pink gold GranLusso version is priced at 29,900 Euro / CHF 28,900. More details on www.bulgari.com.

Note: the watches photographed here were early prototypes. Final versions now feature a tinted caseback with Maserati Logo transferred. Also, the black version also features the applied Maserati logo on the dial at 3.


Technical Specifications – Bulgari Octo Retro Maserati

  • Case: 41.5mm diameter – steel with black DLC coating or 18kt pink gold – sapphire crystal on both faces
  • Movement: Calibre BVL 262, in-house – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 26 jewels – 42h power reserve – retrograde minutes and jumping hours
  • Strap: Perforated leather in black with blue stitchings or in brown
  • Price: 12,500 Euro (GranSport) – 29,900 Euro (GranLusso)

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