Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie (Live Pics)

Bvlgari’s most complex timepiece to date is a one-of-a-kind four-gong Westminster chime Grande Sonnerie swathed in emeralds and diamonds.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 4 min read |
Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie Tourbillon

An opulent marriage of Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie, Bvlgari’s colossally complex Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie is embellished with enough gemstones to pave a Roman road. Equipped with a four-gong Westminster chime with automatic winding regulated by a tourbillon, this impressive Grande et Petite Sonnerie is Bvlgari’s most complex timepiece to date. Assembled over nine months by one master watchmaker, it will not come as a surprise that this is a unique piece. As one of the few watchmakers capable of producing a Grande Sonnerie mechanism that sounds the time “au passage” Bvlgari adds its voluptuous Italian touch with a stunning high jewellery setting of bright green Zambian emeralds and diamonds.

Chiming complications

Chiming complications, in all their modalities, are not new to Bvlgari. Although new generations will be more familiar with the record-breaking 2016 Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater or the stunning Diva Finissima Minute Repeater, Bvlgari could not have pulled off this technical feat without the experience it had acquired with Daniel Roth and Gerald Genta, two heavyweight names in high-end watchmaking that the brand acquired in 2000. Models like the 2011 Bvlgari Daniel Roth Grande Sonnerie Quantieme Perpetual and the Gerald Genta Grande Sonnerie Magsonic paved the way for Bvlgari’s incursion into the demanding world of chiming watches.

Ad – Scroll to continue with article

Mastering the entire range of chiming timepieces – 2, 3, and 4 hammers – the latest chiming marvel to emerge from Bvlgari’s Swiss manufacture is the Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie. Fitted with grande and petite sonnerie with Westminster carillon striking on four gongs and automatic winding regulated by a tourbillon, the watch’s movement is indebted to an earlier 800-component Grande Sonnerie wristwatch made by Gerald Genta in 1994 considered the most complicated watch in the world at that time.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie Tourbillon

The Versatile Octo Roma case

Contrary to prevailing opinion, the Octo was not a Gerald Genta creation: the Octo was conceived in Bvlgari’s Roman design department in 2004. Its bold octagonal profile, emulating architectural and decorative motifs of Ancient Rome, has become the iconic profile of Bvlgari’s men’s watches and the departure point for the brand’s record-breaking ultra-thin Octo Finissimo collection. With its massive proportions, the Octo Roma can accommodate a host of complications and has a chameleonic ability to change personality. Just look at the dark, contemporary mood of this Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon compared to the openworked Octo Roma Tourbillon Sapphire Malachite or the classical Octo Roma Monete Skeleton Tourbillon with an ancient Roman coin compared to the over-the-top openworked Octo Roma Grande Sonnerie Perpetual Calendar of 2019 designed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first Grande Sonnerie by Gerald Genta in 1994.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie Tourbillon

Master Jeweller

Bvlgari’s reputation as a consummate jeweller with a penchant for bright, bold colours and large stones is in full force here. The impressive 44mm x 15.42mm white gold case is blanketed in baguette-cut diamonds and bright green baguette-cut Zambian emeralds on the bezel. Instead of being set inside the white gold bezel, the emeralds are placed on top of the bezel so that you can see the tops and sides of the stones. Setting gemstones in an octagonal shape requires consummate skill, and even the surface and sides of the angular, sloping lugs are encrusted with diamonds. The octagonal crown is also set with diamonds and its tip with a large rose-cut diamond. With no sign of any supporting structure, I am guessing that the stones have been invisibly set. The central pusher on the left side of the case with baguette-cut diamonds inside is to activate the minute repeater; the one labelled with the letter G is for the Grande Sonnerie and the S to silence the chimes.

Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie Tourbillon

The dial is also set with diamonds of different sizes emanating from the centre and growing in size as they reach the periphery. Two semi-circular structures at 1 and 4 o’clock indicate the power reserve of the chiming mechanism (24 hours in Grande Sonnerie mode) and the power reserve of the watch. The outermost track features minute markers and hosts the long green hour markers and the two green Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock, which are indicated by the openworked green hour and minute hands.

Calibre BVL 703

Under the bejewelled exterior of Bvlgari’s Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie lies Bvlgari’s mechanical tourbillon-regulated automatic BVL 703 calibre with Grande and Petite Sonnerie, a 4-hammer Westminster chime, minute repeater and a power reserve indicator for the striking mechanism. The 732 individual components are arranged in a space of 31.50mm x 8.77mm. The large openworked rotor with straight Geneva stripes can be seen through the sapphire caseback offering a glimpse of the tourbillon regulator.

The impressive Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie 103553 is presented on a vibrant green alligator strap to match the emeralds in the bezel with a white gold folding clasp set with four rows of baguette-cut diamonds. The Bvlgari Octo Roma Emerald Grande Sonnerie is a unique piece, and the price is EUR 1,600,000.

For more information, please visit

Leave a Reply